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Historic Blood Compact Heritage Site: A Bohol Unity & Friendship Journey

Blood Compact Heritage Site

Bohol is a province in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines that is known for its natural wonders, beaches, and rich cultural heritage.

One of the must-visit destinations in Bohol is the Blood Compact Heritage Site in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City.

The site commemorates the historic event known as the Sandugo or blood compact, which is considered as the First Treaty of Friendship between two different races, religions, cultures, and civilizations.

Blood Compact Heritage Site

sculpture by Napoleon Abueva

The Blood Compact Heritage Site is a simple yet elegant tribute to the historic event that took place between Legazpi and Sikatuna.

The centerpiece of the site is a sculpture made by the National Artist Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano himself.

The sculpture is placed on an open and raised dais, providing a commanding view of the Bohol Sea and the scenic landscape of the island.

The sculpture depicts five life-sized figures gathered around a table, with Legazpi and Sikatuna at the center, raising their glasses in a toast.

The attention to detail and artistry of Abueva's work is truly remarkable and adds a sense of grandeur to the site.

Blood Compact Heritage Site

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Blood Compact Heritage Site

Art Critique of sandugo Sculpture 

"The Sandugo sculpture is a commemoration and memorial of the compact and fellowship honored by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, symbolizing the first Treaty of Friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos."

The critic acknowledges the craftsmanship of Napoleon Abueva, the renowned sculptor who created the Blood Compact Heritage Site. They comment on the sculpture's massive dimensions, material composition, and enduring nature, which contribute to its timeless appeal.

"The sculpture is massive in dimension and height, designed and constructed as a monument to remind people of such an important part of the country's history."

"The structure, made out of alabaster stone or cement, cast in bronze and welded metal, appears timeless and perennial, standing as a portrayal or reminder of a certain significant event."

The critic also appreciates the strategic placement of the sculpture on an elevated pedestal, allowing viewers to fully experience and understand the historical event the Blood Compact Heritage Site represents.

They emphasize that the Sandugo shrine is not just a center art piece but a commemorative space where people, including tourists, can reflect on and honor a pivotal moment in Philippine history.

"The bronze color may be redeemed or interpreted as superior, expressing a vibe that the monument stands as an important piece of value and importance."

"The Sandugo shrine is meant to be an architectural setting mounted on a high-based pedestal above the ground, ensuring that people nearby, especially tourists, can see and observe every part, side, and dimension of the monument."

"The shrine is not just a center art piece; it is a piece where people come to witness and remember, to commemorate an essential part of our history that changed and affected a huge part of the Philippines and the Filipinos."

Critique Source: jerrymiah101.wordpress.com/2018/

Overall, the critic recognizes the sculpture's significance and its role in preserving and commemorating an essential part of the country's heritage.

about abueva, sandugo sculptur

Blood Compact Heritage Site

Napoleon Abueva, born on January 26, 1930, in Tagbilaran, Bohol, is hailed as the "Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture." In 1976, he was named National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts, becoming the youngest recipient of this prestigious award.

Abueva's artistic journey began with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1953. He later pursued studies abroad, shaping the local sculpture scene in the Philippines.

Known for his versatility, Abueva has worked with various materials, including wood, metal, stone, cement, and brass, blending academic representational style with modern abstract techniques.

Early in his career, Abueva garnered recognition and accolades, winning first prizes and best entry awards in sculpture competitions. Mentored by Guillermo Tolentino, the first National Artist for Sculpture, Abueva's talent blossomed.

Among his notable works are "The Bibingka Vendor," "Childbirth," "Lovers," "Mother and Child," "The Transfiguration," "Abstract Tower," and the "Death masks of Ninoy Aquino and Fernando Poe Jr." Abueva's dedication to his roots is evident in his masterpiece, the "Sandugo" or Blood Compact Heritage Site in Bohol, which commemorates the first international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos.

This Blood Compact Heritage Site stands as both a tourist attraction and a testament to Abueva's artistic brilliance.

Blood Compact Heritage Site

History and Significance

The Blood Compact Heritage Site is a tribute to the historic event that took place on March 16, 1565, between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol.

At that time, Legazpi was on a mission to colonize the Philippine archipelago under the authority of the King of Spain. He landed on the shores of Bohol on May 10, 1565, after sailing from Navidad, Mexico, with Father Andres Urdaneta and a fleet of ships.

Legazpi's mission was met with hostility in Cebu, so he sailed to nearby islands in search of provisions.

Eventually, bad weather forced his fleet to seek refuge in a village in the southeastern part of Bohol, which is now known as Jagna. The natives there were unfriendly, so Legazpi and his crew set sail again to find a friendlier village.

They eventually arrived at Bool, three kilometers from Tagbilaran, where they met Rajah Sikatuna. According to historical accounts, Legazpi approached Sikatuna in a pleasing manner, which impressed the local chieftain.

With Legazpi's overtures, tact, and diplomacy, Sikatuna was sold to his visitor's ideas and eventually became friends.

As was the custom of the time, the two leaders sealed their friendship through a blood compact. They each drew two or three drops of blood from their arms, mixed it with wine, and drank from the cup.

This blood compact marked the beginning of friendly relations between the Spaniards and the Boholanos, which lasted for centuries.

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Blood Compact Heritage Site

Sandugo ceremony

The Sandugo ceremony originated with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi in Bohol in 1565 and his encounter with Datu Sikatuna, who pledged allegiance to the King of Spain.

