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The sandugo was the historic blood compact between Bohol chief Datu Sikatuna and Spanish colonial official and consquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi which they performed on the southwest coast of Bohol Island on 15 March 1565. The two were believed to have cut their left arms with a dagger and then collected a few drops of blood from the cuts, mixed them with wine and drank the mixture. This symbolized their sealing of their friendship and establishing of amicable bonds between their parties.

The word "sandugo" means "one blood" in the Visayan language. The blood compact between Sikatuna and Legazpi is depicted in the 1883 Juan Luna painting El Pacto de Sangre.


More than 40 years after Ferdinand Magellan's death, Spain sent out expeditions to the Far East to establish colonies and pick up a lucrative spice trade, but these expeditions failed. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s expedition a year later was more successful. 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 thath was friendlier. He and his companions went off to sail south, in the direction of Mindanao, but due to the winds, his ship was forced to take the route back to the Visayas. He then landed on the shores of Bohol. He was given a hostile welcome 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 this resulted in the historic 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 event, which involves beauty pageants, street parades, fireworks and various other activities. At present, the highlight of the Sandugo Festival is the street dancing competition held in Tagbilaran City, where local high schools compete in special costumes.




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