PAOMBONG, Bulacan—An epileptic mute faith healer led five others that includes two women in the reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ here, while hundreds others flagellate themselves in observance of the Holy Week.
This came as the Catholic Church discourage such acts, while some groups are looking forward to promoting it as a tourism attraction.
Crisanto Bautista, a 54-year old mute faith healer who suffers from episodes of epilepsy was the first to do the reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion on the morning of Maundy Thursday at the Sto. Cristo Chapel yard at Barangay Kapitangan here.
A resident of Barangay Mercado in the coastal town of Hagonoy, Bautista came with his family and friends who interpreted his message during the interview.
During the interview, PromdiNews learned that Bautista loss his ability to speak 16 years ago.
He even tried to write his answer on the wall by writing with his fingers.
Aileen, the younger sister of Bautista said that her brother suffered from episodes of epilepsy and was even comatose for three days when he was younger.
“Tatlong araw siyang patay, nung magising ay hindi na siya makapagsalita,” Aileen said and added that it was also then when his brother started as faith healer.
Despite his fragile physical condition, Bautista was nailed on the cross under scorching heat. It was his 16th year in a row.
Rowena Enriquez, 34, a friend and assistant, said Bautista’s physical appearance did not deter him from reenacting crucifixion twice a year.
She said that Bautista used to reenact crucifixion at the old Santisima Trinidad Church in Malolos City and in other places in the province.
This year, Bautista performed the reenactment at Barangay Kapitangan here on Maundy Thursday and in Malolos City on Good Friday.
He was followed by a still unidentified devotee who was also crucified on Maundy Thursday at Barangay Sto. Rosario here.
On Good Friday, Precy Valencia and Michael Katigbak performed the reenactment once again along with Evangeline Mendoza and Junjun Tanael.
All four are resident of this town and some claims, are following the footsteps of Amparo Santos, a faith healer from Guiguinto town who used to do the reenactment of crucifixion here in the late 80s and early 90s.
In other parts of the province, hundreds of devotees who are either carried a cross or flagellate their bloddied backs filled the streets of Bulacan on Good Friday.
The flagellants then braved the murky waters of local rivers in the belief that saline water on the rivers will heal their wounds faster.
Some like Nestor Celso and his nephew Joel Martin swam on the Hagonoy river after flagellating themselves.
The above acts were discouraged by the Church and even by the Department of Health, but Celso said they have been doing it for about three decades.
As this developed, the Bulacan Tourism Convention and Visitors Board (BTCVB) in coordination with the Tourism Committee of the Paombong Municipal Council is preparing a tourism master plan for Paombong.
The plan sources said is designed to improve tourism management in here noting that it is the only place in the province that draws about 100,000 visitors every year without a promotional plan. Dino Balabo