Sandugo Celebration is an annual and prestigious celebration of the life, history, and rich cultural heritage of the Boholanos. The Festival, which first officially started in 1988 is a celebration of friendship, that is established in Philippine history as a blood-letting commemoration of friendship between two cultures and peoples; between the local Boholano chieftain, Sikatuna and the foreign conquistador, Legazpi of Spain, an event that happened in 1565, historically in the shores of Villalimpia in Loay, a coastal town in Bohol.
Starting 1988, thence, the island province of Bohol has her official provincial festival that showcases the industry, creativity and story of development that the province can trace through the years. The varied events and activities that make-up the month-long SANDUGO celebration in July, often culminates in a showdown of talents and remarkable dancing prowess of Boholanos through the annual Street Dancing and Showdown of Blood Compact Re-enactment Competition. For 2018, which is also a TBTK year, Sandugo Fetival officially closed on July 28, through the Street Dancing on the main thoroughfare of Tagbilaran City- the CPG avenue and culminated with the Sandugo Reenactment at the CPG Sports Complex.
On its 30th year, the SANDUGO Street Dancing has drawn both domestic and foreign spectators and participants; among them- Holy Name University, through her own version of the Blood Compact re-enactment, as an opening act. Earlier on that same July 28th afternoon, HNU students graced the street parade of floats standing-in as the Sikatuna and Legazpi, among others, on the TBTK float depicting the historical relevant event of Sandugo-an or blood compact in history.
HNU's Re-enactment of the Blood Compact between Legazpi and Sikatuna became the highlight of the night. The Office for Cultural Affairs and Development of the university headed by Mr. Marianito Luspo paved way to its success, along with fifty dancers from the Diwanag Dance Troupe, HNU SHS and College students, and other cast members who gave it their all during the performance. Mr. Luspo wrote the script, and Mr. April Jay Banquil choreographed it. The music vehicle used for the performance was a pop song by Mr. TQ Solis entitled "Bohol Kong Pinalangga,'' which was then arranged by Gawad Uri-an Awardee, Mr. Odoni Pestillos. The ten-minute piece has a very beautiful musical score, contributing to its well-deserved feat.
The focus of the re-enactment was the concept of "Dos Mundos" or Two Worlds, differentiating between the old world and the new world. "Through the Sandugo, we proved that, although we are different people and have different cultures, we could be one world. The Dos Mundos mentality has dichotomized the world but despite our differences, we could still be friends and blood brothers, and we could work together towards peace," said Mr. Luspo, the Director of HNU's Office for Cultural Affairs and Development.
Ms. Carmen Gatal, seemingly the perennial and able chairperson of the Street Dancing Competition, was the one who asked Mr. Luspo and the HNU Diwanag Dance Troupe to do the re-enactment production, an offer which Mr. Luspo gladly took and noted that he would gladly still do so for next year's Sandugo Festival. Mr. Luspo quips, "Our participation need not be on the competitive side of the festival. There are many ways of participating. The Office for Cultural Affairs and Development is a liaison to the province, the city, and the bigger outside community and pairing its advocacy to theirs is one of our programs. We are always open to them because it is one form of our outreach with the community, and we are happy to help," he ends.
*An interview by Vanessa Jane Jumoc, a BA Communication Intern
*Photos by Graces Pagara, a BS Civil Engineering Student