8 Things to Look Out For in Bohol’s Sandugo Festival this July

Bohol Sandugo

Photo / Bohol Sandugo Facebook

Bohol is one of the country’s most exciting tourist destinations. It is home to the majestic Chocolate Hills and the reclusive tarsier, and sapphire-blue beaches in the island of Panglao. There is much to see in this tiny island province for adventure-seekers, nature-lovers, and those who want to hide from the hustle and bustle of city-living.

Bohol Sandugo Festival (4)

The commemorative marker of the blood compact was done by Boholano National Artist Napoleon Abueva

One of the best times to go to Bohol is during the Sandugo Festival, held every July to celebrate the historic blood compact between Miguel López de Legazpi, a Spanish explorer, and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol, on March 16, 1565 to seal their friendship. It is considered as the country’s first international treaty of friendship.

For one whole month, the city of Tagbilaran and Bohol’s towns celebrate by holding non-stop fiestas, which I learned they take very seriously. According to Emmylou Palacio-Noel, the newly-appointed executive director of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council, Boholanos from all over the world fly home to be with their loved ones. She shares stories of how families would buy new appliances or furniture, and cook food fit for a barangay. Some would even borrow money just so they can provide.

The fiesta culture in Bohol is serious. Here are the eight things you should look out for when you visit for the Sandugo Festival!


8. Tigum Bol-anon Tibook Pilipinas (July 22, 2016)

The Tigum Bol-anon Tibook Pilipinas, or TBTP, will be launched as a yearly gathering of Boholanos from all over the Philippines. Similar to the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan, or TBTK, this aims to draw Boholanos living outside the province to enjoy the fun, excitement, and spirit of camaraderie of the Sandugo. And after our visit earlier this month, we saw how Boholanos take their fiestas seriously.


7. Bohol Sandugo Song Festival (July 21, 2016)

The popular song festival will be back, and everyone is invited to join and write a song. Experimentation and discovery are encouraged. and the theme and writing styles are open-ended. The use of Visayan, Cebuano, and Boholano dialects is also encouraged.


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Arsenio Lagura, Jr. is one of Bohol’s many talented woodcarvers


6. Sandugo Lalik Festival (July 15-17, 2016)

The Sandugo Lalik Festival aims to showcase and reinvigorate the carving tradition of the province. It also aims to develop livelihood opportunities to complement the growth of the tourism industry.

5. Miss Bohol 2016 (July 16, 2016)

The vision of the Miss Bohol pageant is to depict the quintessential Boholana, with emphasis on local culture.


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This delicious budol feast was prepared for us in Too Nice to Slice in Tagbilaran

4. International Fusion Nights (July 20-27, 2016)

The International Fusion Nights brings the cuisine of high-end resorts and restaurants at popular prices for the public. It also features local culinary favorites and delicacies, so make sure to attend on an empty stomach! We highly recommend the calamay and the hot chocolate!


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The Loboc Children’s Choir is a world-renowned singing group composed of school children of ages nine to thirteen in Loboc, Bohol


3. Bohol Choir Festival (July 23, 2016)

Bohol is known for its musical tradition, with the Loboc Children’s Choir as an outstanding example. This recognition has inspired other Boholano singers to form their own chorale groups and join competitions all over the country. With our rising tourism industry, the province has become a venue of the International Choir Festival participated in by different countries from all over the world. This year’s winner will represent the province in the annual International Choir Festival.


Sandugo Bohol

2. AirAsia Red Hot Party (July 21, 2016)

AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost airline, is throwing the biggest music fest this year at the CPG Sports Complex in Tagbilaran City. If you fly AirAsia within the week of the event, your boarding passes can give you a VIP pass to the party and have freebies and discounts from partner establishments. And oh, the airline is also giving away free flights and freebies!

1. Bangga sa Kuradang og Subli sa Sandugo

This year’s Sandugo Competition will not just be a generic street-dancing competition. Instead, it will highlight the kuradang, a courtship dance performed during special occasions. The kuradang will feature Bohol’s traditional steps, and will be more rooted in Boholano culture, artistry, and originality. The Sandugo re-anactment will also play a key component of the presentation of each competing contingent.

Are you going to the Sandugo Festival? Share your plans below!

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