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How to attend the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival

Cutud Lenten Rites

As well as putting a whole new meaning to “getting nailed in the Philippines”, the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival is also one of the most hyped and media attended religious ceremonies on earth. Aside from the hype though, how good is it and how do you attend this legendary Pampanga festival?

Well the overall good news is that not only is it (relatively) easy to attend, but while still pretty weird, also interesting enough to warrant the time and expense.

What the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival?

Started around 20 years ago it was originally at least just a run of the mill reenactment of the Passion of The Christ to celebrate Good Friday and Easter.

Then one bloke decided that he wanted to take penitence to the next level and started nailing himself to the cross. Word spread and the media and tourism guys duly got involved. So, now while there are reenactments and enough people getting nailed that the government issue a “safe crucifixion” San Fernando and Cutud are still the big kahunas.

Address of the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival;

San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites Festival, San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines

What was the Cutud Lenten Rites 2024 like?

As always there was much fanfare with us having to leave Manila, Ermita and the Lotus Garden Hotel at 5.30 am from where we traveled the few hours to the small town of Cutud in San Fernando.

In total there were 30 of us as part of the tour, with this being the largest group YPT have yet taken to the event, with 10 of them being part of the Extreme Philippines leg.

As always we had our permits and press passes arranged meaning that our group were either comfortably in the VIP area, or hanging out with high grade media from the BBC, CNN and beyond. Of course this also included Pioneer Media.

As always it was very much like a country fete with there being stalls selling street food, Jesus t-shirts and this year at least whips for those who wanted to whip themselves into a bloody frenzy.

Again as per usual we had to wait a few hours for it to begin, but this year said wait came with an extra surprise. Just as the actors were getting to the “stage” clouds filled the air with a sense of forboding only for magic to follow. As if scripted the wind started to rip through the crowd almost knocking over the VIP covers as the heavens opened. And this happened with such perfect timing as the passion was being reenacted that many genuinely felt as if it was divine intervention.

I personally viewed it with a little more nuance, after all this was the 8th time I had come here, but this was the first time the Good Lord had DJ’d the weather for us.

How do you get a ticket for there Cutud Lenten Rites and is it worth it?

Getting a ticket for this is much harder than most people realize, particularly those who contact YPT, but then come by themselves. Go here without a ticket and you will most likely end up with the locals in what is not only a slightly cramped, but also hot and wet location.

Therefore either use an agent like Young Pioneer Tours, or make the effort of visiting the offices in San Fernando way before the actual event.

And is the Cutud Lenten Rites Festival worth it? Frankly whether you are religious, or not coming to see the absolute devotion of the people here is truly an amazing thing. It should also be noted from the Woke arena that were this about any other religion other than Catholicism and Christianity people would arguably give it more respect.

Regardless, the Street Food Guy will be back for the 2025 Cutud Lenten Rites Festival.