Blood Compact Site | Bohol

The island of Bohol is the site of another historical event known as "Sandugo" or the blood compact between then ruler and chieftain of the island, Datu Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi held on March 16, 1565. History have told us that the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines was anything but smooth sailing. We all knew how Ferdinand Magellan fell to the courageous men of Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island. Since then, succeeding expeditions sent by the kingdom of Spain to the Far East and eventually The Philippines met hostile resistance and was unable to convince local rulers that they had come in peace — but with intent of colonization.

Regene Ong

Part of the hostility towards the foreign visitors may have sprung from an earlier Portuguese expedition in 1563 that resulted into the enslavement and killing of many Filipinos in the islands of Cebu and Bohol. The turning point happened when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi was able to convince Bohol chieftain, Datu Sikatuna that they were  unlike the Portuguese. He was able to convince Sikatuna that they came in peace with the intent of establishing trading routes to expand the spice trade between Spain and new territories like the Philippines.

Regene Ong

The agreement resulted into a blood compact between the two leaders. At that time, such ceremonial practice is the traditional act of sealing partnership. This historical event has since been celebrated every year in Bohol in what is known as the "Sandugo Festival" with the word "Sandugo" meaning in Visaya as "one blood".

The event was described in an inscription near the monument which reads...

"About the middle of March 1565, the fleet of Captain General Miguel López de Legazpi anchored along these shores. In the course of this visit, López de Legazpi entered into a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna for the purpose of insuring friendly relations between the Spaniards and Filipinos."

The process involves cutting the left arm with a knife or any pointed weapon and letting the blood to drip to a cup filled halfway with wine. After which, the involved parties will drink it to formalize their new found friendship.

Christian Sangoyo with Mark Estur and Elal Jane Lasola

The monument is found on the side of the highway, along the lines of nearby houses. One might miss it at first passing since the monument stands on the edge of a cliff. Beside the landmark, one can enjoy a  full view of the sea. Standing there, I briefly imagined the sight of Spanish and Portuguese ships docking on the white sandy beaches of Bohol, only to be repelled by Filipino natives. Battles like that happened until Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna ended the conflict by virtue of their blood compact ceremony.

After the blood compact, started the Spanish colonial history of Bohol as more Spanish missions arrived and converted the major part of the Visayas into Christianity.

Ron Cruz and Gay Mitra

I was really glad to just visit this monument and at the same time wonder what if, instead of drinking wine mixed with their blood, Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi laid it all in the line and tried to kill each other.