On March 16, 1565, Captain General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish Conquistador, befriended the local leader Datu Sikatuna. Together they executed a blood compact or Sandugo as a sign of friendship and brotherhood. The blood compact is considered as a ritual for tribes where two different people cut their wrists and pour their own blood into a cup with liquid, after which, they’d drink each other’s blood as a sign of friendship and alliance. This recorded event would then become the first international treaty of friendship and peace between the Filipinos and Spaniards.
In commemoration of this event, the Sandugo Festival was born. This annual celebration takes place every July. Although the blood compact happened in March, the festival was purposely moved to July to coincide with TBTK (Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan) – loosely translated as “A Gathering of Boholanos from all over the world.”
A lengthy list of activities has long been etched on the month of July.
Tagbilaran City Charter day
Sandugo Nightly Entertainment Activities
Sandugo Street Dancing Competition
Miss Bohol Sandugo (Beauty Pageant)
Bohol Day Celebration
Opening of month-long flea markets and many other activities that event organizers would conjure to promote Bohol tourism and deliver fun and entertainment to locals and tourists alike.
One of the events that keeps locals and visitors anticipate for is the Sandugo Street Dancing. This vivacious affair always happens on a Sunday, and usually starts at lunchtime. Contingents from different schools and other neighboring provinces/islands come to Tagbilaran City to participate in the annual competition of street dancing and field demonstration. Geared with very colorful and creative costumes, artistic props, an amazing choreography and an ingenious band of lyrists, drummers and trumpeters, these participants walk the streets of Tagbilaran to display their talents and smiles. Spectators get the chance to see people of all ages, from just merely kids to middle-aged adults dancing their hearts out to please the crowd.
At the C.P.G. Grandstand, these contingents prepare for another round of entertainment as they present their complete dance presentations before thousands of people a panel of judges. Whoever wins the competition shall go home with a prize and the honor of being called as Champions of the Street Dancing Competition. Keeping the big prize at stake, each group will have to be at their best, thus delivering a high-quality performance that would easily wow the crowd.
For centuries, Boholanos have always regarded the root crop Ubi as sacred. And to furthermore show much devotion, the Ubi Festival was founded. For years, this festival is celebrated annually on the month of January. It features contests, exhibits, seminars and a cultural show in honor of Ubi.
Maybe the thought, “Why is this root crop well-praised?” has crossed your minds once. The thing is, Ubi is the main reason why Boholano ancestors survived countless crises in the past.Ubi is the only crop that thrives in droughts and it also readily available in the mountains – with its four-angled heart-shaped leaf that crawls upward in vines which serves as an indicator that the starchy crop is secretly hiding in the ground.
Not long after, the Boholano’s high respect and beliefs for Ubi eventually turned into embedded habits and tradition that are carried up to the present times. It is of utter importance that an Ubi should not be dropped because it is sacrilegious. But if accidentally dropped, he must kiss the Ubi right away to show apology and say, ‘Sorry po.’ The third, is when planting Ubi, the first tuber must be covered with a broken pot, so that when the crop grows, it would grow as big as the pot that it was planted with.