Hooded barefoot devotees in the Philippines performed extreme acts of penitence during the Holy Week to atone for their sins that culminates on Good Friday.
The annual religious ritual involves performance of self-flagellation acts like carrying heavy wooden crosses, whipping their backs until they bleed and re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are national holidays where work is suspended in both government and private offices.
Although the practice is reportedly discouraged by Catholic bishops, many Filipinos believe that such acts will help them to cleanse their sins, cure their illness and even grant their wishes.
Reuters reported that in nearby Angeles City, bloody gashes from repeated strikes of whips could be seen on the backs of devotees as they walked barefoot along the streets, believing that their sacrifice would somehow grant salvation for their sins.
The ritual involves believers marching for several hours under the scorching heat of the sun with their arms and legs tied while they were inflicted wounds on their backs with a blade.
The Church keeps the day solemn by not tolling church bells, and no mass is celebrated. In some communities the processions include devotees who self-flagellate and sometimes even have themselves nailed to crosses as expressions of penance.
The Holy Week, leading up to Easter is celebrated by Christians across the globe to commemorate the most important event in Christianity: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Earliest catholic reference as to the celebration and observance of the Holy Week are found in the Apostolical Constitutions in the latter half of the 3rd and 4th century.
Just before the last mass ahead of Easter, Holy Thusday is observed which mainly includes a reenactment of the Washing of the Feet of the Apostles. However, on Good Friday, celebrations include street processions, the Way of the Cross, the commemoration of Jesus' Seven last words and a Passion play called the Sinakulo.
This is followed by Easter morning celebrations where large statues of Jesus and Mary are taken in procession together to meet, imagining the first reunion of Jesus and his mother Mary after the resurrection.
Start the slideshow to catch a glimpse of the acts of penitence observed by believers in the Philippines: