SAN FERNANDO, Philippines (AP) _ Seven penitents in a northern Philippine village have agreed to be nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday, a gruesome ritual that draws large crowds of tourists every year.

More people are expected to sign up to have four-inch nails driven into their hands _ and in some cases feet as well _ in a reenactment of Jesus Christ's sufferings, Zoilo Castro, an official in the city of San Pedro Cutud said Sunday.

Last year, men dressed as Roman soldiers nailed 14 men and a woman to crosses on a hill in the village.

The ritual has continued for more than 40 years in Asia's only predominately Roman Catholic nation. The grimacing penitents usually stay on the cross for a few minutes before being helped down.

Wenceslao Aquino, a 43-year-old truck driver, said he will be crucified this year for the sixth time in his life.

``I have been doing this vow not for my family but for my fellow men, most of whom have forgotten Jesus in their lives,'' said Aquino, who will be nailed to a cross in Karuhatan village, near Manila.

The Roman Catholic Church officially frowns on the ritual, but the event is so popular that the church makes little effort to discourage it.

Foreigners were banned from participating in the crucifixions starting in 1997 after local officials learned that a Japanese man nailed to a cross the previous year was actually an actor being secretly filmed for a scene in a Japanese pornographic video.