I wonder about people sometimes...  

rm_ricop1379 39M
303 posts
4/14/2006 3:48 pm

Last Read:
4/15/2006 5:27 am

I wonder about people sometimes...

Manila - Security was tight in a Philippine farming village where thousands gathered Friday to watch more than a dozen penitents to be nailed to wooden crosses in an annual Easter ritual re-enacting the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

More than 10,000 local and foreign tourists were expected to witness the bloody spectacle in Cutud village in the outskirts of San Fernando City, Pampanga province, 75 kilometres north of Manila, according to local officials.

Senior Superintendent Enrico Salapong, city police chief, said 350 uniformed and plainclothes policemen were deployed to guard the highlight of Easter celebrations in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

'The possibility of terrorist attacks is being considered because both local and international tourists are here,' he said. 'So we are not taking any chances.'

Authorities earlier said they did not monitor any specific threat, but had stepped up security for the holiday.

Medical teams and firetrucks have also been positioned in the main staging area in Cutud.

At least 14 penitents have signed up for the crucifixion, said village chieftain Zoilo Castro.

A British national had expressed interest to join the ritual, but there was no final word yet if local officials would allow him to join. The foreigner's identity has not yet been released.

In the re-enactment, the 'Kristos' first carry heavy wooden crosses in a procession to a dusty hill where the crucifixions would be held.

Five-inch nails soaked in alcohol are then hammered into the palms and feet of each of the Kristos, after which their crosses are lifted to a vertical position for at least five minutes under the scorching sun.

The Roman Catholic Church officially frowns on the bloody rituals, but makes little effort to discourage the highly popular practices.

Foreigners were banned since 1997 after local officials learned that a Japanese man nailed to a cross the previous year was actually an actor being secretly filmed for a scene in a Japanese pornographic video.

Easter is a major religious event in the Philippines, where more than 85 per cent of the population is Catholic.

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