My Swedish friend Theo told me about this when we were travelling together in Peru, finally I came to see the crucifixion in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines.
Most tourist only saw the grand finale where “the guy” was crucified, with actors in Marian Roman costume, actress playing Maria with microphone and heavy makeup, to me was a bit too staged and the distance was so far.
Thanks to my newly made local friend, prior to that we followed a group of Mandarames (flagellants) with three men bearing their wooden crosses in the front, until arrived an open space dirt garage, where three holes were dug.
It was dusty, extremely sunny, temperature reached 37C with no wind and a huge crowd of audience wanted to get a photo of what’s going to happen with their cell phone camera, in a distance of only one or two meters where devotees were to be crucified.
The two guys on both sides were tied to their crosses and were “planted” into the hole, then the one in the middle bearing a bigger cross was nailed to the cross before it was stood up.
There was a stillness in the air when the whole crowd watching him biting his teeth, suffering from the nails nailed through his palms, until he was taken down 10 minutes later.
My shoes, cloths and camera all got blooded, and my skin was burnt. It was my first and probably the last time, but those who crucified and self flagellated, will get bloodied again and again in every Good Friday in the future.