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Bohol Province, Philippines – The Sandugo Festival in Bohol province triumphantly returned on July 30th after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, captivating thousands of residents and guests with its vibrant street dancing and ritual showdown. The festival’s much-awaited comeback showcased 10 contingents, with Tribu Tagbilaranon of Tagbilaran City emerging as the grand champion in the ritual showdown at the Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) Sports Complex. The event marked a significant milestone in Bohol’s history, honoring the 1565 treaty of friendship between Boholano chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, sealed with a blood compact, hence the term “sandugo” or one blood.

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History of the Sandugo Festival

The Sandugo Festival has its roots in the historic Sandugo (blood compact) that took place in 1565 between Rajah Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol, and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish explorer and conquistador. To solidify their newly established friendship and mutual alliance, both leaders performed a ritual blood compact, where they made incisions on their arms and allowed their blood to mix in a goblet filled with wine. The ceremonial act symbolized a bond of trust, respect, and unity between the two cultures.

Photo taken from Kahlil Lester Camba (Facebook)

Reasons behind Celebrating the Festival

Historical Commemoration: The festival pays homage to the historic event of the blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, celebrating the beginning of friendly relations between the Boholanos and the Spanish.

Cultural Revival: The Sandugo Festival revitalizes and promotes the traditional arts, dance, and rituals that are deeply rooted in Bohol’s heritage, passing down these cultural treasures to future generations.

Promoting Unity: The festival fosters unity and camaraderie among the Boholanos, showcasing their shared history and collective identity.

Tourist Attraction: The Sandugo Festival attracts tourists and visitors from different parts of the world, boosting the local economy and promoting Bohol as a top-notch tourist destination.

Photo taken from Kahlil Lester Camba (Facebook)

Showcasing Bohol-original Dances: The festival highlights Bohol’s unique dance forms, such as the “kuradang,” bringing local talent to the forefront.

Cultural Exchange: The festival offers an opportunity for cultural exchange, where people from various backgrounds come together to celebrate and appreciate the richness of Bohol’s cultural heritage.

Boosting Local Pride: Sandugo Festival instills a sense of pride and patriotism among the Boholanos as they celebrate their history and culture.

Stimulating Arts and Crafts: The festival provides a platform for local artists and artisans to showcase their craftsmanship, helping to sustain and promote traditional arts.

Strengthening Community Bonds: The preparation and participation in the festival foster strong bonds within the community as residents come together to create and showcase their performances.

Photo taken from Kahlil Lester Camba (Facebook)

Encouraging Sportsmanship: The friendly competition among contingents encourages sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline.

Showcasing Local Cuisine: The festival also offers a chance to showcase Bohol’s delectable local cuisine, attracting food enthusiasts and promoting local culinary delights.

Photo Taken from Kahlil Lester Camba (Facebook).jpg

Cultural Tourism: The Sandugo Festival’s celebration of Bohol’s cultural heritage promotes cultural tourism, attracting visitors who are interested in experiencing authentic traditions.

Encouraging Education: The festival presents an educational opportunity for both locals and visitors to learn about Bohol’s history and cultural significance.

Economic Boost: The influx of tourists and visitors during the festival stimulates the local economy, benefiting businesses in various sectors, such as hospitality, retail, and transportation.

Fostering a Sense of Identity: The Sandugo Festival reinforces Bohol’s unique identity as a place with a rich history and diverse cultural heritage, which contributes to its allure as a travel destination.

Photo Taken from AD Photography’s Official Facebook Page

Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado expressed delight at the festival’s success and promised an even grander celebration in the coming years, focusing on promoting Bohol as the country’s first United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Global Geopark. The return of the Sandugo Festival marked a triumphant comeback, reflecting Bohol’s resilience and dedication to preserving its cultural splendor. As the festival continues to evolve and grow, it remains a testament to the enduring spirit of the Boholanos and their commitment to preserving their vibrant heritage for generations to come.