Blood compact

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El Pacto de Sangre (1886), a romanticized painting of the Sandugo by Juan Luna

Blood compact (Spanish: Pacto de sangre; Filipino: Sanduguan) was an ancient ritual in the Philippines intended to seal a friendship or treaty, or to validate an agreement. The contracting parties would cut their wrists and pour their blood into a cup filled with liquid, such as wine, and drink the mixture.

A famous example of the blood compact was the 1565 Sandugo between Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol. Another blood compact was done between the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Rajah Humabon of Cebu.[1]

Another type of blood compact was also described by Antonio Pigafetta during their stopover in Palawan (after the death of Magellan). It was made between the crew of the expedition and a datu of Palawan as a symbol of peaceful intentions. The datu made a small cut on his chest using a knife borrowed from the expedition. The datu then dipped a finger on the blood and touched it to the tip of his tongue and on his forehead. The crew of the expedition did the same to seal the compact.[2]

A similar ritual was practiced by initiates into the 19th century revolutionary group, the Katipunan. Though they did not consume their blood, they used it to sign their membership contracts.

Another relatively recent blood compact was in the 1860s between the close friends Sultan Jamalul Alam of the Sultanate of Sulu and Herman Leopold Schück, a Prussian merchant mariner. Schück eventually settled in Sulu and introduced the Kahawa Sug coffee varietal to the islands.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sandugo Festival Bohol Philippines Retrieved December 2006.
  2. ^ Pigafetta, Antonio (1906). "Primo Viaggio Intorno Al Mondo". In Emma Helen Blair; James Alexander Robertson (eds.). The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XXXIII, 1519-1522. Arthur H. Clark Company.
  3. ^ Bueno, Anna (11 November 2016). "The untold heritage of Sulu's fascinating coffee culture". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 21 December 2018.