Every Filipino is accustomed to prepare for festivals. Filipinos are known to be hospitable, warm and accommodating not only to friends and families but also to everyone around the globe. It was this certain homey vibe that most tourists would definitely look forward to when visiting any of the 7,107 islands we have. The island of Bohol is definitely one place that is impossible to miss.
One festival to look forward to is the Sandugo Festival of Bohol. This is not only a festival of sights and sounds but also of historical value. Sandugo, or Blood Compact, is celebrated during July to commemorate the friendship forged between Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish King Conquistador, and Datu Sikatuna in March 16,1565.
How it all Began
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, being Conquistador, set foot on Boholano soil sometime in 1565 and was warmly received by the reigning Datu, Rajah Sikatuna. The sands of time would reveal that the two leaders were able to forge a unique bond when the Rajah decided to swore allegiance to the crown of Spain.
The Blood Compact
To formalize the forged bond between the two leaders, they had undertaken the sharing of wine sprinkled with their own blood or “Dugo” in the local Visayan dialect, coming from their left arms, thus strengthening the pact that promoted friendship and brotherhood for both nationalities. Signing of the treaty was done at the southwest coast of Bohol during that fateful day in 1565.
Boholano Sights and Sounds
Today, we celebrate Sandugo Festival not only to attract tourists but also, for commemorating the First Treaty of Alliance and Friendship between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. Not only does the festival have a historical value, but it also promotes culture to the younger generations. Sights, sounds, colorful decors, a myriad of activities and the famous reenactment of the “Blood Compact” are some of the highlights of the festival.
Boholano Resilience Amid Calamities and Tragedies
For the recent years, the Boholanos were subjected to various natural calamities that shook the very foundation of the island, and also of their own individual selves. For many, this is a time of uniting everyone who is a true blue Boholano. Tagbilaran City not only rejoices its Charter Day on the month of July but also the Province of Bohol which became a separate politico-military province on July 22, 1854, thereby creating a festive mood for the whole month. The festival, originally celebrated in March, is set for July 22 to 27, 2015, coincides with the Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) on July 24 to 27, a gathering of Boholanos from all over the world. This showed the whole nation that in times of distress, unity and the desire to help will still rise above anything else.
DOT Regional Director Rowena Lu Montecillo stated through a public newspaper that hotels and resorts are most likely to be fully booked as influx of tourists and locals would increase foot traffic in the island.
Fun and Fabulous finds
This year, the Sandugo festival will showcase the best of the regions’ creativity and produce, focusing on Tourism as the focal point on the said festival. Wanting to check more than the usual gift ideas you bring in from Bohol? Then it’s already a GO for Sandugo! Craftsmanship, Innovation, Ingenuity and Originality will spruce up the festival this year. DTI, working hand in hand with DOT, is expecting an influx of brand new ideas and tour packages from world renowned hotels and resorts that offer only the best from the island.
A Gem of the Visayas
In general, Sandugo Festival in Bohol is just a cherry on top. If you would really immerse yourself in the festivities, you will definitely realize that it is a hidden gem in the Visayas. Bohol holds a certain charm that is different from the other islands. Being able to touch base with the locals, partake in a gastronomical feast, visit the Sandugo or Blood Compact Site, getting a feel of the old world charm with the old churches that remained steadfast amid being devastated by earthquakes and being mesmerized by the Chocolate Hills, all these create a worthwhile experience that will be forever etched in one’s reverie.