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“Hayan na ang mga Hampas-dugo! (the Penitents are coming!)”: Penitensya as Religious-Dark Tourism

Wight, Craig; Victoria, Mabel



This paper applies indigenous research methods to understand the motives of visitors attending Penitensya (a Lenten Filipino ritual involving violent ritualistic performances) which we introduce as a novel form of religious-dark tourism. The paper also examines the tourism product potential of Penitensya as a controversial, yet potentially valuable feature of Filipino public culture. The motives of visitors to the Penitensya ritual in the Philippines during the 2019 schedule of events are examined to understand the touristic appeal of this unique form of religious-dark pilgrimage which involves overt and abject rituals of mortification and self-harm. Analysis suggests that the motives for attending Penitensya resonate with the motives of visitors to dark tourism attractions, and these include the allure of a novel cultural experience, knowledge-seeking and rubbernecking. The findings suggest that Penitensya might have unrealised potential as a legitimate form of intangible Filipino cultural heritage, but in order to legitimate the event as part of the nation’s cultural tourism product mix it must be carefully curated and marketed, and must be embraced by local authorities and the wider community.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 30, 2021
Publication Date 2022-03
Deposit Date Nov 23, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2021
Journal Tourist Studies
Print ISSN 1468-7976
Electronic ISSN 1741-3206
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Pages 89-113
Keywords Penitensya, Dark Tourism, Visitor Motivations, Filipino Culture, Religious Tourism
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