I was not feeling well the first (1st) time I traveled at the island of Bohol particularly at Tagbilaran City. One of my siblings was actually assigned at Tagbilaran City for almost six (6) months regarding a project. That was the reason why I was almost bedridden and just stayed at my brother’s apartment during my entire stay in Bohol Island. Nonetheless, I have a hobby or a workaround whenever I would be stuck in a certain place. I would always look for something to read about information about the place itself. It was really automatic for me since high school when I started to be away from my parents more often than not. Of course the first (1st) place I read about was all about Makati. After that, whenever we traveled to Tagaytay City, Batangas or at any place, I made sure I was well-versed regarding some ‘info-stuffs’ in my head.
Just ran out of luck: Reviewing History through the Master
I tried to look for a short of a leaflet, a short manual or a tourist handout about Bohol Island in my bag and I was not able to get one. I just remembered that I must had left it with my food wrappers and trashes then threw or accidentally left it in the ferry (for the record, I would rather take a ferry boat than to have a short flight via airplane. Life is a journey indeed!) I asked my brother’s housekeeper if they there were books to read and check. She told me that it seemed that the last occupants left elementary or high school books and they were kept in the cabinet. My boredom gave me a bit of a lift and motivation to check those books. ‘Eureka!’ I said when I found an old edition high school history book written none other than Gregorio F. Zaide-I called this guy a master because ever since I started studying history formally, his name was always under the line ‘author’. I checked the table of contents and browsed ahead to the Bohol Island section.
A bit of a history
According to what was written or published, Tagbilaran has been considered as the ‘Bool Kingdom’ way back the fifteenth (15th) century. The name ‘Tagbilaran’, however, is still indistinct to many historians until this date. They said that the first (1st) name of Tagbilaran is ‘Tinabilan’ which means covered or screened since the place was protected on the southwest by the island of Panglao. Other tradition or ‘rendition’ (I said), the term ‘Tagbilaran’ was etymologically derived from ‘Tagubilaan’-coined from two local dialect word ‘Tagu’ (meaning ‘hide’ or ‘to hide’) and ‘Bilaan’ (a known marauder Muslim tribe). Thus the word ‘Tinabilan’: a place hidden or unconcealed from the looting Muslims. Inflexion of the word to ‘Tagbilaran’ could have been derived from the Spanish conquerors.
In the Beginning
Tagbilaran started as small settlements of locals who vowed to the influence or spirit of ‘Anito’ (pagan idol or god) in the lower Mansasa. The first (1st) locals of the place already practiced burying the dead as archeologists found a sort of burial grounds. The place had also established trade with Indonesia, Malaysia and China. When the Spaniards came, the establishment of a more civilized and advanced community was made possible at Sitio Ubos. To fully establish a government, the Spaniards built a cathedral.
The Blood Compact: Sandugo
All of a sudden, I experienced a bit of goose bumps for some reason (maybe because of the medicine I took) Nonetheless, it seemed that I glanced a certain information regarding the place about a significant historical event that took place in this very place. Ever since I had read about ‘Sandugo’ or the famous ‘Blood Compact’, I feared about the pain that it inflicted to the participants. Little less I that I was aware of that it was really a very significant historical event and it marked a treaty or a sort of diplomacy between two nations. As soon as I read it, I called my brother and told him to arrange a trip to the place of ‘Sandugo’ as soon I felt better.
History is definitely a sort of a ‘spirit’ according to a modern philosopher. History is all about experiences, events and learning from these things. Tagbiliran City had made its choice since time immemorial to be amicable to others as per the symbolization of the Blood Compact or ‘Sandugo’. History, as always, would be a key in making a place a symbol of significance.