On Good Friday on a hillside in the small town of San Pedro Cutud in Pampanga, Philippines, several Catholic devotees including a woman were nailed to crosses as part of a the re-enactment of the suffering of Jesus Christ.
This spectacle has now become a tourist attraction but is frowned upon by Church leaders in the Philippines.
Another part of the event involves many male penitents walking for several miles through the villages beating themselves with sharp bamboo sticks.
Most of the penitents involved believe that by doing so they can seek forgiveness for their sins, pray for a better life or help cure sickness within themselves or family members.
On a personal level I found the event to be interesting to photograph (although access was difficult, as we couldn't shoot close up as I normally would, which would have made much more dramatic images). I could only really get super close to the crowd to use the wide lenses I would normally use for shooting such dramatic events.
The other thing I found interesting was the way some of the crowd observed the event, some sitting in a 'VIP' area wearing straw hats sipping ice tea, whilst someone is screaming in pain being nailed to a crucifix...this gave me connotations of gladiatorial style events of ancient Rome...
Gary Tyson is an official Fuji X Photographer and founder of F8 Photography, now based in Manila, Philippines and is fortunate to be able to travel around the world following his passion by creating images and short films for a diverse range of clients as well as teaching photography workshops and tailored courses around South East Asia. Before arriving in Asia Gary was a British Army photographer which led him all over the globe with the British military.