Municipality of Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines

Welcome to Daanbantayan (KANDAYA)!  Located at the northernmost tip of the Province of Cebu, the Municipality of Daanbantayan as of December 3, 2008 is now a 1st  class municipality composed of 20 barangays (2 island, 13 coastal and 5 inland) with a total land area of 10,455 hectares.  It has a population of 78,452 as of profile year, whose main source of livelihood is farming and fishing, owing to its mostly agricultural and coastal areas.  It is 128 kilometers from Cebu City, with about 3-4 hours travel time.

According to pre-Hispanic history, Daanbantayan was believed to be once ruled by a local chieftain or Datu called Datu Daya who was known for his good deeds and bravery by driving away invading foreigners and marauding moros.  To help strengthen his defenses, he built strategically placed watchtowers dubbed as “bantayan” which is constantly manned by the natives/residents keeping watch, or in the dialect “daang bantayan”, and so the present name “Daanbantayan” originated.  But before the town took on the name Daanbantayan, it was then called Kang Daya, in brief Kandaya, named after Datu Daya or Datu Daya’s, in his honor.  Not much has been known as to the actual date of the town’s establishment but as was the custom during the Spanish times, the friars or prayles decided to construct the church, now the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish Church way back in 1886, hence the establishment of the church marked the establishment of the town as well, being at the center of most settlements at that time.

Municipal Hall, Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines


The town was formerly known as Kandaya – from the name of the leader of the first Malayan settler, Datu Daya.   Kandaya was changed to Daanbantayan when the area was recognized as a municipality.

Daanbantayan was originally a visayan term for an old watchtower located in Brgy. Tapilon, which used to serve as a lookout for Moros marauding the coastal towns in the Visayas during the early Spanish times.

There are no definite records to indicate the exact year of the founding of the town of Daanbantayan. However, from the book called “Reseñas Historicas de los Dioceses de Cebu” published in the year 1886 it is mentioned that a certain priest, Rev. Juan Protacio Gallares, had been doing periodic inspection in the parish of Daanbantayan. The parish was inaugurated on August 10, 1858. Due to the fact that during the Spanish regime, the church and the state were more or less one in essence, it is logically assumed by many that the establishment of the town was made to coincide with the date of the inauguration of the parish.

Santa Rosa de Limi Parish Chruch, Daanbantayan

The Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish of Daanbantayan which was once part of Bantayan Island was founded in 1852. It was inaugurated on April 10, 1858. A permanent church was constructed through royal grants, with the inhabitants rendering forced labor. It was finished in 1886 during the term of Capitan Municipal Diego Arrojado. Padre Feliciano Torres was the parish priest during the construction. (Based on sources at Cebuano Studies Center).

There are no definite records to indicate the exact year of the founding of the town of Daanbantayan. However, from the Book called “Resena Historicas de los Dioceses de Cebu” published in the year 1886, it is mentioned that a certain priest, Rev. Fr. Juan Protacio Gallares had been doing periodic inspections in the parish of Daanbantayan.

The church was built during the Spanish times. It is made of brick stones and it still in a very good condition although there are interior portions that have already been renovated and the original design was already changed. But the façade is still intact and in its original design.

Town Plaza, Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines


Sometime in 1898, here on this site a battle was fought between the so-called Daanbantayan Volunteers and the well-armed 19 bandits led by Capitan Berino. For some hours the bandits could not penetrate the town’s line of defense due to rains of stones. However, as the stones became lesser and lesser, some volunteers began abandoning their posts and retreated far back. Taking advantage of this situation, Capitan Berino arrogantly advanced forward with a lone bodyguard and demanded for the surrender of the town. At this moment a volunteer from Bagay and following behind him his lone bodyguard, sprang up from the line and confronted the bandit leader. An instant duel between the invading leader and the Daanbantayan was agreed. For some moments it was a two-man battle. The turning point of the duel and the battle as well ended when Capitan Berino was wounded. Sensing that he is facing a skillful opponent, he, Capitan Berino ran back to his line and ordered an escape from the town. Thus the town was saved by this unknown volunteer who later on unmasked his identity. He was Igwal, an Ilonggo from Panay island, the most feared “boyong”, and an escapee. As a price for his landing on our shores, he vowed to serve the town and Patron Saint Rose of Lima in whatever ways.

San Pedro River, Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines



A site meters away from the northern bank was believed to be once an abandoned Muslim settlement founded by Datu Daya during the Pre-Spanish era. (The existence of this community is evidenced by the presence of ancient relics and human bones so closely buried on a particular spot on distance away from said settlement, now the site of Saint Martin de Porres Academy). Many years later after the complete Christianization of Cebu Island, a group of immigrants settled on the northern tip of Cebu in inland hills now named Badyang, a sitio of barangay Tinubdan. By exploring northwestward, the settlers discovered a long, deep, wide river which is now the San Pedro River. Finding it ideal for a permanent community, the settler at Badyang agreed to settle down and established an organized barrio on this site. Years later through oral traditions, the inhabitants came to learn that the place they occupied was the settlement of Datu Daya. A sense of high regard for ancient tradition, the inhabitants adapted and named their new settlement “Kandaya” meaning Datu Daya’s ancient village.

Tapilon Point, Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines



Right within this stood the watchtower of Kandaya. Said watchtower served as the advance lookout and a warning post for incoming Moro vintas carrying Moro pirates who were harassing the inhabitants of Kandaya. Thus it was referred to as “bantayanan”. Years later the Moro raiders changed their target of piracy to the island of Bantayan. A new watchtower was erected in that place. Gradually the watchtower at Tapilon Point (also known as Punta Sampero) was locally called “daang bantayanan”. It was from this name that Daanbantayan got its official name, meaning “old watchtower”. However, there is no remain now as to the existence of the watchtower in the past and the area is now developed by spouses James Jones and Monina Sanchez Jones, who owns the land and she puts her own structure.

About the year 1800, a group of families composed roughly of about seven to ten according to an earlier account of the late Aurelio Moralde Arrogante Sr., then Municipal Secretary of Daabantayan, Cebu, settled on a hill earlier named as “Punta sa Sampero.” From the historical records of Daanbantayan, “Punta sa Sampero” or Sampero point has been called “Bantayanan” or “Bantayan” being a strategic location from which moro vintas pssing through the Visayan sea could be seen and their approach towards the Northern most place of Cebu could be detected.

The earlier settlers headed by Leon Dublin were tasked by the leaders of the bigger settlement area on the site where the present Poblacion of Daanbantayan is established, to act as watchers for the approach of moro vintas which at that time was notoriously known for piracy in the Visayan sea and manned by ruthless sailors who were out and in search for natives they can take as captives to be turned over to their sultans and datus as slaves. Punta Sampero then was a vantage point and strategic location visible from the Poblacion of Daanbantayan.

White Sand Beaches, Daanbantayan, Cebu



Welcome to the tourists haven of the north, Daanbantayan (Kandaya). It is with pride that I invite you come and visit our place - a progressive town, for leisure.

Daanbantayan is now known globally because of our pristine powder-like white sandy beaches – one of which is the famous Malapascua Island. With its vast and rich marine resources, there are also dive sites that offer unique marine life and beauty. It is only in Daanbantayan where one sees big Manta Rays and the Thresher Shark (the one and only kind in the world).

As a tourist destination, Daanbantayan is also keen on staging Haladaya Festival every year as an added attraction to tourist and balikbayans from all over the world who come to visit the place. For the Daanbantayanons out there, see the difference of what our town before and today and more so in the future!

The guarantee of truth is for you to come and explore-and always feel very welcome.

Mayor Sun. J. Shimura

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