The title isn’t clickbait, I actually went to the Philippines to watch guys get crucifed, by choice, to prove their devotion to God. Intense.

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.24.20 PM 599549_10151498015676740_1822118612_n

Ok, so here’s the deal.  90% of the Philippines in staunchly Catholic, and every Easter, Good Friday to be exact, in Pampanga district just north of Manilla the capital, people volunteer to be crucifed with their hands and feet nailed to a cross. Yup, volunteer. Then the less hard-core, but still pretty crazy guys, whip their backs with a long rope with small razors on it. Ouch.

625641_10151498015786740_213200294_n 601620_10151498016031740_1948785388_n 480730_10151498015861740_979463272_n

I’ve been to the Philippines a few times and it’s one of my favourite countries in the world – the people are super friendly, there’s so much to see and so many beautiful islands on offer, I had heard rumours of this event for years but never managed to see it. So, one day in Bangkok, I took the plunge, booked flights and went, and honestly it was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

The places is super crowded with up to 50, 000 people coming to join in and watch events unfold. As you approach on taxi you reach some heavy traffic and have to walk the remaining kms due to the sheer numbers. From that moment on, the madness starts.

Before you get to the hill where the crucifixations happen, there are groups of men walking shirtless in the same direction, but their progress is much slower. They are ritually undergoing self flagellatiion, whipping themselves every five second until their  backs are literally red raw, covered in blood. The streets are covered in bloody, and I even managed to get a few specks on me too, it’s almost unavoidable as everywhere you look there are boy, as young as teenagers, doing this. Crazy sights.

Specks of blood on my shorts :S
Specks of blood on my shorts :S

Finally you reach the main event and their is a huge crowd. ‘Helpers’ dressed up as Romans to mimic Jesus getting crucified help the volunteers up the hill, the lie down on the cross and you start to hear the screaming. Slowly the bang the nails through their hands and feet, one nail in each limb, then they hoist the cross up tall. Three of them, all crucified, just as it was in the Bible. People are praying everywhere, the guys are screaming and when they take a break from screaming, they’re reciting bible verses. You can see the blood dripping from the edge of the cross, it’s pretty grim. After some time passes, they’re let down, Normally to a waiting ambulance where they have a chance to recover, as the next set of volunteers ready themselves. And on the day goes.
Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.24.43 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.24.30 PMThe rest of the town is in quite a relaxed mood – stalls selling ice-creams and beers, people playing music. For them, they see it every year so perhaps the spectacle isn’t as shocking but for me, it was an eye opener. If you’re in Asia over Easter ever, make the effort to go and check this out, it’s certainly a story for the Grandkids.

64701_10151498014821740_597259887_n 8405_10151498014916740_926071931_n


The participants believe they’ve done something wrong in their lives, and their begging forgiveness from God. Also, if something ‘lucky’ in their life has occured like their mother surviving cancer earlier in the year, then they offer their bodies to God and say thanks by putting themselves through this ordeal.

253640_10151498016026740_450620998_n 163535_10151498016186740_765512526_n


The ceremony happens on Luzon, the main island. You can either fly into Manilla’s international airport and take a bus or fly into Clarke Airport and stay around their, organise a taxi to take you the rest of the distance to San Juan.

johnny ward john ward
And of course, me on facebook uploading pics of it, nothing changes 😛

Ok, that’s the long and short of it. Hope it made you guys want to explore the Philippines a little bit more, it’s an amazing country, with such a strong culture, I can’t wait to go back and explore more. Happy travels.

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward