The Municipality of Daanbantayan has been enjoying its present name since the year 1834. Before that date, it was called Kandaya, which was derived from the name of DatuDaya, the leader of the first Malayan settlers of the place. When the district was made a town, Kandaya was changed to Daanbantayan. The new name came from the word Bantayan, a place which served as a lookout for Moro raiders. The original site of Bantayan was on a vantage point of Punta situated in the district of Tapilon. It is in the eastern part of Cebu. When another lookout was erected on the island, which is now called Bantayan, the old lookout at Tapilon to be called Daanbantayan.
There are no definite records to indicate the exact year of the founding of the town of Daanbantayan. But from the book called “Resenas Histoticas De Las Dioceses de Cebu” published in the year 1886, it is mentioned that a certain priest, Rev. Father Juan Protasio Gallares, had been doing periodic inspections 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 state were more or less one in essence, it is logically assumed by many that the establishment of the towns was made to coincide with the date of the inauguration of the parish. On the other hand, if we are to divide the number of executives who ruled the town during the Spanish regime, we would arrive to the conclusion that the town had already begun to function since the year 1840.
When the parish of Daanbantayan was once a part of Bantayan, it was decided to make Daanbantayan a parochial unit on April 25, 1855. But since it was decided to make Daanbantayan a parochial unit on April 25, 1855 it was still inaccessible by roads from the City of Cebu, its inauguration as a parish was delayed. It was finally inaugurated on April 10, 1858, with the selection of “Santa Rosa de Maria” as its patron saint.
One of the deeply loved parish priests of Daanbatayan was Father Feliciano Torres. He was one of the richest residents and was the true friend of the masses. During a severe famine, the poor of the town went to the priest with whatever personal property that was of value, in order to sell or exchange it for foodstuffs. He gave what he could and was thus largely responsible for saving many people from the famine. The priest is also credited with the construction of the present church of Daanbantayan.
In the years preceding 1834, in the mountain of Padyang (now called Tinubdan) there lived a respected, dynamic leader named Jose Moralde. He was familiarly called Don Osep Moralde. During the time when marauding Moros frequently raided Daanbantayan, he always led his people in fighting the marauders. Thus the people looked up to him as their protector. When the Moro danger stopped, the resident of the hills and mountains decided to come down to settle in the lowlands. For his heroic services, Done Osep was chosen the first executive of Daanbanatayan. Since then other worthy sons of the town have subsequently served as its heads.