No more pain for Philippine devotee nailed to cross for 32nd time

CUTUD, Philippines, March 30 (Reuters) - A Philippine man who has been nailed to a cross every Easter for the past 32 years in a Good Friday re-enactment of Jesus Christ's crucifixion says he no longer feels any pain from his wounds.

Ruben Enaje, 58, again portrayed Christ on Friday in the traditional religious rite in Cutud village, about 76 km (47 miles) from the capital Manila.

"In the past, I went home injured and limping, but this year I feel so great," Enaje said after the ritual held under a sweltering sun.

He said he believed his strong Catholic faith helped him avoid pain.

"I feel like he is telling me 'go ahead, keep it up'," he said, referring to God.

Easter is a festival marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

About 80 percent of the 105 million people in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, are Catholic.

WARNING: Graphic images portray Ruben Enaje's crucifixion

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Ruben Enaje nailed to cross on Easter weekend
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Ruben Enaje nailed to cross on Easter weekend
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain after being nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje (C), 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, is seen nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain as he is nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain as he is nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, is nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, is seen nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain as a resident in the role of a Centurion removes a nail from his feet during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, is carried by residents dressed as Centurions after he was nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 57, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 31st time, grimaces in pain as he was nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, lies on the ground as residents in the role of Centurions looks on during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Spectators watch Ruben Enaje (C), who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 30th time, and other penitents hang on wooden crosses during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Cutud town, Philippines March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 30th time, screams while a resident acting as a Roman soldier pulls up a nail on his palm during a Good Friday crucifixion reenactment in Cutud town, Philippines March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
A resident portraying Roman soldier pulls up a nail on a foot of penitent Ruben Enaje, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 30th time, during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Cutud town, Philippines March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 30th time, is carried on a stretcher by rescuers after he was nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion reenactment in Cutud town, Philippines March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Ruben Enaje (C), who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 30th time, is pulled down by residents acting as Roman soldiers during a Good Friday crucifixion reenactment in Cutud town, Philippines March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Penitent Ruben Enaje, in his 29th year of crucifixion, gets treatment from the wounds on his palm and feet after he was crucified during a reenactment of crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Cutud, San Fernando Pampanga north of Manila April 3, 2015. REUTERS/Lorgina Minguito
Penitent Ruben Enaje, in his 29th year of crucifixion, grimaces as he is nailed on a wooden cross during a reenactment of the passion and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Cutud, San Fernando Pampanga north of Manila April 3, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ruben Enaje, 52, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 27th time, screams while a man playing a Roman soldier pulls out a nail from his palm after he was nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. About two dozen Filipinos were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in an extreme display of devotion that the Catholic church looks down upon as a form of folk religion but appears powerless to stop. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
Ruben Enaje, 52, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 27th time, screams as he hangs on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
People watch as Ruben Enaje (C), 52, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 27th time, hangs on a cross beside two men, who are portraying Dismas and Gestas, during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
Ruben Enaje, 52, who will portray as Jesus Christ for the 27th time, shows three-inch nail which he will use on a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Ruben Enaje, 52, who will portray Jesus Christ for the 27th time, sharpens a three-inch nail which he will use on a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION SOCIETY)
Ruben Enaje, 52, who will portray Jesus Christ for the 27th time, tests a three-inch nail on his feet which he will use on a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud town, Pampanga province, north of Manila March 29, 2013. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION SOCIETY)
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje, 43, portraying Jesus Christ, winces as he is nailed to a cross in the village of Cutud in northern Pampanga province April 9, 2004. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence.
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje (C) is crucified on a wooden cross during a re-enactment of Christ's death during Easter in the small community of Cutud in San Fernando Pampanga, north of Manila April 9, 2004. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippines every Good Friday but it does not deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco RR/SH
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje, 43, portraying Jesus Christ, winces as he is nailed to a cross in the village of Cutud in northern Pampanga province April 9, 2004. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco RR/TW
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje (C) portrays Jesus Christ alongside other two penitents who are crucified on wooden crosses during a re-enactment of Christ's death in the small community of Cutud in San Fernando Pampanga, north of Manila April 9, 2004. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippines every Good Friday but it does not deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco RR/SH
