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Bohol Tour » Blood Compact Site and Monument, A Bit of Philippine History on Our Leisure Trip

The lazy morning at Tagbilaran was over and we immediately go to our first stop, the Blood Compact site and monument, a particular site made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol.

What to expect in the Blood Compact Site

There was nothing there except for some statues overlooking a wonderful view of the sea on the side of the highway. But like many landmarks and statues, there are bits of Philippine history there. I’m not a history buff but sometimes it is nice to know some facts about the places we’ve been – it makes the trip more meaningful.

The blood compact site is in front of a public school of Baranggay Bool in Tagbilaran City along the highway, where a montage of figures - a monument to the site where Datu Sikatuna, the native Chieftain inflicted a flesh wound on himself and let his blood flow into the same flesh wound on the arm of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who was representing the King of Spain.
Group camwhoring at the monument
All you can do there is have a quick picture taking – I mean quick - because there are other visitors lining up to take pictures. 
Can I have a drink too?
We are thinking of doing some crazy pictures with the statues but lots of other tourists are waiting their turn so we just took pictures of the nice overlooking view of the sea at the back of the blood compact site.

Vendors at the gate of the  Blood Compact Site
This is also the place where you can buy cheap keepsakes (tarsier keychains, wallets, pearls, etc.) and other anik-anik to bring home. Other locations offer same items but on a very high tourist price, so you better do your bargaining here.         

A nice touch of history on our leisure trip 

Here’s a bit of my research:

This historical event [blood compact], which happened on March 16, 1565, is considered as the first Treaty of Friendship between the two races. This blood compact, an ancient method of sealing brotherhood and friendship, was considered as the first international treaty concluded between a foreign leader and a Filipino chieftain in Philippine history.

In his report to Philip II, Legazpi described the ceremony of the blood compact in the following words:
"It is observed in the following manner: one from each party draws two or three drops of blood from his own arm or breast and mixes them in the same cup, with water or wine. Then the mixture must be divided equally between two cups, and neither person may depart until both cups are alike drained."
The Blood Compact (El Pacto de Sangre), famous painting by Juan Luna
In honor of this Blood Compact ceremony, the former President of the Philippines Elpidio Quirino established the Order of Sikatuna, a presidential decoration conferred upon politicians. Nowadays, the Order of Sikatuna is also a diplomatic merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines. Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao was conferred this award last year. I suggest they develop this blood compact site and include a room where tourist can see Filipinos who are declared as Datu. 

Notes on the Raha Katuna discrepancy. After concluding a peace agreement with leaders of Samar and nearby islands, Legazpi proceeded to Bohol, an island near Cebu. There, he befriended the local chieftains – Katuna (Sikatuna, in Spanish Records) and Gala (Sigala in Spanish documents. The discrepancy lies in the fact that the Spanish chroniclers thought that the Filipino article “Si” was part of the names of these local chieftains.

The Sandugo Festival in honor of the Blood Compact

Re-enactment of the Blood Compact between Sikatuna and Legazpi
Sandugo Festival is Boholano’s very own festival which is a commemoration of this historical event that had transpired in Tagbilaran City, the very heart of Bohol. The festival showcase the re-enactment of the blood compact between Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish king conquistador Captain General Miguel de Legazpi. The festivity commences in the month of March each year. Boholanos that are overseas usually come home and gather together to take part in this event.

Wrong place for the Monument?

View at back of the monument
But wait, the actual site was recently challenged by the nearby fifth-class municipality of Loay, which has the kind of deep-water harbor that could accommodate Legaspi's fleet. Coastal Tagbilaran back then was supposedly little more than a mangrove swamp. After an investigation by a panel of experts convened by the National Historical Institute, Loay (on the shores of Hinawanan Bay, Barangay Villalimpia) was declared the official site of the Legazpi-Sikatuna "Sandugo".
Yodz Note

A quick stop to this monument serves as a quick refresher of my elementary history class. Some find it boring but it’s a nice touch on our Bohol tour.   

On my next blog post, I’ll feature the amazing old churches of Bohol that we visited.
Till then folks!

More of our Bohol Tour on these series of posts

References [Retrieved 27 September 2010] by yodz
» Bohol Blood Compact Site
» The Sandugo (Blood Compact) Wikipedia Article
» Zaide, Gregorio F. 1949. “The LEGAZPI-KATUNA Blood Compact – 1565”  Philippine Political and Cultural History Vol. 1
» Blood Compact Marker at the Blood Compact Shrine, Bool District, Tagbilaran City
» SANDUGO FESTIVAL – treaty of friendship as manifested in a blood compact
» Best of Cebu and Bohol – Interesting places to go in Bohol – Blood Compact Site PDP Digital Inc., 2002 Cebu City.
» Duka, Cecilo D. 2008. “Legazpi and Raha Katuna – Blood Compact” Struggle for Freedom, A textbook in Philippine History. Manila:Rex Bookstore Inc. 
» Arroyo confers Order of Sikatuna to boxing champ Pacquiao –
» Severino, Howie “Much Ado About An Old Blood Compact”
» Loay vows grander celebration of Blood Compact’s 444th year – Bohol News Daily
[edit: links removed due to link farming Google policy]

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