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Filipino to be crucified for 28th time.

Manila: A Filipino resident in central Luzon has complained on not being able to retire from an annual ritual of crucifixion because no one is willing to take his place, a radio report said.

"The one who was supposed to take my place had cold feet last week," Ben Enaje said in a radio interview, adding that he has been crucified 27 times every Lenten Season at a crucifixion site in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga, now a tourist spot among both local and foreign tourists.

"For now, I should continue doing it as long as I can," said Enaje, also known as a superstar among penitents in San Juan.

He has used the same nails for crucifixion all 27 times after he survived a bad fall at a construction site. "They are my personal nails," said Enaje who makes sure they do not rust or get dirty.

Cutud has witnessed the crucifixion of penitents for the past 50 years.

Apart from San Pedro, the villages of San Juan and Sta. Lucia in Cutud also have their own religious processions.

Seven penitents, including Enaje, were scheduled to be crucified in San Pedro, three in Sta. Lucia and four in San Juan.

Tourist influx

"We expect 50,000 local and foreign tourists on Holy Friday. Some of them have already camped out in different parts of Cutud," Councillor Jimmy Lazatin told the Manila Times.

Local government units have provided 200 policemen and K-9 dogs to secure all three crucifixion sites in Cutud, said Lazatin, adding that crucifixions were scheduled sequentially -- at 9am on Friday in San Juan, 10 am in Sta Lucia and 1pm in San Pedro.

Mayor Oscar Rodriguez also told the Times, "We preserve and promote our rich heritage and culture."

The Catholic Church has discouraged crucifixion, adding that "sacrifices" such as being nailed to the cross was the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christi in Golgotha 2,000 years ago and should no longer be repeated by those who are seeking forgiveness and blessings.

More than 80 per cent of Filipinos belong to the Catholic Church. The Spanish colonists who ruled from 1521 to 1898 propagated Catholicism in the Philippines. But many Filipinos in far-flung provinces have continued practising Catholicism fused with superstitious practices.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:3PARA
Date:Mar 28, 2013
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