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Welcome to Bohol, a province in the Philippines that holds a significant place in the annals of Philippine history. Among its historical treasures is the Blood Compact, a pivotal event that marked the forging of the first international treaty of peace and friendship between two nations of different races and creeds.
Discover the captivating story behind the Blood Compact and its enduring legacy as you explore the beautiful district of Bohol and its surroundings in Tagbilaran City.
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On November 21, 1564, Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi embarked on an expedition from Navidad, Mexico, commissioned by the Spanish crown. The objectives of this voyage were to search for gold, silver, and spices, as well as to Christianize the natives encountered along the way.
Accompanied by six Augustinian missionaries and Fr. Andres de Urdaneta as the navigator and spiritual adviser, Legaspi's expedition was the fifth sent by Spain to the archipelago after Magellan's journey.
After exploring various islands, including Cebu, Samar, Leyte, Limasawa, and Dapitan, Legaspi and his fleet set sail for Mindanao. However, adverse weather conditions forced them to seek refuge in Bohol.
Dropping anchor at a village in the south-eastern part of Bohol, now known as Jagna, they encountered unfriendly natives who had suffered from the abuses of Portuguese men posing as Spaniards. Undeterred, Legaspi sailed on, seeking more hospitable villages.
Legaspi and his men arrived at the village of Bool, located three kilometers from Tagbilaran. Approaching Datu Sikatuna with diplomacy and respect, Legaspi impressed the local chieftain, leading to the sealing of their friendship through a native ritual known as the Blood Compact.
Following the customary practice of the time, both Legaspi and Sikatuna shed two to three drops of blood from their arms, mixed it with wine, and drank from the cup. Some accounts mention dividing the blood-wine mixture equally and consuming it to the last drop.
While historians debate the exact timing and location of the Blood Compact, its importance to the people of Bohol remains unquestioned.
Regardless of the historical variations, the Boholanos commemorate this event annually through the "Sandugo" festival, meaning "Of one blood." This month-long celebration culminates around July 22, coinciding with the "Bohol Day" festivities, although it often extends into late August.
The Blood Compact Site in Bool serves as a visual reminder of this historic event.
The Blood Compact holds a significant place in Philippine history, not only in Tagbilaran City and Bohol but throughout the nation. The event was even immortalized in a masterpiece by the renowned Filipino painter Juan Luna.
To perpetuate the memory and spirit of the first treaty of peace and friendship, as well as Datu Sikatuna himself, the late President Elpidio Quirino established the "Order of Sikatuna," a presidential award and decoration bestowed upon visiting dignitaries.
As you explore Bohol, take the time to immerse yourself in the rich history surrounding the Blood Compact. Visit the Blood Compact Site in Bool, where this momentous event occurred, and reflect upon the lasting significance of friendship, peace, and cultural exchange.
Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Boholanos as you witness the Sandugo festival and celebrate the unity that emerged from the first international
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