Santander has overcome the setbacks of being farthest from the seat of government in Cebu City. Located at Cebu island’s southernmost tip, Santander serves as Cebu’s gateway by providing an accessible connection to and from neighboring places such as Dumaguete City in Negros and Siquijor.

     Gone was the monopoly that gripped the town, and now there are at least three seaports where one could get a 15-minute boat ride from Santander to Negros island. Passengers are not the only ones being served by the town’s ports as bigger, roll-on roll-off sea vessels are also available to cater to traders’ goods.

     Violent incidents have been a part of Santander’s long history. But these have been relegated to remain just that- a part of history. This is because tourists are now enjoying the peace in the town with its white sand beaches and clear seas and beautiful night skies. Slowly deviating from its mainly agriculture-based economy, more than 11 tourism resorts can now be found in Santander, and most are reasonably priced so even ordinary workers could afford a couple of days’ stay on the beach away from the city.

     Santander’s image has also transformed with the changing of the town’s leaders in 2001. When before Santander was identified with child labor and destructive means of fishing, Santander officials today are advocates for marine and coastal resources protection. Resorts have diving facilities, and marine life flourishes at a sanctuary in Barangay Pasil. There’s a plan to add one more marine sanctuary in the town, as local law enforcement authorities continue to be vigilant in their drive against commercial and destructive ways of fishing.

     With an economy based on sustainable fishing, farming, trading and tourism, Santander is well on its way to a development that is balanced and nondestructive to its environment.

      Considering the many changes this faraway town has achieved in this decade, those who knew the dark Santander of the past are in for many pleasant surprises.

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