Little-known facts about Chief Sikatuna

Topic |  

Little-known facts about Chief Sikatuna

Topic |  


Yesterday, July 24, 2021, the CCAD, the BACH Council, and the NCCA made me give a 30-minutes “webinar” lecture regarding facts and figures about the Sikatuna-Legazpi Blood Compact on March 25, 1565.

Since it was a long lecture, I will just write a portion of my lecture for this article. I will focus on some little known facts about Chief Sikatuna.  These facts are found in rare sources but not written in our history textbooks used in school.

First Mention in History


Only July 24, 1525, the Loaisa Expedition left La Coruña, Spain to follow the route of Ferdinand Magellan. On June 1, 1526, the flotilla met a terrible storm in the Pacific Ocean.  The ships were dispersed. Some of the ships were able to reach Moluccas, Indonesia together with the ship under Captain Sebastian del Cano, the first who circumnavigated the earth. Together with him was his apprentice Andres de Urdaneta. Urdaneta was not yet a priest.

One of the ships, the Santa Maria del Parral, was wrecked in north eastern Mindanao. The survivors were captured by the natives and sold into slavery.  One survivor, Sebastian de Puerto (some writers spelled it “Puerta”), was bought by the young Boholano Chief named Sikatuna. For three (3) years, Sebastian de Puerto was slave of Sikatuna.

This was the first recorded encounter between a Boholano and a Spaniard and the Spaniard was the slave.

In the year 1529, the Saavedra Expedition was in Bagangga Bay (now part of Davao Oriental). The flotilla was lost and hungry. It so happened that Chief Sikatuna was in the locality because he was visiting a son-in-law. Upon seeing the plight of the Spaniards, Sikatuna gave food and water provisions to the fleet.

Unfortunately, the Spanish slave, Sebastian de Puerte was able to escape and joined the Suavedra fleet. His testimony was taken, and that is why we knew of the existence of Sikatuna from De Puerto’s recorded statements.

Among the statements of De Puerto was that there was a time when Sikatuna brought him to a place called Maluarboco. Apparently this word is a variation of Malabago, which was the religious center of the Bo-ol Kingdom.


Apparently, in years 1526 to 1529, there was a King in the Bo-ol Kingdom who was a relative of Sikatuna.  Sikatuna was assigned by the King to manage the area from Limasawa; Cabalian, Leyte, Siargao Island; and Bagangga Bay.


During olden times, the usual marriageable age of a woman was 14 years old and that of a man was 16 years old. Since Sikatuna had already a son-in-law, he must have been at least 31 years old [1 yr pregnancy + 14 yrs age of daughter + 16 yrs age of Sikatuna = 31 years].

(Ref: Fr. Horacio dela Costa, S.J. “The Voyage of Saavedra To The Philippines, 1527-29”. (The Philippine Historical Bulletin, No. 4, 1958).

Destruction of the Bo-ol Kingdom


Some time in 1562 the Bo-ol Kingdom was ruled by the Princes Pagbuaya (Also known as Manangkil Way Tapóng) and Dailisan (Also known as Way Lisang Makabungkag). Apparently the former king must have recently died because there was yet no single ruler in the Kingdom.

The next year, 1563, the King of Ternate sent twenty (20) Joangas and eight (8) ships of his men accompanied by Portuguese. They did not arrive at the same time but a few ships at a time for a period of eight (8) months. All the while the Ternateans traded with the Boholanos that they were Spaniards and made friends with the Boholanos.


One market day the Portuguese and Ternateans suddenly attacked the unwary Boholanos. According to the accounts of Fr. Combes, Prince Dailisan was killed together with 9 other chiefs and the Muslim missionary Sarip Para. Pagbuaya opted to flee to Mindanao with one thousand families of freemen without taking into account the unmarried men and the Lutao nation. (Note: Today’s Badjao tribe).

According to the statements of Chief Sigala to General Legazpi, he (Sigala) was surprised when he saw people running and shouting. He boarded a boat and went to the settlement of Sikatuna.  He saw the eight ships that were already far away. He found the wounded Sikatuna in a boat with 10 dead people. He brought Sikatuna to recuperate and hide inland in Loboc.

(Ref. Ultramar de Filipinas, Doc. 27, p. 287 & p. 307.

Blood Compact Ritual

When the Bornean pilot, named Tuasanmalea, was interviewed, he said that he knew a native chief by the name of Sikatuna living inside a river. The Bornean pilot was supplied a boat in order to fetch Sikatuna. It took the Bornean two trips in order to convince Sikatuna to come to the Spanish ships. After the second trip, Sikatuna promised that he will go to the seashore the next day.

The next day, Sikatuna with about 40 warriors and some women walked from Loboc to the seashore. When Sikatuna arrived, he called the Borneans to inform General Legazpi to come ashore. Instead, Legazpi sent 2 Borneans and 2 Spaniards as hostages and asked Sikatuna to go aboard the flagship. Upon possessing the 4 hostages, Sikatuna with 4 or 5 of his men boarded the flagship for the Blood Compact.

Therefore there is an error in the famous Blood Compact painting by Juan Luna. There were supposed to be 4 or 5 Boholanos beside Sikatuna. The painting shows only the Spaniards beside Gen. Legazpi.

The ritual: Sikatuna arrived in the flagship. The General received him with graciousness and acts of friendship. The Chief said, I want to have a Blood Compact with the General. Because we will celebrate a true  friendship, we do it this way: we extract two drops of blood from the breast, mixt it with wine in a silver cup, then divide the mixture in two cups, one for each part. Both will drink his share of the mixture of blood and wine.

(Ref. Ultramar de Filipinas, Doc. 27., p. 297.)

There is no date in the record as to the date of the Blood Compact. But from the arrival at the small bay on March 19, 1565, the mention of “the next day” can be counted. It would give the date March 25, 1565. Also, on March 25, 1565, Notary of the Fleet Hernando Riquel took the testimony of Sikatuna.

(Ref. Ultramar de Filipinas, Doc. 43. p.284-286).

Baptism Into Christianity

The Sandugo or Blood Compact between Chief Sikatuna and Gen. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was not unique. There were other Blood Compacts.

What made it famous was that later in life, Sikatuna converted to Christianity. He was baptized into Christianity. His conversion was always cited by the Spanish writers.

“It was not yet eight (8) months since we have started the evangelization in Bohol, since November 1596, and many natives were converted to the Catholic Faith.

Among the new Christians of Bohol was the prominent chief Sikatuna. Aged 120 by that time, the venerable patriarch finally underwent the required Christian initiation together with his wife and embrace the Catholic religion. The Vice Provincial of the Society of Jesus, Father Ramon Prat, who was visiting the Bohol mission stations at that time, admitted Sikatuna to the Catholic faith in a very solemn baptismal rite.”

The date of baptism was July 16, 1597. The Patron Saints for this date is the parents of Saint Mary named St. Joaquin and Sta. Ana. According to the late Boholano historian, Fr. Jose Ma. Luengo, if the Roman Catholic rule was applied, then Sikatuna was given the Christian name “Joaquin” and his wife was baptized with the name “Ana”.

(Ref. Jesuit Carta anua 1596-1597, 24v-27t)

The age of 120 years is only an estimate of Father Prat. The best estimate will be: 1.) In 1529 Sikatuna had already a son-in-law. So he would at least be about 34 years old. 2.) From 1529 to 1565 is 36 years, so he was at least 70 years old during the Sandugo or Blood Compact. Gen. Legazpi said that Sikatuna was more than 40 years old. 3.) From 1565 to 1597 is 32 years. So, 70 + 32 = 102 years old. It is a more believable estimate.

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