Santander, officially the Municipality of Santander, (Cebuano: Lungsod sa Santander; Tagalog: Bayan ng Santander), is a 4th class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 17,857 people.
Santander is the southernmost municipality of Cebu province about 134 km (83 mi) south of Cebu City with travel time taking about 3-4 hours. It serves as one of the sea ports connecting to the province of Negros Oriental with its passenger ferries making way to Sibulan in just 20 minutes.
Santander is bordered to the north by the towns of Oslob and Samboan, to the west is Tañon Strait, to the east is the Cebu Strait, and to the south is the province of Negros Oriental in Negros Island.
Roll-on roll-off (roro) barges of the Maayo Shipping Lines also carry motorcycles, cars, buses, and trucks between the ports of Liloan (in Santander) and Sibulan (in Negros Oriental) with trips taking about 30 minutes, and between Liloan and Larena (in Siquijor) in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Santander was originally called Tañong, but as the Spaniards came, it was renamed Santander after a city on the northern (Atlantic) coast of Spain.
The town was established in 1867 and the parish in 1897, It became a municipality during the American occupation in 1918.
Santander is known for its annual Tostado Festival celebrated on the third Sunday of April. Street dancers from different districts dance to moves inspired by the making of tostados.
Santander’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased in the past few years, since it serves as the hub for some world-renowned dive spots like Apo Island, Balicasag, Pescador Island, Sumilon and Siquijor. This is also reflected in the growth of Santander in the tourism industry. Six years ago there were only two resorts, still open today. Today there are eleven.
The Island of Sumilon is located at the southeastern tip of the Municipality of Oslob in the province of Cebu. The island has an area of 24 hectares and has clear waters with varying aquamarine hues and white sand beaches in different areas of the island.
It is the first marine protected area in the Philippines and was created as a marine sanctuary in 1974 under the guidance of the Siliman University Marine Reserve of Dumaguete City in the nearby province of Negros Oriental.
The island is famous throughout the country and internationally for the exceptional beauty of its dive sites. Sumilon has four major dive sites, which are Garden Eel Plaza, Nikki’s Wall, Coral Landscape and Julie’s Rock. The island’s diving sites are famous for their superb visibility, stunning reefs and abundance of varied tropical marine species that provide an ideal and memorable dive. There are occasional sightings of black tip sharks during dives.
A popular attraction in Sumilon Island is its sandbar because of its changing shapes and shifting locations around the island depending on the season. Other places of interest in the island are a natural lagoon teeming with high mangroves and natural caves used by fishermen to seek refuge during storms, and a pristine lake.
On the south portion of the island, a lighthouse rests on a protected tree park and beside it is a “baluarte,” a historical watchtower built as part of a warning system to thwart slavers and marauders in the 19th century.
Besides diving, you can also go bird watching, do beach picnics with the family, fishing, hiking, island tours, paddling and trekking.
Santander, Cebu Pebbles Beach
PEBBLES BEACH RESORT – One of the best stress relievers that is actually needed by each of us once in a while is a relaxing vacation. You’ve been doing this and that everyday and it’s time to deviate from the routine and go to awesome places like the Pebbles Beach Resort in Santander, Cebu.
Oslob, Cebu Whale shark
Whale sharks can be spotted in Tan‑awan which is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the center of the town. It has become a popular tourist attraction. Local fishermen feed the whale sharks by hand which tourists find entertaining.
In the vicinity of whale shark swimming is a recent attraction: Tumalog Falls. Most tourists and visitors who go whale shark swimming in Tanawan usually include this waterfall in their itinerary