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Blood Compact Site
Province:  Bohol
09° 37.650N   123° 52.755E
Listed in Gallery:   Historical Site

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The Blood compact of Legazpi and Sikatuna

More than forty years after Magellan's death, in 1564, Spain sent out four expeditions to establish colonies in the Far East, and to pick up a share of the lucrative spice trade under control of the Portuguese. These expeditions failed, but in the next year, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was more successful. Sailing westwards from Mexico with four ships and almost four hundred men, he reached the Philippines in the beginning of 1565, and established a Spanish settlement. This wasn't an easy achievement. Just like Magellan before him, Legazpi met with hostile native warriors, who didn't like the idea of foreigers invading their islands. His attempt to land on the island of Cebu was twarted, and he decided to look for a friendlier place. He lifted his anchor and headed south in the direction of Mindanao. A change of wind, however, forced his fleet back to north in the direction of Bohol. With the help of a Mohammedan Malay pilot from a captured trading ship from Borneo, he learned that the Filipinos were involved in trade with the Moluccas, Borneo, Java, Malacca, and even far away places such as India and China.
Also at Bohol, Legazpi was given a hostile welcome. From his Malay pilot, he learned that this hostility was due to maurading expeditions of the Portuguese. Coming from the Moluccas, the Portuguese raiders traversed the Visayan seas, and just a few years before, in 1563, had plundered Bohol and killed or enslaved about one thousand of its inhabitants. Of course, the Boholano's easily mistook the Spaniards for Portuguese. Again with the help of his pilot, Legazpi explained two chiefs of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna of Bool and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they were not Portuguese, and had come in peace, and not to plunder or kill. This convinced the Kings to end their hostility and enter pact of friendship. On 16 March 1565 (or 25 March, records are confused due to the Georgian calender reform in 1584), Legazpi and Sikatuna performed the now famous blood compact, probably not far from the modern town of Loay. This event is still celebrated in Bohol every year in June with the Sandugo ("One Blood") festival. The same ceremony was repeated three days later with Sigala.

The month-long Sandugo Festival every July is punctuated by balls and dances, beauty pageants, fairs, sports events, and the reenactment of the blood compact to signify the friendship formed between the Boholanos and the Spaniards.

Waypoint narrative by: paulperez 2005     follow paulperez on Facebook