BANTAYAN – Origin of a name. BANTAYAN as the name implies has a very interesting history as an island group.
During the time of Governor Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera ( 1635 – 1644), the Visayas were continually harassed by the Moros. Consequently, tall stone walls and watchtowers wer built in the different parts of the archipelago, for refuge and protection of the people from the moro aggression. The tall walls surround the convent and the church including half of the area where the Public Plaza now is. These watchtowers were loacally known as “BANTAYAN SA HARI ” , meaning, ” WATCHTOWERS OF THE KING” “KING OF SPAIN”. The watchtowers served as look-outs for the incoming moro pirate vessels. In the course of their vigil after the moros, it became the common expression for them to say, BANTAYAN! BANTAYAN!, meaning, “KEEP WATCH! KEEP WATCH! , and that was how this island-group got its name. The presence of the relics of those watchtowers till today, attest to the well-fitting name BANTAYAN.
There are no dates to fix the time when the first people came to Bantayan, nor do we know of their places of origin. NO conscious records of their doings were left us to arrive at amuch certain conclusion. Some said, they can be traced back to Panay, others believed that the bulk of them were of cebuano origin, and still others say, they came from Leyte and Bohol.
However, there are indications that there existed some connections between Bantayan and the aforementioned places are the mixed dialects spoken by the people, the family names of the prominent old inhabitants, and their ancient culture such as cloth weaving, dances and architecture. AS to family names, the Rubios, the Arcenaces, and the Alvarezes, can be traced back to Panay, the Rodriquezes, the Ancajases, the Mansuetos and the Villacrusises to Cebu, the Villacins, The Villaflors, the Ortegas, and the Carabios to Leyte, the Hubahibs, the Garcias, the Caquilalas to Bohol. The majority of the old inhabitants, however, agree that they are a mixture of all these, a product of different blood and cultures.