• Penitents hang on wooden crosses during the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando, Pampanga in northern Philippines April 18, 2014. Nearly 20 Filipinos and a Danish filmmaker were nailed to crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday, a practice the Roman Catholic Church frowns upon as a distortion of the Easter message.Reuters File
  • A boy looks at the palm of a penitent nailed on a wooden cross during a reenactment of Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday in Barangay Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga in northern Philippines April 6, 2012Reuters File
  • Penitent Danilo Ramos grimaces in pain as he is nailed to a wooden cross during the reenactment of the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando, Pampanga in northern Philippines April 18, 2014. Penitents are nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday which is the most extreme display of religious devotion in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.Reuters File

Several villages in Philippines have banned "foreign tourists" from participating in the annual crucifixion rites ahead of Easter, saying it is not a "circus".

Every year on Good Friday, dozens of devout Catholics in Philippines participate in the realistic depiction of Christ's suffering on the cross. 

In the villages of San Pedro Cutud, Santa Lucia and San Juan, the event draws thousands of visitors.

As part of the local observance of Holy Week, devotees or penitents called magdarame volunteer to be crucified in imitation of Jesus Christ's suffering and death, to seek atonement for their "sins".

Other related practises during Good Friday include carrying wooden crosses, crawling on rough pavement, and self-flagellation. The Roman Catholic Church, however, disapproves of the practise on grounds of it being a fanatical and superstitious expression.

However, over the years, the annual Lenten tradition has become a popular event that attracts many tourists from across the world.

Earlier, the only requirement to participate in the annual crucifixion rites in Philippines was that the person needed to be a Catholic. However, this year only local Filipinos can participate.

Harvey Quiwa, chairperson of the committee in charge of the 2015 Holy Week rites, announced the ban stating that this year all efforts will be made to ensure that the Lenten rites do "not become a circus."

Last year, Danish volunteer Lasse Spang Olsen was allowed to participate after he converted to Catholicism to make a film on the crucifixions of Jesus.

In 2006, Briton Dominik Diamond ended up creating public embarrassment after he backed out at the last minute, seeing the eight-inch-long nails that would be driven into his palms.

Quiwa emphasised that the ban on foreigners was being enforced to prevent people from interpreting that the realistic Passion Play was all about bravado and had nothing to do with spiritualism.