Filipinos Crucified in Bloody Good Friday Ritual

Blood sprayed, nails bit into flesh and the water and fan salesmen did a roaring trade. This is Easter, Philippines style.

The small, sleepy town of Cutud, about 50 miles north of Manila, comes alive every Good Friday in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in this devoutly Roman Catholic country.

Despite the orthodox Church frowning on the ritual, participants whip themselves and a number are nailed to makeshift wooden crosses for several minutes to atone for sins and in some cases to seek cures for sick relatives.

Three-Inch Nails Driven

This year, 11 men and one woman underwent the crucifixion ordeal while more than 20 young men chose to be flagellants -- whipping their backs into a bloody smear after being cut with a glass embedded instrument.

"I am the actress of Jesus on Good Friday," said faith healer Amparo Santos of Bulacan shortly before she had three-inch nails driven through her right and left hands and on to a large wooden cross.

Why does she do it? "Because Jesus is the one that has called me for this kind of position."

While grimacing as the nails went in, the spritely 60-year-old was soon composed, chatting and laughing and even answering questions from the assembled audience.

Santos said she was being crucified for the 14th time and intended to go through it again next Easter.

Chito Sangalang, 45, who played the role of Christ in a re-enactment of the original crucifixion, along with others dressed as Pontius Pilate and Roman soldiers, was back for his 15th year, having earlier vowed that this would be his last.

Over 1,000 people, many of them foreign tourists, gathered to witness the bloody spectacle with spectators jostling for the best camera positions as water and fan salesmen were kept busy in the searing heat.