Thousands of people converged on this northern Philippine village to witness 12 people being crucified in an annual re-enactment of Jesus Christ's suffering and death on Good Friday.
It is one of the most extreme acts of faith in the Philippines, Asia's only predominantly Christian nation where Good Friday is marked with solemnity and piety.
Elsewhere in the archipelago, Filipinos marked the occasion Friday with prayers and church pilgrimages, staying away from any noisy or festive behavior.
The entire country virtually shuts on Good Friday with local radio and television stations going off the air and most newspapers taking a holiday as well.
In San Fernando's Cutud district, faithful Filipinos mingled with hundreds of foreign and local tourists to see the bloody spectacle that climaxed on a dusty hill outside town at the height of the afternoon.
Even before the actual ceremonies began, there was plenty of bloodshed as hundreds of half-naked, hooded worshippers marched through the town, whipping their backs into a gory mass in penance for their sins.
The men used broken glass to slit their backs and then opened the wounds even further by flaying their backs with crude lashes made of rope tipped with sharp bamboo. Their whips sent splashes of blood all over the bystanders, much to the discomfort of those nearby.
In another part of the town, costumed residents re-enacted Christ's sentencing before Pontius Pilate with mounted men wearing cardboard helmets playing centurions.
Later the Christ figure carried a cross under the burning sun all the way to the hill. Three crosses were then set up for the 11 men and one woman to take turns to be crucified.
The Kristos were laid upon the crosses and long, stainless steel nails driven through the palms, and sometimes even through their feet.
Each of the crosses was then hoisted up so the devotee could hang upon them for a few minutes.
Those crucified merely grimaced as the nails were hammered in. When they were taken down, they just walked away, wiping their wounds with rubbing alcohol.
That the same nails were used from one devotee to another, with no more sterilization than a wiping with rubbing alcohol, did not seem to bother them.
Newcomers to the spectacle gasped in shock while veterans watched with interest.
The crucifixions and flagellations are not sanctioned by the Catholic church but the devotees continue to submit to the ordeal, many of them undergoing multiple crucifixions over a number of years.
Critics say that the event has become commercialized with some even accusing locals of paying people to undergo the crucifixions to attract tourists.
Village officials have denied this even as scores of vendors hawked drinks and snacks to the crowd sweltering under the summer sun.
Those undergoing the crucifixions and the self-flagellation say they are doing it in fulfillment of a vow to God, often in return for the grant of a request.
Medardo Pabustan, 34, said he had undergone crucifixion for the last 11 years because his disabled younger brother, Carlos Rico, could not walk.
After two years of crucifixions, his brother regained the use of his legs and a grateful Pabustan has remained true to his promise, saying he will return next year.
Gardo Canlas, 47, said he had been whipping himself for the past 15 years because his child could not find relief from a chronic illness.