It is not for the bashful or the faint of heart. There is a lot of nudity and ‘BDSM.’ On Friday, the world-famous festival launched its Asian version in the town of Mabalacat, Pampanga, a few miles north of Manila.
Unlike its San Francisco counterpart, the Philippine Folsom Festival was participated in by men only, although women and children were among the spectators.
There was a lot of flagellation, bloodied bodies, piercing, bondage, nailing — but no frontal or full nudity. Men were tied up, and tied down. But, unlike in San Francisco, there was no entrance fee or donation buckets to gain access to the festival.
The Philippines Catholic Church, as expected, frowned on the festival and urged its followers to stick to the traditional, church-sanctioned Holy Week activities and ceremonies.
The Philippine Folsom Festival coincided with Good Friday, the most solemn time in the Catholic Church’s calendar.