Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

April 14, 2009

Cutud Crucifixions: Good Friday Traditions of San Fernando, Pampanga

April 14, 2009

Cutud Crucifixions: Good Friday Traditions of San Fernando, Pampanga

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Spanky once said to us that we need to experience the Cutud Crucifixions before we can be certified as adopted Kapampangans. Our family went to San Fernando, Pampanga on Good Friday to see the 50+-year old solemn tradition of crucifixions in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga.

Here is our photo essay about a unique experience only in the Philippines...

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Ivan Henares advised us to arrive in Cutud before 11am. By that time, the road leading to the crucifixion hill was already crowded with walking people, stuck cars and trisikad.

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Ivan Man Dy and I debated if it was real blood jumping out of the backs of the flagellants...

It was real! That is why people avoided them when they passed by. You'll see a lot of devotees of this extreme mortification tradition on Good Friday. This commemorates Christ's scourging at the pillar.

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The old tradition of dramatizing the passion and death of Jesus Christ (called Via Crusis) was played out on the streets leading to the crucifixion site before the 1pm Crucifixion. The Kapampangan language was used for the entire presentation.

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There's a VIP section where most of the media and photographers who had passes were located. During the Crucifixion dramatization, nobody was allowed to go near the hill.

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The thieves who were crucified on the left and right side were immediately raised without having the nails driven through their hands and feet.

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On the other hand, the person who played the role of Christ was physically nailed to the cross on both hands first and then both feet. We heard the screams of pain every time the nails were hammered through the skin, muscles and bones.

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Finally, the seven last words were uttered until the last breath. Then, sounds of thunder and rain echoed through the sound system to officially end the Via Crusis.

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The main character was lowered with a long cloth supporting the body.

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Thanks to Ivan Henares and Ching for the VIP Passes and for Ivan Man Dy for joining me in this sacrifice.

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After the Via Crusis at around 2pm, other faithful followers of the crucifixion tradition called Kristos(?) were nailed to the cross, one after another.

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The Kristos were treated in the onsite clinic after their painful ordeal.

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The only thing I hate about the Cutud Crucifixion is that it has become a commercialized tradition already. It is one of the most visited religious celebrations by tourists in the Philippines, and San Fernando has become part of the backpack trail during the Holy Week.

Next time, we will go to the crucifixions in Sta. Lucia, which are more solemn and where we can reflect more on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. (Yes, a number of crucifixions happen simultaneously throughout Pampanga during Good Friday.)

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Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 
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