Fernando Mamangun gets his hands and feet nailed on a cross every Good Friday. It’s a ritual of sacrifice and penitence that is equally controversial as it is awe-inspiring.
The 42-year-old filipino has been doing it since 1990 in the belief that God will give good health to his wife and children in exchange of his sacrifice. Sometimes he thinks of giving up, but he can’t.
He made a promise to himself.
Like every year, under a deep heat, a dozen emulators of Jesus Christ are crucified prior to an intense flogging in a handful of villages in the northern Philippines. They are celebrating the Good Friday and the culmination of different pagan rituals.
The Catholic Church is opposed to such rites, popularized in the province of Pampanga during the last 60 years. They consider these acts to be self-serving and a move away from the meaning of the holiday.
Philippines has the largest Catholic population in Asia, where more than 80 percent of their population follow Catholicism.
Despite the disapproval from the Vatican, penitents continue year after year with the marked tradition. Most penitents hope to receive God’s rewards for their sacrifices, suffer pain in order to expiate their sins and get merits.
MARK ESPLIN, co-producer, is a documentary photographer and multimedia producer from the UK. His work has taken him around the World, often working on social issues. He is currently based in Brunei working as a video editor for the Brunei Times.
ERIC SAN JUAN, researcher & writer, holds a degree in Journalism by the University of Navarra. He worked for nearly three years as reporter of Economics and Politics in the newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa, until he went to Vietnam with a scholarship. After spending a year in Saigon, he has been living in Manila since 2009, where he worked as a correspondent for Efe News Agency until August 2012. He is currently based in Ho Chi Minh City.