Thousands of boys undergo painful circumcision procedure in ancient Philippine ritual


THOUSANDS of boys are painfully circumcised during ‘circumcision season’ in the Philippines.

Youngsters can be heard howling in pain as the procedures are undertaken in huge numbers.

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Boys as young as eight are ‘operated’ on as part of an age old Philippine ritual[/caption]

Boys can be seen on newspaper covered tables as they have their foreskins removed as part of a centuries-old ritual.

Lads as young as eight can be seen writhing in pain as they undergo the procedure – often at government sponsored clinics.


Many organisations around the world have called for the halting of the circumcision of minors – a practice some believe to be ‘child abuse’.

The Philippines has one of the highest rates of circumcision in the world and boys are often put under extreme pressure to have the procedure done.

‘Circumcision season’ is typically recognised between April-May each year and most of the ‘patients’ are only given local anaesthetic to deal with the pain.

After a particularly harrowing session, 11-year-old Vladimir Vincent Arbon told AFP: “I was shouting the whole time because it hurt so bad.

“My mum told me that I needed to get circumcised so I would grow taller and become a real man.”

Vladimir was one of 1,500 boys who underwent the procedure in a city near Manila and the questionable practice is repeated at clinics and schools nationwide.

Joana Nobleza – mother of 11-year-old Carlos – is an advocate of the ritual and said: “To get circumcised is probably the essence of being a man… for boys, circumcision is necessary to be called a man.”

Clearly a 10-year-old or an eight-year-old can’t do that and so… it’s basically child abuse

John Geisheker a spokesperson for US-based advocacy group Doctors Opposing Circumcision

Antibiotics are often handed out to protect against infection in the schools, clinics and sports complexes the ‘operations’ take place.

According to the World Health Organization around 90 per cent of males are circumcised for non-religious reasons in the Asian country.

There is even a term for someone who is not circumcised which if used, is similar to being called a coward.

Professor Romeo Lee of De La Salle Univeristy said the term ‘supot’ suggests someone is a coward for lacking the courage to withstand the pain and anxiety commonly experienced before and during the procedure.


Most circumcisions worldwide are undertaken for religious reasons but the practice has come under scrutiny in recent times given the subjects’ typically young age when they have the procedure done.

John Geisheker a spokesperson for US-based advocacy group Doctors Opposing Circumcision said: “I would assume 18 or 19-year-olds would have the wherewithal to do some research… and consent only after much thought.

“But clearly a 10-year-old or an eight-year-old can’t do that and so… it’s basically child abuse.”

However, anthropologist Nestor Castro highlighted the importance of the widespread procedure in Philippine culture.

Of the surgery that can cost from $40-$240, he said: “A circumcised lad is no longer treated as a young boy and is now given more adult roles within family and society.

“A rite-of-passage is usually done collectively.

“There is always a group of boys who grow up together, enter school, and get circumcised at the same time.”

Evidence suggests youngsters are clearly brainwashed by their parents.

And this manufactured mindset was especially evident in the account of 12-year-old Erwin Cyrus Elecanal who – protecting his recently amended manhood, said: “Going through the test of circumcision has made me a full-fledged adolescent.

“I will be more mature now and be helpful to my family.”

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A young lad checks out his manhood after his procedure[/caption]

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Many young boys are accompanied by their mothers[/caption]

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The lads are taught the removal of their foreskin makes them a real man[/caption]

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Schools and sports complexes are used as kids are laid on tables for their procedures[/caption]

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This young lad holds his shorts away from his tender region after an operation[/caption]

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Many can be heard howling in pain as their foreskin is removed[/caption]

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Circumcisions occur en masse between April and May[/caption]

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Boys from poorer families often have to endure the $40 procedure having only been given local anaesthetic[/caption]


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