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Pictured: Thousands watch live crucifixions in Philippines

Worshippers have gathered in the Philippines to witness devotees nailed to crosses as they mark Good Friday by re-enacting Jesus Christ's suffering.

The annual rites continue even after Roman Catholic church leaders have discouraged the practice.

Nine men were crucified for a few minutes in Pampanga province's San Pedro Cutud village, while at least eight others were crucified in neighbouring villages.

Many take part to atone for sins, pray for the sick or for a better life, or to give thanks for what they believe were miracles.

Today's crucifixion was the 26th for Ruben Enaje, a 51-year-old sign painter.

He began his yearly rite after surviving a fall from a building.

The spectacle is a unique brand of Catholicism that merges church traditions with Philippine folk superstitions.

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