To solidify their friendship, they engaged in a significant ritual. Using a dagger, they made a small incision on their left arms and allowed their blood to flow into a cup filled with wine.

Both leaders then drank from the cup, symbolizing the bond they had formed.

A monument in Tagbilaran City commemorates this historic event, providing an inscription that describes the ceremony's significance.

It explains that Captain General López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna performed the blood compact to establish friendly relations between the Spaniards and the Filipinos.

The ritual itself was conducted in accordance with tribal tradition.

According to López de Legazpi's report to Philip II, the procedure involved each participant drawing a few drops of blood from their arm or breast.

These drops were mixed with water or wine in a cup. The mixture was then divided equally into two cups, and both individuals had to drink until the cups were completely emptied.

It was a solemn ritual that symbolized unity and ensured that neither party would depart until the bond was sealed.

The Sandugo ceremony stands as a testament to the early interactions between the Filipinos and the Spaniards, representing the first bond of friendship forged between the two groups.

It serves as a significant historical event that highlights the spirit of cooperation and understanding between different cultures.

Blood Compact Heritage Site

 other Blood Compact historic events 

The Blood Compact Heritage Site is a reminder of the historic event that took place between two different cultures, races, and religions. It symbolizes the importance of respect, equality, and friendship among nations, even in the face of differences.

The site is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Sandugo, which continues to inspire and educate people about the importance of diplomacy, peace, and understanding.

The blood compact, known as "Pacto de Sangre" or "Sandugo" in Spanish and Boholano, was an ancient ritual in the Philippines used to seal friendships, treaties, or agreements. It involved the contracting parties cutting their hands and letting their blood mix in a cup filled with liquid, often wine, which they would then drink.

The 1565 Sandugo between Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol, solidified their friendship and established a peaceful relationship between the Spanish and the local inhabitants.

Another early blood compact took place in 1521 between Ferdinand Magellan and Rajah Humabon of Cebu, marking the first interaction between natives and Europeans.

Antonio Pigafetta, a member of Magellan's expedition, described a different type of blood compact during their stopover in Palawan. The crew and a datu of Palawan made small cuts on their bodies, and the blood was touched to the tip of the tongue and forehead as a symbol of peaceful intentions.

In the 19th century, the revolutionary group known as the Katipunan also practiced a form of blood compact as part of their initiation rites. Instead of consuming the blood, it was used to sign membership contracts.

A more recent blood compact occurred in the 1860s between Sultan Jamalul Alam of the Sultanate of Sulu and Herman Leopold Schück, a Prussian merchant mariner. This blood compact between close friends symbolized their bond and mutual trust.

The blood compact ritual holds historical significance in the Philippines, representing agreements, friendships, and peaceful intentions among different parties throughout the country's history.

How to Get There

The Blood Compact Heritage Site is located in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. It is easily accessible from the city center, either by tricycle, cab, or private vehicle.

Google Map: Blood Pact Shrine; JVGH+XMM, J.P, EK Inting St, Tagbilaran City, 6300 Bohol

If you're coming from Tagbilaran City, take the Carlos P. Garcia circumferential road and look for the signage that points to the Blood Compact Heritage Site. The site is just a few meters away from the road, so it's hard to miss.

If you're coming from other parts of Bohol, you can take a bus or van to Tagbilaran City and then take a tricycle or cab to the site. The Dao Terminal is the main transportation hub in Tagbilaran City, where buses and vans to other parts of Bohol are available.

Or simply join a Tour Group

Blood Compact Heritage Site

As you approach the site, you'll be greeted by a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The lush green surroundings and well-maintained gardens create a tranquil ambiance, perfect for reflecting on the significance of the historic event that took place on this very spot.

The site also offers benches and seating areas where visitors can relax, soak in the scenery, and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

Adjacent to the Blood Compact Heritage Site, you'll find shops and stalls offering souvenir and gift items. This is a great opportunity to browse through a variety of products that celebrate Bohol's culture and heritage.

From intricately designed handicrafts to local delicacies, you'll find something unique to take home as a memento of your visit.

Other attractions nearby

While the Blood Compact Heritage Site itself is the main attraction, there are other interesting places to explore nearby.

Just a short distance away is the Baclayon Church, one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines, dating back to the 16th century. Its rich history and well-preserved architecture make it a popular destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Join a Baclayon Tour

Another notable site in the vicinity is the Bohol Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits showcasing Bohol's cultural heritage. Here, you can learn more about the province's history, indigenous tribes, and traditional arts and crafts. It's a worthwhile stop for those seeking a deeper understanding of Bohol's cultural identity. Join an Art Culture Tour

When visiting the Blood Compact Heritage Site, it's important to be respectful and mindful of the historical and cultural significance it holds. Remember to follow any guidelines or rules set by the site's management to ensure the preservation of the area for future generations. 

In conclusion, a visit to the Blood Compact Heritage Site in Bohol is a journey into the past, where you can witness the historic event that marked the beginning of friendship between the Spanish colonizers and the Boholano people.

The site's tranquil surroundings, the magnificent sculpture by Napoleon Abueva, and the panoramic views of the Bohol Sea create a truly memorable experience.

As you stand in the presence of this significant landmark, take a moment to reflect on the importance of unity, respect, and friendship between different cultures and civilizations.

The Blood Compact Heritage Site stands as a symbol of peace, diplomacy, and the enduring spirit of cooperation.

Sources: Wikipedia

Check the Bohol Tourism website for more information.
Go to homepage from Bohol Blood Compact Heritage Site.

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