In the Philippines they take their Catholicism seriously. “Jesus saves” stickers adore cars, “God loves you” t-shirts are quite popular, and you can buy your meds at the St. Francis de Assisi Pharmacy. On Good Friday, a few towns reenact the road of the cross in the most extreme way possibly, by nailing a few volunteers to a cross.
We went to the city of San Fernando to see this spectacle. As we walked to the San Pedro crucification site, we passed many blindfolded men whipping themselves to cleanse their sin. Their backs were painted red with blood; it was an unnatural sight. We are still debating if they add a little extra theatrical flair by using pig’s blood in addition to what they manage to draw with their whips.
It was hot and the grounds around the small mound with three crosses were crowded with people. It was very hot in the midday sun. People took shelter under umbrellas. The three crosses were a bit away from the fence keeping the crowds back, and it was difficult to get a good look. Luckily, one could pay a few bucks to get a spot in the elevated vantage point of a scissor-lift.