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March 8, 2012

The World Famous Lenten Rites at San Pedro Cutud in Pampanga Philippines

San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites (Maleldo)

The World Famous San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites (Maleldo) thumbnailEvery season of lent the City of San Fernando in Pampanga is preparing for the world famous San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites, also known as Maleldo.

This event happens during the Holy Week in the Philippines. An actual re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus by devotees and penitents. 

This is a theatrical re-enactment of Christ’s Passion. This intense passion play is performed by the local residents and culminates on Good Friday. The final act includes having the real crucifixion of some penitents on wooden crosses on top of man-made Calvary. The re-enactment begins between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. after which individuals move off to trek four kilometers to “Golgotha”. A number of penitents doing self-flagellations using glass-spiked leather thongs on their naked backs while trailing a “Christ” who is a Filipino penitent carrying a heavy wooden cross during the trek, re-enact the entire passion.

This is commemorated during the Lenten season on the evening of Good Friday. Fifty-two years ago, Via Crucis was first played by local volunteer artists and since then become well known as San Pedro Cutud. In the year 1962, Artemio Anoza, the first volunteer to be nailed to a wooden cross, was aspiring to be a good religious leader and a faith healer. With this action of devotion, this event of crucifixion, as well as penitent punishment, has been taking place yearly, with numbers of new participants flagellating themselves as penance for their sins.

In 1965, Via Crucis was held in Betis, Guagua, Pampanga, captured the interest of the whole nation and since then became an international tourist attraction.


Since its early enactments, the Kapampangans has preserved San Pedro Cutud Lenten rites in their observance of the Holy Week. In 1985, Ruben Enaje, 54, a carpenter and a leader of the main body of “Kristos” was nailed on a wooden cross with 25 other penitents, including two women. They were taken to a rice field in the barrio of San Pedro Cutud, where a “calvary” was built. They trekked almost 3 kilometers before they reached the calvary and nailed on wooden crosses using 5 cm stainless nails soaked in alcohol to disinfect them. Thousands of local and foreign tourists gathered to the scene. Enaje vowed to bear this ritual after escaping death when he fell from a 3-storey building several years ago. Since then, he offered himself for crucifixion every year.

Catholics from all walks of life come to this annual event for different reasons, though usually for the atonement of their sins. residents can recall that only two women – a Bulacan faith healer named Amparo Santos and a Belgian nun had their palms as well as their feet pierced by nails. The nun did it only once in the late 1990s, whereas Santos culminated her fifteen-year penance in 2004. While San Pedro Cutud is most well known for this event, other towns, such as barangays Sta. Lucia and San Jose in San Fernando City and barangay Lourdes Sur in Angeles City are also conducting the same re-enactment, which gives tourists more options while visiting Pampanga during Holy Week.

source: festivals in the philippines

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