El Pacto De Sangre

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El Pacto De Sangre (translation: The Blood Compact) is a painting by Juan Luna y Novicio, one of the Philippines’ most notable painters during the Spanish Colonial Period.[1]

This painting in oil on canvas was made in 1885 in Luna’s Paris studio. It measures approximately 200cm x 300cm and belongs to the Malacañang Palace Collection.[1] It hangs at the top of the Grand Staircase in the landing leading to the Reception Hall.[2]


Employing the same pictorial skills he used in another of his landmark works, Spoliarium, Luna captured in El Pacto De Sangre the blood compact on 16 March 1565 between Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi.[1]

Depicted in the painting are the details of the blood compact as the establishment of allegiance by Datu Sikatuna to the king of Spain.

The native ruler and the Spaniard are shown cutting their left arms with a dagger and pouring their blood into a cup filled with palm wine, which they both drink in honor of their friendship.

History and context

El Pacto De Sangre is one of the paintings Juan Luna gifted to the Ayuntamiento of Manila (Government of Manila) in return for the scholarship valued P600 annually he received for his studies in Madrid.[1]

As the ilustrados (educated native elite) moved in mostly similar cirlces, many of them knew each other. According to historians, Luna’s models for the figures in the painting were his peers - Jose Rizal served as the model for Sikatuna and a relative posed for another character.[2]

Historians initially thought that Luna's brother-in-law Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera was the model for Legazpi. However, a discovery by Tavera's great grandson Alexander Loinaz indicates that he was the basis for a lesser character in the painting. The fourth person from the right of the painting was dressed exactly as Tavera was in a photograph dated 1886.[2]

The painting was one of the 21 artworks by Luna exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, 1st ed.Philippines: CCP Publications Office, 1994.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Juan Luna’s El Pacto de Sangre (The Blood Compact), 1886. Tumblr: Presidential Museum and Library, 2016. Accessed on 6 May 2021.
  3. Fermin, Jose. 1904 World’s Fair: The Filipino Experience. Philippines: University of the Philippines Press, 2004.



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