Crucifixion anyone? ‘Kristos’ for hire

CLARK FREEPORT – Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment had been proven to be a crowd gathering event in many places in Pampanga and even in other areas outside of Central Luzon that some tourism offices have to scout for ‘talents’ who will play the role of “Kristo” (Jesus Christ).

“There are inquiries through phone calls and emails from some tourism offices asking if there are persons who are willing to be crucified as main attraction during the Good Friday,” said Ching Pangilinan, head of the City of San Fernando Tourism Office.

Pangilinan admitted there are some (penitents) who have engaged in this kind of practice in exchange for monetary consideration but we discourage it.

“We’re not promoting such practice, but it’s up to the person,” Pangilinan told reporters during the March edition of News @Hues held at Park Inn Hotel Tuesday.

The crucifixion ritual is being held in Barangays San Pedro Cutud, San Juan and Sta. Lucia, and another one in Porac town and Angeles City all in Pampanga. Similar event is also made in Paombong in Bulacan. There were instances that crucifixion is held somewhere in Northern Luzon.

The original Via Crucis play, Pangilinan said is being held at San Pedro Cutud. The ritual began way back in 1955.

Pangilinan said the City of San Fernando Via Crucis attracted more than 32,000 tourists and five percent of which are foreigners coming from different countries in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and America.

In previous years, Pangilinan said the Via Crucis organizers allowed foreigners to be nailed on the cross but after some unfortunate incident that surfaced along the way, we decided not to allow foreign visitors to participate in the drama.

For this year ritual, Ruben Enage, who will act the role of Jesus Christ, would be nailed on the wooden cross for the 31st times. Others are Melchor Montoya and Bob Velez, 70, the oldest among the group of penitents.

Pangilinan said the city government through its tourism office would rather promote the heritage district of the City of San Fernando such as the cathedral, century old houses and other structure left after the World War 2.

“Our focus now is on the heritage district and not on the crucifixion,” said Pangilinan.

Crucifixion ritual will be held ahead of the schedule in Porac town. Last year the nailing to the cross happened on Maunday Thursday.

Over in Angeles City, local artists will re-enact the seven last words (siete palabras) drama followed by crucifixion. The main character (Jesus Christ) will come from Bgy. San Pedro Cutud, in City of San Fernando.

Re-enactment of Jesus Christ crucifixion is not allowed by the church.

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