Good Friday in the Philippines.

Good Friday 2012 at The Seattle Globalist.

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.

Video, Audio: Biel Calderón – Mark Esplin
Photography: Mark Esplin (
Script: Eric San Juan – Mark Esplin – Biel Calderón
Editing: Mark Esplin – Biel Calderón
Research and Text: Eric San Juan (
Music: Ravine, by Gurdonark


Acerca de Biel Calderon

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me” (Steve Jobs) Born in Mallorca, 1983. 18 years later I moved to Madrid to study BA Political Science, 2001-2006. I wanted to be a photographer. In 2007 I graduated MA Asian and Pacific Studies, Barcelona. I wanted to be a photographer. Finally, in 2007 I graduated MA Photojournalism. Since then I have collaborated with digital magazines, NGO’s and newspapers. And I became a photographer. Recently I have been exploring Multimedia Journalism along side my photography in order to test new ways of storytelling. Currently based in Bangkok.
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