Philippines stages bloody crucifixions

2012-04-06 10:00

San Fernando - Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified.

The gruesome real-life re-enactments of the crucifixion, which are held every Good Friday, began in the farming region north of Manila at 11:00 (03:00 GMT). They are frowned on by the Catholic church but have become freak tourist draws.

Faith healer Arturo Bating, 44, spread his arms and maintained stoic calm as neighbours hoisted him onto a wooden cross atop a sandy mound then drove 10cm nails through his palms.

"This is a vow I had made to God, so that He will spare my family from sickness," said the penitent, swathed in a white robe after his ordeal, which lasted several minutes and was seen by hundreds of people.

"It was a bit painful, but bearable," added the first-timer, who now intends to take part in the ritual every year.

Physical pain

Two other devotees were swiftly nailed on to the same cross in the village of San Juan, on the outskirts of the northern city of San Fernando.

Alex Laranang, 57, said he had had himself crucified every year for the past 12 years.

"I had made a vow to do this every year until I die," said Laranang, who sells snacks aboard buses for a living.

"I do not expect anything in return. I do this for my God."

Like Bating, he said the physical pain was a minor inconvenience.

"I hardly feel any pain. The nerves have been deadened."

"After this, I go home, eat and go to sleep. After two days I go back to work," he added.


In the nearby village of San Pedro Cutud, local officials said up to 20 penitents would be nailed to crosses during the day.

A woman and four male devotees, including two who were doing it for the first time, were also set to be nailed to crosses during the day in Paombong town north of Manila, said local official Reynaldo Sulit.

Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said earlier this week that while the church did not encourage the extreme show of worship, it does not fault those who would go through it.

"We do not judge and condemn, but we discourage it," the church leader said on Catholic radio Veritas.

Crucifixions are the grisliest, but by no means the only extreme acts of penitence on show in the Philippines, Asia's largest Catholic outpost where the sect counts some 75 million adherents.

Many Filipinos practiced more practical acts of piety like visiting a series of churches on foot to pray during the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday holidays.

But dozens of barefoot male devotees with black facial hoods whipped their bare backs bloody with strips of bamboo tied to a string as they went around the San Fernando neighbourhoods on Thursday and Friday.

They were followed by groups of children who covered their faces as blood from the whips sprayed on to their clothes.

In Paombong, about a thousand spectators patiently waited for the crucifixions to start under the hot tropical sun.

"People here follow their own beliefs. We should not take that against them," said Sulit, the local official who oversees the ceremony for the municipal government.

  • Stephen - 2012-04-06 10:11

    Deluded religious idiots the world can do without.

      spartanx93 - 2012-04-06 10:27

      They have completely lost the plot...

      Denise - 2012-04-06 10:27

      how stupid can they be? silly christian cult....

      Denise - 2012-04-06 10:55

      just get a chainsaw, jesus in defence mode...

      gillian.sabino1 - 2012-04-06 10:59

      Nothing compared to deluded communist and socialist idiots, with 5 Billion deaths between political murders, wars, and Baby Abortions!

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:39

      @gillian.sabino1 Can I rightly assume that as a Catholic you see nothing wrong in this idiotic religious fervor? I see you as no different and that religion has affected your brain. "5 Billion deaths". Well that is quite a large number considering there are not yet 7 billion people on the planet. You are obviously very, very confused ranting about all those deaths, abortions and stuff.

  • - 2012-04-06 10:13

    "They are frowned on by the Catholic church..." This is very disturbing and I'm very glad the Church does not support it.

      Denise - 2012-04-06 10:58

      i frown upon the pope who like little boi's..

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:41

      It true though. You are in denial. Even your pope, Uncle Fester, was complicit in covering up the wholesale rape of young children by the Catholic clergy in virtually every country in the World.

  • Jerzy - 2012-04-06 10:14

    Christian quacks at it again.

  • psk2004 - 2012-04-06 10:19

    This happens when the State has constant interference from the RC Church. I live in this beautiful country, but it is sad to see how the Church controls the people's lives. The Church has "many voices" there, it just depends who the people listen too and sometimes they seem to encourage this enactment.

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:43

      They obviously listen to the pope and his peddlers of bull. You get people to believe in demons, devils, Satan, talking donkeys and snakes, zombies flying around, etc. Bound to cause extreme mental illness as evidenced in these idiots.

  • ofentse.sejake - 2012-04-06 10:20

    ''The nerves have been\r\ndeadened.\This is madness.

