This photography series features 'Siete Palabras' (or the 'Seven Last Words' of Jesus Christ) – a yearly observance of the Catholics held every Good Friday.
The Philippine Province of Pampanga in the Northern Island of Luzon is renowned for their physically ascetic forms of penance during the Holy Week. The town of Barangay Lourdes North West in Angeles City, Pampanga has been whole-heartedly active in this tradition through the years.
On Good Friday, actors imitate characters from the Bible and reenact the story of the Passion of Christ. But what draws both the faithful and sightseers alike is the live crucifixion of men who portray Christ, the penitent thief 'Dismas', and the impeni- tent thief 'Gestas'. After dramatizing the 'Seven Last Words' of Christ, their bodies suspended on wooden crosses, these men subject themselves to an actual nailing of their hands to their re- spective crosses. They dedicate this act as their personal devotion.
During this event, other devotees practice 'Penitensya'. With a desire to ask for forgiveness of sins, ask for favors or as gratitude for answered prayers, men carry heavy wooden crosses or inflict on themselves some heavy flagellation. Their hope is to be one with Christ’s suffering and to experience as Christ did when he carried the cross and was scourged at the pillar.