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The Sandugo was the blood compact made between Bohol chief Si Katuna and Spanish leader Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Bohol on 15 March 1565. This was performed on the southwest coast of Bohol Island. The two were believed to have cut their left arms with a dagger and then collected a few drop of blood from their arms and mixed them with wine and drank them. This was done in order to seal their friendship and establish amicable bonds between the two parties.

The word "sandugo" means "one blood" in Boholano dialect. The event that took place over four hundred years ago is depicted in the famous painting by Juan Luna entitled El Pacto de Sangre in 1883.


More than forty years after Magellan's death, Spain sent out expeditions to the Far East to establish colonies and to pick up a lucrative spice trade but these expeditions failed. A year after, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was more successful in his expedition. He reached the Philippines in 1565 and established a Spanish settlement. He first attempted to land on the island of Cebu but was afraid of the native warriors and decided to settle somewhere else which was friendlier. He and his companions went off to sail south, to the direction of Mindanao, but due to the winds, his ship was forced to take the route back to Visayas. He then landed on the shores of Bohol. He was also given a hostile welcome in the place due to the plundering expeditions of the Portuguese. With the help of his Malay pilot, Legazpi was able to explain to Datu Sikatuna of Bohol and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they were not Portuguese and that they had come in peace. He was able to convince the leaders and then resulted to the now famous blood compact.

The pact made between Filipinos and Spanish at that time is celebrated and commemorated up to present times in what is now called the Sandugo Festival.

Sandugo Festival

The Bohol Sandugo Festival or the Blood Compact Commemoration is an annual celebration that begins in the month of March. Hundreds of people from all around the Philippines and the world gather for this even which involves beauty pageants, street parades, fireworks and various activities as part of the celebration. At present, the highlight of the Sandugo Festival is the street dancing competition held in Tagbilaran City where local high schools develop their own dance with special costumes and choreography.




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