The gruesome real-life reenactments of the crucifixion, which are held every Good Friday in the Philippines, are frowned upon by the Catholic church but have become freak tourist draws. Faith healer Arturo Bating, 44, spread his arms and maintained stoic calm as he was hoisted onto a wooden cross atop a sandy mound. He then had 10-centimetre (four-inch) nails driven through his palms.
It was the first time he had done it, he said.
This is a vow I had made to God so that He will spare my family from sickness,” the penitent, swathed in a white robe, told AFP after his ordeal, which lasted several minutes, as is usual, and was seen by hundreds of people. It was a bit painful, but bearable.
In some cases the devotees — who do not take painkillers — also had their feet nailed to the cross and one person had to be rushed off in a waiting ambulance after his feet suffered from heavy bleeding. More than 20 fanatics, including one woman, were nailed to crosses in the farming regions on the outskirts of the northern city of San Fernando and nearby Paombong town, AFP photographers on the scene said.
Alex Laranang, 57, told AFP 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. 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 - Laranang (who sells snacks aboard buses for a living)