In Pictures: Mud people of the Philippines

Each year, a group of Filipino villagers cover themselves with mud and pray to Saint John the Baptist.


Aliaga, Philippines - Taong Putik, or "mud people", is a historically significant festival in the Phillipines, where devotees wear dried banana leaves stuck together by mud, while paying homage to Saint John the Baptist. 

"I was cured from sickness and it is very seldom that I got sick, thanks to Saint John the Baptist," said Ryan Perez, a 38-year-old farmer from the village of Aliaga. Since the area is predominantly Catholic, many people here attribute a lot of what happens in their lives as a part of God's will.

Origins of the festival remain unknown. According to one local legend, Japanese soldiers during World War II were about to execute people in the village. Right when the soldiers lined people up for execution, the Japanese changed their minds in the midst of a downpour. After being spared from capital punishment, the villagers rolled around on the muddy ground in celebration. The residents attributed this to a miracle by St John the Baptist and vowed to pay homage to him on his feast day.