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There Was No Blood Compact in Bool, Tagbilaran
« on: July 05, 2007, 11:42:57 AM »
By JES TIROL
Columnist & Historian

Proem

The National Historical Institute (NHI) promised to release this month their decision as to the actual site of the Si Katuna-Legazpi blood compact. Let us just wait if the NHI will do it.

Bases of Arguments

During the hearings, the Loay side of the controversy based their arguments on primary sources while the Tagbilaran side, particularly Councilor Rizalino Israel, presented legends and secondary or tertiary evidences.

The Legend

In an interview with Mr. Nicolas Ligason, a retired public school teacher in Bo-ol, Tagbilaran City, Council Israel learned about a certain Rafael Angalot, who owned a book containing stories about Si Katuna. A Jesuit priest reportedly gave the book.

The legend says that Si Katuna had a kingdom that extends from Bol-ol to Moalong, Loon. He had two trusted lieutenants named Magbuaya and Kabyawon. Kabyawon encamped in what is now Hinawanan, Loay.

Legazpi's fleet came to Bo-ol to look for food. Sikatuna and his men met the Armada at the seashore. The story continued about the gift of toy-top and mirror by Legazpi, and so on.

Where Legends Came From

Legends always have some faint historical basis. However, when the story is told and retold along the years, it becomes embellished and the true story will disappear. Hearsay and imperfect recollection and inventions will transform the original story.

Reconstructing the Story

Based on primary sources, as written by the participants of the Legazpi expedition, I would indicate that it was Captain Juan de la Isla who came to Bo-ol, Tagbilaran City.

When Legazpi's fleet anchored offshore at Canayaon, Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol, on March 15, 1565, Captain Juan de la Isla was sent by General Legazpi to explore the shoreline towards Tagbilaran. He was on board the frigate. On March 18, 1565, Captain de la Isla returned and made a report.

He said that five (5) leagues farther on was a small bay where the ships could anchor safely. Only the southwest, a side wind, would harm them. Captain De la Isla also stated that two leagues farther on, was another group of houses but there was no place where the ships could anchor. (Doc. No. 27. P. 281).

Four or five leagues from Canayaon, Garcia-Hernandez is the small bay at Hinawanan, Loay, Bohol. The flagship anchored there on March 19, 1565 at 10 o'clock in the morning.

Allowing for inaccuracy of measure or error in sighting a direction, it is possible that the two (2) leagues farther ahead would be Bo-ol, Tagbilaran instead of Baclayon.

It must be borne in mind that Captain De la Isla, on board the small frigate, said that it was not possible for the ships to anchor at the place. Since Captain De la Isla could make this statement, it means that he visited the place. However, De la Isla also said that he saw two or three natives but they were not able to talk to them because they fled.

So if there were a legend of a Spaniard or Spanish ship that visited Bo-ol, Tagbilaran City, it would be Captain Juan de la Isla and his men on board the frigate.

Maybe the story was mixed with the earlier visit of the Portuguese and later on embellished in order to bolster the claim that Bo-ol, Tagbilaran City was the site of the blood compact.

Well, legends are good as general literature and stories to entertain children. However, it could not be used as historical proof.

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