The Blood compact or Sanduguan in Filipino, was an ancient ritual which became a historic landmark. See why…
The Blood Compact
In 1565, Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and the then chieftain of Bohol Datu Sikatuna, came together to perform the Sanduguan. Blood was drawn for cuts on the arms of both men. This blood was then placed in two cups of wine which were exchanged and drank. Each man consuming the blood of the other. This marked a bond between them and a treaty of Friendship and respect was formed.
The Blood Compact of 1565 is thought of as being the first international treaty of friendship between Filipinos and Spaniards. Later, this treaty lead to the Philippines becoming a colony of Spain.
Sanduguan The Blood Compact Site Bohol Review
What to expect at the Blood Compact Shrine
To be honest, if I didn’t know the history and significance of the shrine it would be so easy to overlook it. From the road it doesn’t real stand out as unless there are groups of people huddled around it taking selfies. The Blood Compact Shrine is nothing more than some statues overlooking a wonderful view of the sea on the side of the highway. There is a plaque and a bit of the history there for those wanting to read it but other than that… nothing.
With that said, once you know the history, you realize the significance of the site when you stand in front of it. Picturing what happened hundreds of years ago is hard, but standing on the site before this monument can take you go back in time, allowing you to witness a snippet of how things happened.
The story behind the Blood Compact
In 1564, the Spaniard Legazpi was ordered to set off on an expedition to establish colonies and search for valuable spices. After sailing for just under a year, they finally reached the Philippines, landing on the island of Cibabao (Samar).
They decided not to stay there and before too long sailed south towards Mindanao. Nature was not on their side and they were forced to turn back to the Visayas landing on the shores of Bohol. Luck was on their side… but unfortunately it was only bad luck… the Boholanos mistook them as Portuguese and attacked thinking the Spaniards had come to plunder and kill.
Legazpi Malay helper was able to explain to Datu Sikatuna of Bohol and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they were not Spanish and had actually come to offer peace… and the rest is history… The Sandugo or “one blood” was performed and the bond was made.
I can see why they chose that particular site for the Sandugo.. The view is beautiful and calming..
He wasn’t the first
44 years earlier In 1521, another explorer became the first European to set foot on the Philippine Islands. His story didn’t have quite the same ending….
Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu and soon after became friends with the local leader. Apparently, one day this leader was able to convince Magellan to kill their enemy, Lapu-Lapu.
Magellan, being completely over-confident with his superiority gathered together a 49 man attack force equipped with firearms and set off to deal with Lapu-Lapu. After all, these natives only had rocks and spears and he had firearms and gunpowder… what did he have to fear?
When Magellan stormed the island he was met by Lapu-Lapu and 1500 of he finest warriors. From all accounts, I don’t think Lapu-Lapu was very impressed, killing Magellan and several of his men.
The Blood Compact site has immortalized the moment in bronze at the Sandugo Shrine. This is conveniently found in front of the public school of Barangay Bool in Tagbilaran City along the highway of East Road. You can find it right beside Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel.
This is a yearly historical event that takes place every year on the month of March, in the island of Bohol. This festival honors the celebration of a local Philippine leader Datu Sikatuna’s blood compact and association or treaty of friendship with the Spanish king conquistador, Captain General Miguel López de Legazpi in March 16, 1565.
Hundreds and thousands of People from around the Philippines and the world gather for this special event which involves colorful costumes and loud drum beats, street parades, church services, fireworks, beauty pageants, cockfighting tournaments and sport tournaments.
Today, the highlight of the Sandugo Festival is a street dancing competition held in Tagbilaran City. Each local high school develops its own dance custom with special costumes and choreography. A small marching band follows each group of dancers to provide the music. The bands consist only of xylophones, drums, and trumpets. Some of the dancing was very good, and the costumes were very colorful.
A big surprise to us was the last parade entry, which was a large flat bed truck carrying 9 or 10 very flamboyant and attractive transvestites. There were no banners on the truck, just a few white balloons attached to the cab and printed, “Miss Gay 2001”.
This entry was a real crowd pleaser and received more of a reaction than any other parade event. They were met with howls and hollers and cheers all along the parade route. We were told that the transvestites traditionally work as beauticians in the local beauty parlors, and are readily accepted in the community.
The Blood Compact Site Has Been Challenged
The actual site was recently challenged by the nearby fifth-class municipality of Loay, which has the kind of deep-water harbor that could accommodate Legaspi’s fleet. Coastal Tagbilaran back then was supposedly little more than a mangrove swamp.