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Michael Aquino

Holy Week in the Philippines: For Crucifixions, Foreigners Need Not Apply.

By April 19, 2011

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Catholic devotees practice acts of extreme sacrifice and penance during the Lenten season. Image Getty Images.

Holy Week in the Philippines commemorates the death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ as only the devoutly Catholic Filipinos know how. (For non-Catholics, Holy Week is the week preceding Good Friday, April 22, the supposed day of Christ's death on the cross.) In San Pedro Cutud, men and women actually get themselves crucified, following Jesus' bloodied footsteps in the most excruciating way possible.

After the embarrassment of foreign folk signing up to be crucified and backing out at the last minute, the local committee supervising the crucifixions has put their foot down and banned foreigners from getting the cross-and-nails treatment. According to Councilor Jimmy Lazatin, the honors will only be limited to Pampanga provincial residents who have made verified lifetime religious vows. (Sun Star Pampanga)

On the other hand, foreign visitors are absolutely encouraged to stand at the sidelines and watch the proceedings, though. (Philippine Star) I think the Department of Tourism is calculating that it's so much easier to spend tourist dollars when one's hands aren't nailed up on a cross.

For more on this week's Holy Week celebrations, read our article: Holy Week in the Philippines, or check out our list of Philippines Fiestas.

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