*Warning! This post contains disturbing and drastic photos. Watch on your own responsibility!
We forgot this is Easter time and we may have problems finding accommodation. In fact it is even worse than Coron. Simple there is nothing available, nothing, zero. I checked all resorts,hotels, hostels, guesthouses and everything is booked. Every single room. We change our plans and go to Angeles, north of Manila in order to go to Santa Juliana, close to Mount Pinatubo volcano. The village is near a military base and mobile network is jammed. No internet exactly when we need it the most so that the boys can do their exams. Wojtek hates himself for this but I think we will sort it out somehow. I believe whatever happens in our life, happens for a reason and I have a feeling this place will be great.
In Santa Juliana we found a lovely guesthouse, nice and friendly hosts and interesting guests, thanks to whom we spent our evenings hearing fantastic stories. And to top it up it turns out Easter is a very special time in this area of the Philippines. Every day until the Good Friday local men walk in processions through villages, whipping themselves or carrying huge wooden crosses. On Good Friday they crucify themselves – here just by being tied to the cross, although I heard there are tough guys who prefer real nails. I had National Geographic-like images of this in my head and now – hear you are, live and in color. The men usually cover their faces and have thorn crowns made of flowers on their heads, ropes on hands and legs. I almost faint at the sight of the first bleeding back and I am unable to comprehend how it is possible that this young man walks and whips himself, fresh blood leaks from his back and he just keeps walking and whipping in the heat of the day.
They walk like this for few hours every day but when they pass our guesthouse one more time, to my own surprise I find out I got used to this view. It is also no longer surprising that half of the village watches this, women, small children, their smartphones. I still do not know why people do this but for sure this showcase of human strength, will and endurance is stunning.
We spent Easter climbing Mt Pinatubo. The volcano is still active, last eruption in 1991 and probably it was the second biggest in XX century. The views are spectacular and the climb is in fact an easy stroll similar to the walk in Dolina Koscieliska (Tatra mountains in Poland). The only difference is the sight of military troops with guns on every stop. Even for a moment one cannot forget there is a military base nearby.