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje, 43, portraying Jesus Christ, winces as he is nailed to a cross in the village of Cutud in northern Pampanga province April 9, 2004. The Roman Catholic church frowns on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco PP04040024 RR/TW
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje winces as he is nailed on a cross in the village of Cutud in northern Pampanga province April 18, 2003. Roman Catholic church frown on the gory spectacle held in the Philippine village of Cutud every Good Friday but that does nothing to deter the faithful from emulating the suffering of Christ and taking a painful route to penitence. PP03040053 REUTERS/Erik de Castro PP04020117 EDC/CC
Men dressed as Romans (bottom C-in red) adjust the cross holding carpenter Ruben Enaje (L), 55, after he was nailed to it as part of his penitence during the reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during Good Friday celebrations ahead of Easter at the village of Cutud near San Fernando, Pampanga province, north of Manila on March 25, 2016. Christian devotees were nailed to crosses in the Philippines on March 25 as Asia's Catholic heartland marked Easter with an extreme display of faith. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje reacts while being nailed on the cross during the observance of the Good Friday in Cutud, Pampanga, north of Manila. Although this ritual has been discouraged by the Catholic church, many local and foreign tourists still flock the province of Pampanga to see the passion play and the actual nailing of the penitents. (Photo by John Jerome E. Ganzon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: Ruben Enaje, a Filipino penitent, hits the ground as he portrays Jesus Christ for the annual Via Crucis, Way of the Cross during the observance of the Good Friday in Cutud, Pampanga, north of Manila. Although this ritual has been discouraged by the Catholic church, many local and foreign tourists still flock the province of Pampanga to see the passion play and the actual nailing of the penitents. (Photo by John Jerome E. Ganzon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: Ruben Enaje, a Filipino penitent, carries a wooden cross as he portrays Jesus Christ for the annual Via Crucis, Way of the Cross during the observance of the Good Friday in Cutud, Pampanga, north of Manila. Although this ritual has been discouraged by the Catholic church, many local and foreign tourists still flock the province of Pampanga to see the passion play and the actual nailing of the penitents. (Photo by John Jerome E. Ganzon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A man dressed as a Roman soldier is removing the nail from the hand of Ruben Enaje, a penitent for 29 years during the observance of the Good Friday in Cutud, Pampanga, north of Manila. Although this ritual has been discouraged by the Catholic church, many local and foreign tourists still flock the province of Pampanga to see the passion play and the actual nailing of the penitents. (Photo by John Jerome E. Ganzon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - 2015/04/03: Ruben Enaje, 55 is taken down the cross after the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Cutud, Pampanga on Good Friday. Although strongly discouraged by the Catholic church, the annual tradition continues to draw hundreds of participants and tourists. (Photo by Mark Fredesjed R. Cristino/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
CUTUD, SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - 2015/04/03: A man playing a centurion removes the nail on Ruben Enaje's left hand during the Good Friday Crucifixion rites in Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga. (Photo by J Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Philippine Christian devotee Ruben Enaje (C), grimaces in pain as he is nailed to the Cross by men dressed as Roman soldiers during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando City, Pampanga province, north of Manila on March 29, 2013. Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross March 29, in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
CUTUD, SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES - 2015/04/03: Thirty year crucifixion veteran, Ruben Enaje is nailed to the cross at the Cutud cricifixion site in San Fernando, Pampanga during the Good Friday Crucifixion rites. (Photo by J Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Penintent Ruben Enaje (C) along with two others are nailed to the cross during the the reenactment of crucifixion on Good Friday in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City, north of Manila on April 6, 2012. Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross April 6, in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Men dressed as Roman soldiers carries Philippine Christian devotee Ruben Enaje (C), after he was nailed to a cross during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando City, Pampanga province, north of Manila on March 29, 2013. Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross March 29, in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Philippine Roman Catholic devotee, Ruben Enaje, is nailed to the cross by another Filippino in Roman-style military dress for the 24th consecutive year in a re-enactment of the Crucifixion of Christ in the village of San Pedro Cutud, north of Manila April 2, 2010 as Asia's bastion of Catholicism marked Good Friday. The extreme act of penitence is among the Roman Catholic world's most bizarre practices to mark the day when Christians believe Jesus Christ was put to death 2,000 years ago. AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Enaje said he felt strong enough to perform in two or three more crucifixions, until he turns 60.

Enaje was among three devotees nailed to wooden crosses in the village on Friday, including a woman taking part for the seventh time.

Actors wearing Roman soldier costumes attached the devotees to crosses by hammering two-inch nails soaked in alcohol through their hands and feet and hoisted them up in a field packed with domestic and foreign tourists.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines tolerates the ritual but says it does not support such gory displays of devotion, describing them as a "misinterpretation of faith."

Many Catholics in the Philippines perform religious acts of penance during the Holy Week at Easter as a form of worship and supplication.

Some believe penance cleanses sins, cures illnesses and even leads to wishes coming true. (Reporting by Ronn Bautista Writing by Enrico dela Cruz Editing by Robert Birsel)

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