Christians take part in REAL CRUCIFIXIONS in blood-soaked Easter ceremony in Philippines

I will not stop this for as long as I am alive, because this is what gives me life.”

Wilfredo Salvador

One man was nailed to a cross, with up the 10 more ready to follow him, while others beat themselves with flails.

The ritual displays of Christian devotion are officially frowned upon by the Catholic church, but remain commonplace at Easter time in the north of the country.

Wilfredo Salvador, the first volunteer to hang from the wooden cross this year, said: “I will not stop this for as long as I am alive, because this is what gives me life.”

The 62-year-old, a fisherman, has volunteered to be crucified for 14 years in a row since recovering from a nervous breakdown, AFP reported.

After his ordeal, he was treated and bandaged at a first aid tent before walking home.

The local tourism office told reporters nine other men and one woman had likewise volunteered to be nailed to wooden crosses in three other villages throughout the course of the day.

Earlier, hundreds of barefoot men wearing crowns of twigs and black shrouds walked along the side of a village road in the searing heat, periodically flogging their backs with bamboo strips tied to lengths of rope.

Large numbers of the country’s 80 million Catholics spend Good Friday at church or with family.

However, others go to such extreme lengths to atone for their sins, with the resultant spectacle now a major tourist attraction.

Resty David, 38, a truck driver who has been taking part in the rituals for half his life, said: “This is a religious vow. 

“I will do this every year for as long as I am able.”

He was hoping his act of self-sacrifice would persuade God to cure his brother of cancer.

The shocking scene saw participants soaked with blood and sweat, with some hiding behind companions to avoid being splattered with gore.

Some tourists had driven for hours to see the crucifixions, including German tourist Annika Ehlers, 24.

She said: “I’m a little bit overwhelmed. It’s very intense, I haven’t expected something like this.”

The practice is a regular annual feature in village around the city of San Fernando, about 40 miles north of Manila.

They are held in defiance of Catholic church pleas to spend Lent in quiet prayer and reflection.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines official Father Jerome Secillano said: “The crucifixion and death of Jesus are more than enough to redeem humanity from the effects of sins. 

“They are once in a lifetime events that need not be repeated.

“Holy Week is not the time to showcase man’s propensity for entertainment and Pharisaical tendencies.”

Almost 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic, which is indicative of the nation’s 300 years of Spanish colonial rule prior to the end of the 19th century.

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