Extreme Easter: Flogging, crucifixions in Philippines

Friday April 19 2019

 Crucifixion of Christ

A Filipino Christian devotee is nailed to a cross during a re-enactment of the Crucifixion of Christ during Good Friday ahead of Easter in San Juan, Pampanga, on April 19, 2019. PHOTO | NOEL CELIS | AFP 

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A man was nailed to a cross with up to 10 more to follow while barefoot men beat themselves with flails on Good Friday, in a blood-soaked display of religious fervour in the Philippines.

Frowned upon by the Church, the ritual crucifixions and self-flagellation in the north of the country are extreme affirmations of faith performed every Easter in Asia's Catholic outpost.

Wilfredo Salvador stared at the sky and appeared to mumble a prayer after the slight 62-year-old with wild grey hair and a long beard became the first local zealot this year to hang from a wooden cross.

"I will not stop this for as long as I am alive, because this is what gives me life," said Salvador, a fisherman who has been volunteering to be crucified for 14 straight years since recovering from a nervous breakdown.

Assistants costumed as Roman centurions drove eight-centimetre spikes through each of his hands and feet before the wooden cross was raised briefly for the crowds to see.