Celebrating the “Treaty of Friendship”


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Jun 26, 2013

The festival is celebrated with streetdancing and mardi gras parade. The dances depict the theme of “friendship among equals and international diplomacy” expressed in the participating group’s traditional culture.

“Sandugo” is a Visayan word which means “one blood”, it is also a combination of Filipino words “isang dugo”.

An inscription on a plaque on the Blood Compact Marker at the Blood Compact Shrine, Bool District, Tagbilaran City, reads:

Blood Compact between Sikatuna and Legaspi

About the middle of March, 1565, Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi’s fleet anchored along this shore. Shortly thereafter, Legaspi, manifesting trust and confidence in the islanders, entered into a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna, for the purpose of insuring friendly relations between the Spaniards and the natives. A few drops of blood drawn from a small incision in the arm of each of the two chiefs were placed in the separate cups containing wine, and in the presence of the followers of both, each chief drank the potion containing the blood of the other. Thus, during this period of colonization, a bond was sealed in accordance with native practice, the first treaty of friendship and alliance between Spaniards and Filipinos.

The Blood Compact Shrine is where you will see the replica of what happened during the “Sandugo” ritual.

The treaty was signed on the southwestern coast of Bohol Island, 44 years after Ferdinand Magellan was killed on Mactan Island.

Traditionally, the Sandugo Festival was celebrated every March but the Bohol Government decided to move it in July in time for vacation in other countries. The Tagbilaran City Charter Day on July 1 kicks-off the month-long festival with a holy mass, diana, motorcade and program sponsored by the City Government of Tagbilaran. Among the major activities during the month is the Miss Bohol Sandugo Beauty Pageant, and the Sandugo Street Dancing Competition which is usually held on the 3rd or 4th Sunday of July, and organized by the Bohol Sandugo Foundation, Inc. (BSFI).

Blood Compact is a memorable event as it encourages friendship not only with Spaniards and Filipinos but with also with other nationalities.

For more information about the Sandugo festival, contact Bohol’s Office of the Provincial Tourism at telephone # (038) 412-3666.

TRIVIA: Juan Luna, a Filipino painter, depicted this event in his painting entitled The Blood Compact (Spanish: El Pacto de Sangre) in 1883. El Pacto de Sangre obtained the first prize in Paris in 1885 and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of St. Louis in 1904.

How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Tagbilaran (estimated cost of Php4200++, round trip, 1 hour 15 minutes). The Blood Compact Shrine is 15-20 minutes away from the port of Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

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