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i'm sure it makes sense to some...

you really get out there, sidney, and do fine work documenting all aspects of life.


It's how you amend/atone for your sins/misdeeds... if this is their way, let it be.... we may not be a fan of it but that's their way, let's not be judgemental folks. In the Philipiines most of the everyday people just smile when their pictures are taken be it happy or sad that's how they are... maybe even when Sidney was taking their pictures, they were not thinking
if they will look good or if someone will think they are hipocrites or believe them, they are just happy they are doing something they believe in and feel good about it... so the SMILE AND CONTENTMENT!!!!


I have to admit, Sidney, that this subject matter makes me uncomfortable. I think, perhaps, that this is partly the reason you've been posting these? To provoke some thought? I think this shows how you are such a strong photographer. Your photos are not neutral, nor just pretty. They aren't judgmental, either, but are provocative.

As to the discomfort... I guess it's difficult for me to understand how a person's religious views can extend to the point of giving or receiving such pain. I know that one's religious beliefs can be strong, but to this extent? It's quite amazing.


powerful photos, commentary and reactions: true art


Did you ever see the one in Pulilan? When we were kids, my dad would take us there during Holy Week. So so traumatising.

Ashish Sidapara

Thanks for the insight, lovely series as always!


Une préparation souriante à la flagellation ... nous sommes bel et bien en présence d'un phénomène de sado-masochisme rituel collectif !
Excellente série !

Ashwathy Nair

Interesting images!


I enjoyed reading the comment you provided. If one is to do this, then I applaud the two guys with hoods so that it is not a "look at how penitent I am" in which people can be recognized. Some looked rather happy to be getting ready for this ritual.
Very interesting series.


Je suis pour une fois d'accord avec Lasiate ;-)


They seem to be enjoying being photographed. LOL!

It is their belief that such tribulations will lessen or atone for their sins. So be it. We are all entitled to our own beliefs. :)


Some very well captured shots & it was nice to know about another new incident through your documentary & shots!


Err.. I'm not really a fan of these bloody rituals but again, great work on documenting them. Didn't know there was such a big variety on how to torture oneself.


Bizarre tous ces rites dans une religion qui prône l'amour et la douceur. La souffrance peut-elle racheter les torts causés aux autres? Je n'aime pas les religions et encore moins cette conception (héritée de la colonisation espagnole) basée sur la violence et la souffrance.


Ces : Why should we judge other people beliefs ? Even if those beliefs seems backward to us. We are all different; this makes for a very interesting world. My worst nightmare would be that everybody would act and look like me.
José-Angel: Thanks for the link but I can’t access the site. Is it the correct link?


I'm optimistic too, when I buy a lottery ticket :-)

I also fogot. These are MACHO men. I doubt if an enlightened Filipino man will see the need for such public attention.

There are those in the Philippines who practice penitence every day through their way of life. They are ordinary people, some very highly accomplished and educated who strive in living and pray to give thanks, live spiritual lives without the grand public display and give back to the people.


Ésta también es una tradición que se da en algunos lugares de España, sobre todo en la procesiones de Semana Santa. También, en La Rioja, existen los llamados "Picaos". ( Quizás son unas tradiciones un poco duras !!

This one also is a tradition that occurs in some places of Spain, mainly in the processions of Easter. Also, in the Rioja, the calls "Picaos" exist. ( Perhaps they are a little hard traditions!

Otto K.

Another great post, Sidney.


Thanks for sharing the history of Flagellantism. It was great to read the background of this whole practice.


Off topic; yes, I am done with my exams and I'm thinking of a long vacation but I need to come up with the money. And I'm a photographer, that explains my buff and my love in this field Sid!


To Betol: I can understand you feelings but then, isn’t life one big and long banality?

To Ces: it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic.

Major Tom

I had always thought that flagellation is a universally accepted form of penance in the Christrian world when I was younger...It is in fact strange practice and many foreigners get amazed what we just see as seemingly ordinary in Lenten season...


There is a name for this kind of thing :-)
Great photos!


i am taking a college course through your blog, sidney. that's how it feels when i read your posts and see your fantastic photos.

what can i say about this ritual? i am struck of course by ces' comments and collective sadness and disgust. and i am no fan of the catholic church, with its castles amidst poverty. and then i know that sometimes doing something painful can be exciting, if only by anticipating when it will stop.

keep on reporting, that's what i most want to say!

navin harish

I can understand why this was condemned by the church. This is a common ritual among the muslims too.


Flagellation is such an extreme form of sacrifice. It must take courage and dedication to go to such lengths for tradition. I've never witnessed this practice live before.

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