IN PHOTOS: For his children’s sake

LeAnne Jazul

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IN PHOTOS: For his children’s sake
Eric Marcelino prays that his annual devotion will keep his family safe from illness

BULACAN, Philippines — For the past 5 years, Eric Marcelino’s family, particularly his children, have remained free from serious illnesses. The 37-year-old attributes their continued good health to his annual religious vow of being  nailed to the cross every Holy Week.

Marcelino told Rappler that his earnings as a tricycle driver are only enough to bring a decent meal to the table and allow his children to attend public school. “Mahirap magkasakit. Kailangang mag-ipon para sa iba pang gastusin, para sa kinabukasan ng mga anak ko,” he adds. (It’s tough getting sick these days. We have to save money for our other expenses and for the future of my children.)

Paombong town in Bulacan celebrates Holy Week differently from its neighboring towns in the province of Pampanga, which are famous for crucifixion rites. Traditions like the Pabasa, flagellation and the reenactment of the Passion of Christ start on the Friday before Palm Sunday. 

Marcelino is nailed to the cross at noon on Maunday Thursday, his 6th year. “Ang bulong ng Espiritu Santo ang nagtatakda kung saan sila darakpin, magpapasan at kung saan at kailan sila ipapako,” explains a Hudyores (Passion play Roman soldier) when asked why the crucifixion took place before Good Friday. (The Holy Spirit whispers to them when they are chosen, and where and when will they carry and get nailed to the cross.)

Here are some of the scenes from the crucifixion in Brgy. San Isidro II, Paombong, Bulacan:

PABASA. The Holy Week tradition in Bulacan starts before Palm Sunday.

SAFE. Measuring 4 inches long, the nails used for crucifixion are soaked in "miracle oil" and alcohol.

CAPTURED. The Passion of the Christ is reenacted before the crucifixion.

HUDYORES. Passion play Roman soldiers tkae turns in flogging and beating Marcelino before his crucifixion.

THE FALL. Marcelino has to fall 14 times, symbolizing the Stations of the Cross.

CROWD. In all ages, residents brave the intense summer heat to catch a glimpse of the crucifixion.

HOT AND HUMID. At noon, Marcelino is nailed to a cross and stays for 15 minutes under a scorching summer heat.

LA PIETA. Performers double as first aid volunteers cleaning the wound of Marcelino.

THE WOUND. Marcelino shows his hands to the crowd after the Passion play.

GOING HOME. When all is said and done, the tricycle-driver Marcelino takes his family out for lunch after his crucifixion.

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LeAnne Jazul

LeAnne has had 25 years of experience in the media industry. He joined Rappler for the 2013 elections and has stayed on. He is currently Rappler's photo editor.