Surprises come from the most unexpected time and place. Minutes after we’ve crossed the bridge from Panglao Island to the main island of Bohol, the driver of the tour van stopped in a gasoline station. This is not the surprise, if you’re interested to ask, as the driver was simply loading the van with gas in preparation for the whole-day tour of Bohol.
We then proceeded after gassing up, then stopped, a few minutes from the gas station, at the shoulder of the road. Maybe, I thought, the driver forget to pee or something. Then he opened the van’s sliding door and announced: “Wilcome, to da Blood Compact Monument”. There’s the surprise.
In fact, if you don’t know that the monument is there, you wouldn’t know it exists in that spot. No attention-grabbing marker in place. Just a plane fence at the side of the road. Also, if you don’t know what the monument is, you’d probably think it’s a tribute to some drunkards celebrating San Miguel Beer‘s Oktoberfest and drinking beer.
No, this is not San Miguel, but Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (the one in the middle holding what looks like a mug). This is the Blood Compact Monument.
The official website of Bohol would tell you that in 1564, more than forty years after Magellan’s demise, Spain sent out four expeditions to establish colonies in the Far East. One of these expeditions was led by Legazpi, who reached the Philippines in 1565.
The figure to the left is Bohol’s Datu Sikatuna.
Legaspi was met with resistance both in Cebu and Bohol. He was successful, however, in convincing Datu Sikatuna of Bool and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they had come in peace.
“On 16 March 1565 (or 25 March, records are confused due to the Gregorian calendar reform in 1584), Legazpi and Sikatuna performed the now famous blood compact, probably not far from the modern town of Loay. This event is still celebrated in Bohol every year in June with the Sandugo (“One Blood”) festival. The same ceremony was repeated three days later with Sigala.”
The Blood Compact Monument is located in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City, Bohol (see also: Monument of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Andres Urdaneta (Intramuros).
There you go, a significant piece of history from a roadside monument that you would probably fail to notice.