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San Fernando and the Passion of the Christ

Angeles City might well be the undisputed sin city of the Philippines, but what you might not realize is that there is a small town in Pampanga called San Fernando, which is 20-30 minutes’ drive away from the hedonism of Fields Avenue. San Fernando, despite its closeness to Angeles, happens to host one of the most devout religious celebrations on earth, the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival.

In case you are not aware of what the Cutud Lenten Rites festival is, let’s just say it puts a whole new meaning to getting nailed in the Philippines. 

The festival is celebrated on Good Friday and involves people self-flagellating (whipping themselves with a whip), putting on a passion play, and well to cut a long story short, literally having themselves nailed to the cross Jesus style. 

The whole affair starts early in the morning before ending with the mid-day sun and is kind of like a county fete with pop-up food stalls, t-shirts being sold (of Jesus) and hundreds of press from around the world coming to do the same story each year about the same festival.

Now to many this might sound like literally the last thing you would want to come and watch, but in fact the whole day out is quite a fun one, and as experiences go, there’s not much in the world that can compare to watching people so devoted to a cause they drive nails through themselves.

The festival is so ingrained in the culture that the government releases a yearly “good crucifixion guide”, after all the last thing you would want is tetanus.

If you’d like to see the 2020 edition of the Cutid Festival, it is possible to just rock up, or you can go on an organized trip that will arrange press passes for you

As Monty Python said – Crucifixion it’s a doddle.

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