Long before the town of Santander was established it was once called Tanyong after the Tañon Strait. When the Spaniards came, it was placed under the administration of the Parish of Boljoon. It was named Santander upon the suggestion of Spanish priest who came from a city along the northern coast of Spain. The creation of the Parish of Oslob resulted to the place becoming a “visita” of the parish. Since it was a coastal barangay, the Spaniards erected watchtowers or baluartes to protect the Cebuanos from raiders coming from the south. Two of these watchtowers are still standing up to this date and have become one of the tourist attractions of the town. Today, Santander serves as a gateway to Negros Island through its ports in Liloan and Talisay.
The following are some of the places where tourists can drop by whenever they visit the town of Santander.
Baluarte in Liloan
The Baluarte in the barangay of Liloan is one of the places tourist can visit if they pass by the town. The baluarte or watchtower was built in the 17th century mainly as part of a defensive wall of Aloguinsan to protect the island against raiders coming from the south. The wall was part of a plan devised by a Spanish priest named Fr. Julian Bermejo to protect Cebu from pirates and raiders during the Spanish era.
The term sanayon is derived from the word “sanay,” which means abundance of harvest. The Sanayon Festival was initially held in 1993 to celebrate the bountiful harvest of fish and produce in the town. Fishing and agriculture are the main source of livelihood of Santander. The site where the festival is held is not only beautiful since it is also unique. At this location, visitors can see the islands of Bohol, Negros Sumilon and Siquijor. It is where one can see four of the major islands of Central Visayas. It is located in Barangay Pasil in Santander. A huge statue of a sigbin, a mythical creature, stands at the site. The place currently serves as a rest area for visitors and travelers going to Negros.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish Church was built in 1898 after parishioners requested its construction since they had to walk 18 kilometers just to attend mass at the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Oslob. The church originally faced the sea when it was built, but it was renovated in 1960 to make it face the road.
While Pebbles Beach Resort is among the many resorts in the town of Santander, it is considered as the most popular and is readily accessible from the Liloan port of Santander. It may offer simple facilities, but these are well-maintained. Visitors can also enjoy a remarkable view of the Island of Negros, which is around twenty minutes away from Cebu.
Another beach resort visitors can go to is Eden Beach Resort. It is easily the best resort in town with all the amenities it offers to its guests. The resort features the finest beach area in town along with the infinity pool. The resort offers well-appointed rooms for its guests.
Marine Village Dive House
For visitors looking to do some diving, the Marine Village Dive House is the place to be. It offers diving excursions for its guests to allow them to explore the world underneath the sea.