By Robert Leo, EnStars | Mar 30, 2013 02:04 PM EDT
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Devotees in villages located in the northern Philippines partook in a bloody annual ritual to celebrate Good Friday, which involved mixing Roman Catholic devotion with Filipino beliefs. However, some took the holy day even further and reenacted Jesus Christ's bloody crucifixion.
New York Daily News reported that the devotees who participated in the painful ritual spent several minutes being nailed to crosses in Pampanga while being watched by thousands of tourists, who also took photographs.
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Early in the day, male penitents with hoods walked the province's villages while hitting the participants' bleeding backs with homemade whips. Other believers carried wooden crosses in order to pay homage to Jesus Christ's sacrifice.
The devotees endured the pain of the ritual because they believe that the extreme sacrifice is a way to abolish them of their sins, obtain miracle cures for illnesses or show their loyalties to God.
Alex Laranang, 58, was the first person to be nailed to a cross on Friday. Laranang, who works a day job as a vendor, said he was participating in the crucifixion "for good luck and for my family to be healthy."
It was the 27th crucifixion for sign painter Ruben Enaje, 52, who began sacrificing himself for the annual ritual after surviving a fall from a building.
On the video, Enaje can be seen screaming in agony as men dressed like Roman soldiers hammered stainless steel nails into his feet and the palms of his hands. A wireless microphone projected his voice over loudspeakers, so that everyone watching could hear the pain.
Enaje's cross was then raised and he hung up there in the scorching sun for several minutes prior to the nails being removed. He was then taken on a stretcher to receive first aid.
"It's intriguing and fascinating what makes people do something like this, how you can believe so much that you make yourself suffer to that extent," explained Dita Tittesass, a Denmark tourist.
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