Hundreds of Roman Catholics across the Philippines have taken part in crucifixion and self-flagellation processions as Good Friday got under way.

Men and women marched barefoot along roads, bearing heavy wooden crosses and whipping their backs until they bled as part of the annual religious ritual.

Some penitents nailed themselves to crosses during the mourning process in an attempt to experience the pain that Christ suffered and to get closer to God.

But religious leaders in the Philippines have warned devotees against resorting to extreme forms of expression on Good Friday.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and president of the Philippine Bishops' Conference said: "Let us concentrate more on the prayers. These are the wonderful ways of celebrating Holy Week.

"The Lord appreciates all these forms of sacrifices, but sometimes the kind of sacrifice that we impose on ourselves is not what the Lord wants us to do," Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, and chairman of the Bishops' Commission on Youth, said.

Those taking part in the rituals have been advised to have tetanus jabs and use only sterilised nails.

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Paupers carry 10ft crosses for the 'Calvary of the Poor' protest in front of a Catholic church in Manila.Reuters
Penitents, locally known as "Morions", wear masks and Roman centurion costumes as they take part in a procession commemorating the Passion of Christ during Holy Week at Boac town in Marinduque, central Philippines.Reuters
Women in veils carry a statue of the Virgin MaryReuters
Girls wearing veils take part in a religious procession commemorating the passion of Christ during Holy Week at Mogpog town in Marinduque, central Philippines,Reuters
Penitents weep during self-flagellation in Manila.Reuters
A believer in the role of Jesus Christs whipped by a 'Roman soldier' in Mandaluyong cityReuters
Residents push a carriage transporting a statue of the Virgin MaryReuters
Hooded penitents flagellate themselves during Maundy Thursday Lenten rites in Mandaluyong cityReuters
Hooded penitents, with their arms bound to wooden stakes, walk during a Maundy Thursday Lenten rites procession. The annual ritual is meant to atone for sins and give thanks to God for blessings.Reuters