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20 minutes – Believers crossed to the cross

A bloody ritual to recapture Jesus' death has attracted many spectators in the Philippines: Several Catholics in villages around the San Fernando city were nailed to the cross on Good Friday.

A total of ten men and one woman should be hit eight inches long nails in their hands and feet, according to the local tourism authority. Hundreds of other men wearing black coats and twigs in the searing tropical heat whipped their backs on a procession.

Wilfredo Salvador, a 62-year-old fisherman, was crucified every year in Easter since he recovered from a nervous breakdown 14 years ago. "As long as I live, I won't stop it," he said Friday. The ritual makes him feel alive.

Tourist attraction

The Catholic Church in the Philippines rejects self-flagellations and appeals to the believers to spend Lent in silent prayer. The extreme religious declarations that take place every year at Easter in the region about 70 kilometers north of the capital Manila have become a major attraction for tourists.

About 80 million Catholics live in the Philippines. Almost 80 percent of the population is Catholic ̵

1; a result of 300 years of Spanish colonial rule ending in the 19th century.

(bee / afp)

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