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Illustrados see ‘sandugo’ basis for revolution - historians

ZAMBOANGA CITY, October 26 (PIA) – Jose Rizal and other Illustrados, or educated Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period look back to the blood compact in Bohol on March 16, 1565 as an important marker that helped them assess the validity of their clamor for revolution, historians believe.

During the online Philippine International Quincentennial Conference’s session on Illustrado Historiography: Emancipating the Philippines from Spanish Colonial History, it was clarified that Illustrados including Rizal thought of the blood compact, or locally known as the “Sandugo” between Bohol’s Datu Sikatuna and Spaniard Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as a turning point in Philippine History.

“The blood compact involved leaders cutting themselves on the arm, mixing drops of their blood in an alcoholic drink which the leaders drank as an oath of friendship or brotherhood,” said historian Dr. Filomeno Aguilar of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Dr. Aguilar explained that Legazpi’s participation to the blood compact was in compliance with the King of Spain’s mandate to forge alliances with local chieftains to prevent bloodshed, as was learned in the Americas. He explained that the Illustrados saw the blood compact as a legal treaty between two countries – the Philippines and Spain, and that Sikatuna was tempted into the agreement by Legazpi who used “sweet words” to solicit participation from the former.

In time, Rizal became “disillusioned with (Spain’s) assimilation (of the Philippines) since it wasn’t going anywhere. All the lobbying they made was not working and he realized that the Philippines should finally be independent,” said Dr. Aguilar.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jaime Veneracion, a historian from University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman said the blood compact was supposed to bring in development for the islands, with Spain helping out the natives. But the Illustrados realized that what was happening in their time was not what Spain had promised in the blood compact. Injustices against the natives were committed.

Dr. Reynaldo Ileto, a professor from the Australian National University said “we really haven’t given the quincentennial the attention it deserves. I don’t think most Filipinos are aware of this event”. Dr. Ileto joins his peers in the academic community in calling for more appreciation of history.

Nevertheless, Dr. Veneracion said “we need to open our history books, just as the Illustrados did to learn about our present, to be able to chart a course for the future”.

This year, the country commemorates the 500th anniversary at the Victory at Mactan, the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world and other related events known collectively as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations of the Philippines. From October to December, a series of online conferences will be done with historians and experts sharing information about the history of the country. (EDT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

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