Bloody Friday

Asia » Philippines » Pampanga » San Fernando
March 29th 2013
Published: March 29th 2013
Edit Blog Post

It’s blistering near the hill in the clearing of the town. Even in the scorching heat of the sun, a macabre atmosphere seems to emanate from the sound of bamboo-laced whips hitting the wounded backs of penitents whose feet drag across the blood-splattered roads. Blood glistens on the backs of the supposed conscience-stricken men, as they continue to whip themselves, face hidden behind cloths tie... Read Full Entry

Photos are below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 21



And we interrupt this bloody sights with a picture of my morning snack, the halo-halo.

And my lunch, the palabok.

Because the Golden Arches is everywhere.

The pretty women of the McDonald's booth smiling. Yay.

30th March 2013

Thanks for sharing, Jay
I doubt I can ever bring myself to watch. But thanks, Jay, it's as if I was there with you. Or better. (If I were there, I'm not sure I can watch) Very well-written, btw. Very apt photo captions too. I think I'd post this on my page :-)
30th March 2013

Thanks! We were actually excited at first but turned squeamish once we saw the devotees on the streets and the blood on the pavement. :D
30th March 2013

Well done
I really enjoyed this entry and the way you presented the material. I find it so interesting to learn about these customs, although like liliram this is probably one I couldn't stomach to watch.
30th March 2013

I agree, San Fernando's Lenten rites are for those with strong stomachs. I thought I was prepared by watching countless of torture porn movies, but obviously nothing prepares you for such gruesome sights. There are lots of bloodless Passion plays in the country, though, which also reveal as much about the Filipino culture. We're planning to attend a couple of those as well, hopefully next year. :)
30th March 2013

School teacher, traveler and soon to be professional writer
We continue to enjoy your blogs. You capture the audience early and your language skills are excellent. The utilization of words allows us to be right there with you sensing the sounds, smell and emotions. I find these kind of rituals fascinating even though as you say they have become entertainment. Sounds tough to watch. Thanks for sharing.
30th March 2013

I've always wanted to be a writer, but I guess my stint with a news organization did help me a lot since I was forced to pay attention to details. I also enjoy reading your blogs and here's hoping to more adventures for you guys!
31st March 2013

Some what lost for words!
I find it incredible the lengths that people will go to in the name of religion. You're words captured the event really well, thank CJ for her photos, bloody incredible!
31st March 2013

What an honor to be read by TravelBlog's creator!
2nd April 2013

This would be very interesting to attend, however do you think the commercialisation and crowds now surrounding this event detracts for its underlying spiritual purpose and message? I suppose the spiritual purpose may already be compromised if penitents participate in the belief it will bring them fortune. Hope you are able to return in the future and that your camera does not malfunction. Congratulations on such a well-written and thought-provoking blog.
2nd April 2013

Interesting question
Thanks! You're right. I think the event's commercialization detracts it from the purpose of solemnly observing Good Friday, but I don't think people attend this event for religious purposes anyway. In the first place, the Church doesn't support the crucifixion and whipping of the penitents, so it's really just people practicing folk Catholicism. I think the Church realizes that, but it's obligated to issue warnings to distance itself from the event and let the public know that it doesn't condone the practice of people hurting themselves. Honestly, I'm not a Catholic so I'm one of the spectators who went to see the event for "entertainment" purposes, rather than spiritual. About going back... I would want to go back and dig deeper into some of the devotees' motivations, but I also want to attend other Good Friday events in other parts of the country, so I might be returning later rather than sooner.
2nd April 2013

nicely written
not sure if I can stomach watching this in person either >_< being a Catholic I'm not really a fan of this as the solemnity of what should be celebrated is often compromised and people often forget what the 'performance' really stand for. I'm sure most of them have good intentions but politics have also thrived in. It's becoming more of a circus to me, seem to be getting more and more commercialized. Thanks for sharing, good job Jay :)
2nd April 2013

Yeah, politics! I found it amusing that before the crucifixion started, the announcer had to say that the event was made possible through the benevolence of a certain politician.

Tot: 2.182s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 31; qc: 132; dbt: 0.0774s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.7mb