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.

Easter 2013: Eight Must-Watch Festive Movies [VIDEO]