Easter in the Philippines: Man crucifies himself yearly

National Geographic put up this video two days ago on Good Friday; it shows a Filipino man who, every year, allows himself to get crucified (nails driven through the hands, not the feet) to fulfill a promise he made to God when his wife and baby daughter survived a dangerous episode of childbirth.  (Warning: very slight cringe-making moment when the nails are pounded into his hands. But there’s no blood.)

He also wears a “crown of thorns” made of barbed wire.

The sickest thing is that this is only one of 15 people who get crucified together in the Philippines. Well, this guy isn’t hurting anyone but himself, so I’ll just highlight this as just one more episode of religious delusion.

Maybe he should be thanking the doctors instead of Jesus.

h/t: SGM


  1. Bonzodog
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Upney … completely upney ….

    • jimroberts
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Well on the way to Upminster.

  2. Howard Kornstein
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Translation for any American readers seeing Bonzodogs post:

    Upney is an Underground station on the District Line and it is *one stop beyond Barking*.

    “Barking Mad” is a British slang expression for being extremely crazy.

    Only on WEIT do readers get such an international education!

    • Hempenstein
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that. And indeed, only on WEIT!

  3. Jonathan Dore
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    All together now:

    “Always look on the bright side of life …”

    • Mattapult
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Too funny!

    • gbjames
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink


      And Happy Cruciverary to you!

  4. alexandra
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    This awful video starts with an ad that says “Entertain the children” – a push for Carnival Cruises. Then, hey, more fun, on to the “Crucifixion”.

    I couldn’t watch for more than a few seconds – not merely the self-mutilation but the vast ignorance, the power of an ideology that has as its symbol a man dying under torture.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      I don’t think video makers can be blamed for the startling (and often hilariously ironic) choice of ads that some youtube-bot decides to attach to them.

      But I have to say ‘Carnival Cruises – entertain the children’ is one of the better ones.

  5. Christopher
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I just find this kind of thing rather pathetic, frankly.

  6. Mattapult
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Thin little sterilized nails… “carefully” placed not to do real harm… Ropes supporting the arms… Standing on a platform… No nails in the feet… Only a few minutes… No sword in the side…

    You call THAT crucifiction?

    • Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      They don’t make saviours like they used to.

      • Matt G
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink


    • davidintoronto
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Crucifixion’s a doddle.

      • Mattapult
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        At least it gets you outside.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Well, at least they get the “fiction” part right.

  7. Faustus
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure I’d agree he’s only harming himself. Making such a public exhibition of his crucifixion will help encourage others, especially the younger members of the audience, to think the best way of solving problems it to have a bit of a prey, and then be nailed to a piece of wood.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      Depends what they prey on.

      Or did you mean ‘pray’?

      (Welcome to WEIT, where every speling misteak will get you crucified 🙂

  8. Ludo
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The Christian pain and death-culture is of course an important breeding ground for the sadomasochistic sex industry.

  9. Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, my suicidal demi-god was killed by being shot with a high-caliber rifle. My re-enactments are much more brief.

  10. Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    More importantly, he has a strong family support system is in place. If kin and culture are on your side, let the torture section of the Philippine hardware store supply the rest…

  11. Mary Canada
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I didn’t watch the video (don’t need to, was raised catholic) but surmise that it would have probably been a good episode for the American television show “Jackass”

  12. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen more radical piercings at my local coffee shop.

    Last year I saw a carny show in which a guy swallowed a sword, pounded a nail up his nose, and lifted a bucket of water with his earrings.

    Then there are those rationalist students in India who pull tractors with hooks through their flesh to prove that you don’t need to be a religious nutcase to do this kind of stuff.

  13. Mattapult
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I wonder if his daughter ever thinks, “Look how much my Daddy suffers just so I could live!”

  14. ladyatheist
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Always look on the bright side of life!

  15. Tim Harris
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    As I recall, some years ago a Japanese pornographic film company took or acquired (without explaining why they wanted it)footage of one these Philippine crucifixions for use in some sado-masochistic film they were making. When the film came out and word got around, it caused outrage among Philippine Christians and very nearly brought about an international incident. There was lots of splendid outrage about ‘blasphemy’. ‘insult’, the Japanese ‘lack of spirituality’… All rather fun. I never saw the film, for obvious reasons, but I thought that the Japanese film company, no doubt a nasty lot connected with gangsters, got it right…

  16. andyo
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    There was a House episode where a guy did this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Sacrifices_%28House%29

    It’s a funny one.

  17. Matt G
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    And if Jesus hadn’t been crucified, what would Christian’s wear around their necks? Nooses? Lions?

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      There’s an alternate-history novel from the 1960s called The Last Starship From Earth by John Boyd in which Jesus died as an old man from a crossbow bolt to the chest while leading a Christian army in the sack of Rome. So Christians in that universe wear crossbows around their necks.

  18. BillyJoe
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    The headline is wrong of course. He doesn’t crucify himself, he gets himself crucified. Because how could he crucify himself anyway. The text gets it right though. And, anyway, he’s not being crucified. Thin pins through the hands and none through the feet does not amount to crucifixion. Lucky there is no god to claim retribution for his piss weak effort.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Well, as others have noted, it’s not really crucifixion unless you fucking DIE of it.

      (Sorry ’bout the f-word, but ever since I saw Hitchens comment on Heaven, the celestial North Korea – ‘at least you can fucking DIE and leave North Korea’ – I just cannot say the word ‘die’ unaccompanied by its adjective : )

  19. Mark
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Yup, this happens every year in the Philippines. Some other people engage in (literal) self-flagellation.

    This sort of obsession and fascination with pain and its connection with faith is out of favor in Western culture and is, I believe, officially discouraged by the Catholic Church but it used to be much more common. It still survives in the form of Mel Gibson and a few people in the Philippines.

  20. schenck
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This sort of thing used to be called /ex voto/, “out of a vow”, often made by roman soldiers/generals along the lines of ‘Oh Jupiter, if you get me out of this mess I’ll build you a nice temple’.

    Seems like this guy’d’ve been better off building something (since he’s emulating a carpenter, and using up nails anyway).

    • gbjames
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Well, he built himself a nice cross! 😉

  21. Dave
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of the old joke where Jesus Christ walks into a hotel, slaps four nails down on the reception desk and asks:

    “Can you put me up for the night please?”

    I thank you.

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