  • Sylvester.Mohloli - 2012-04-06 10:45

    Amen bazalwani (Christians)....lmao

  • Gert - 2012-04-06 10:47

    Why why why. Christ have gone through this ordeal so we wouldn't have too. Now these people just go about and say, thanks for your trouble, Lord, but just in case you don't keep your promise I'll go nail myself to a cross asking you to keep my family safe. Idiots!

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:44

      If kids can be convinced that the bible is true. That jesus was a real person and the son of god. That belief and faith are more virtuous than critical thought.. They can be convinced of anything.

      Denise - 2012-04-06 13:30

      i guess anyone can be convince of a lie, a bs story.. ..

  • Ian - 2012-04-06 10:50

    crazies, this is the sort of creeps that will pop cynaide in your kool aid

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:44

      Jim Jones style.

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2012-04-06 10:56

    They're forgetting the spear-to-the-torso part. And the breaking off of legs.

  • acsteyn - 2012-04-06 10:57

    its too much. Christ doe not require this of us. He did it for us and asked us to believe that he died for us on the cross. All He requires is our belief.

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:46

      Faith hey? Would you fly in a faith-based airplane?

  • gillian.sabino1 - 2012-04-06 10:57

    Jesus Christ offered himself up as a sacrifice for the cost of our sins, because he was blameless, without spot or blemish. That is why his personal sacrifice is available to everyone for forgiveness, he has paid the price in full of the wrongs that we have done. Nobody has to do this again. Jesus said " It is finished".

      Denise - 2012-04-06 11:03

      and if u believe everything u ever read u will end up like jesus... just 6ft under....

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:47

      Jesus was blameless hey? Matt 5:28-32 - Jesus says marriage to a divorcee is adultery; and a man who ogles a woman has already committed adultery; and that you must cut off your hand or pluck out your eye if it offends. Matt 6:19-34 - Jesus says don't save any money and don't plan ahead. Matt 8:32 - Having no regard for private property, Jesus destroys a herd of someone else's pigs. Matt 10:34 - Jesus says he brings not peace on earth but "a sword." Matt 19:12 - Jesus says the best way for a man to be sure of getting into heaven is to have himself castrated. Mark 11:13 - Jesus destroys a fig tree for not bearing figs out of season. Mark 14:4-7 - Jesus says it is more important to anoint him with precious ointment than to give to the poor, who will always be here. (Why not just get rid of poverty?) Mark 16:18 - Jesus says anyone who believes in him can play with venomous snakes or drink poison without harm. (This act has been often tried, with rather unsatisfactory results.) Luke 12:47-48 - Jesus says it is permissible to whip slaves. Luke 14:26 - Jesus says no man can be his disciple unless he hates his parents, siblings, wife, children, and himself as well. Luke 19:27 - In telling a parable, Jesus insinuates that anyone who denies his rulership must be killed. Nice guy, this Jesus.

  • Eric - 2012-04-06 11:14

    LOL at the religious freaks!!!!!!!

  • Chris - 2012-04-06 11:50

    What is it about religion that just drives every shred of common sense and sanity out of a person? I really don't mean to offend the religious but you guys have to admit that people really are going batsh/t crazy on this planet in the name of religion. ---> suicide bombings, mass poisonings, flagellation, human sacrifice, burning at the stake, crucifiction, etc <---

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 12:48

      Why not offend people who believe and do stupid things. My disrespect and satire of religious belief is not accidental. I have no respect for a belief that teaches faith over logic, a paradise while others burn, and any belief for that matter that makes anything more valuable than a human being (God, Jesus, the bible, popes, bishops, etc).

  • Matthew - 2012-04-06 11:52

    Religion is the root of all evil. And stupidity.

  • Crracker - 2012-04-06 13:46

    Here is an open-ended question. Not a trick question at all. Simply a straight forward question. What does the outlandish behavior tell us of the religious mind, religious experiences and the reliability of religious teachings and cultures?

  • Sibongile - 2012-04-06 15:55

    It's not by might or by power, but by the Spirit.\r\nNo one can save him/herself.\r\nWe are already saved.\r\nThank you God for Jesus and the cross!!!!

  • Sabelo - 2012-04-06 16:04

    Julius Malema must visit this country!

      zaatheist - 2012-04-06 18:43

      I vote yours as the best comment. Problem is it will just add to their idiocy.

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