Yesterday, in Tuburon Philippines, on Good Friday, 54-year-old Gilbert Bargayo was nailed to a cross during a reenactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This year marks Gilbert’s 20th crucifixion. He has been crucified in different locations in the Philippines but since last year, mayor Democrito Diamante has hosted the event in the town of Tuburan, about 2 1/2 hours drive outside of Cebu City.
This is our fourth Jim Cline Photo Tours Philippines tour but the first group to come to the Philippines specifically to photograph the holy week celebrations. Six participants are here to document the festivities including Gilgbert’s crucifixion. All six enthusiastic and experienced photographers are here under the tutelage of myself and local Photographer, Jacob Maentz, without whom, this unique opportunity would not be possible.
The following 53 images show the procession and crucifixion in which Gilbert carries a 200 lb wooden cross through the town of Tuburan, stopping at stations of the cross, where bible passages are read aloud. A small group of spectators followed the procession through the streets. Afterward, Gilbert took a few hours rest to prepare himself for the afternoon crucifixion.
During the crucifixion reenactment, Gilbert’s hands and feet were pierced with sterilized steel nails and he was hoisted up, where he remained for about 40 minutes in the blazing hot sun, before being taken down and transported to a secluded beach location where he washed himself in the sea.
The Catholic Church here in the Philippines officially disapproves of physical mutilation by penitents on Holy Week, but Gilbert persists with his tradition which he says he feels compelled to do, after a dream he had as an adolescent.
Assistants, including friends and extended family helped him in the reenactment. A cousin was charged with the task of hammering in four-inch nails to his hands and feet, and slicing his chest with a large knife, while others handled other logistics.
Gilbert is constructing a chapel in Guadalupe, Carcar City which he feels will be his legacy. Gilbert accepts donations for his project although he says funds are scarce. So far Mayor Diamante of Tuburan has been his biggest contributor.
Gilbert is truly a kind and generous soul who opened up his life, allowing the eight of us unprecedented access to document that which he feels so deeply passionate about.