Bantayan is the main and largest island of the Bantayan island group that lies close to the geographical centre of the Philippine archipelago.
Lawis was the old name of Madridejos. Even today people still use the name "Lawis", meaning "promontory", the portion carved out to constitute the municipality of Madridejos being the peninsula located on the northern side of Bantayan island facing the Visayan Sea.
During the time of governor Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera (1635–1644), the Visayas were continually harassed by the Moros, who wreaked dreadful havoc, capturing, massacring, robbing, sacking churches, and burning everything there was.
The kota (cota or cuta = fort) also built in 1630. Blowing of the budyong[a] served as signal of the coming of the Moros. A watch tower was built in Kaongkod, a barrio about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the fort. It is the place from where the approach of the Moros could easily be seen, to give a timely warning to the townsfolk of their coming. All watchtowers on Bantayan were built by Fr. Doroteo Andrada del Rosario, parish priest of Bantayan in the 19th century (Moro attacks were worst around 1840s).
The general scenery of Lawis was that of a quiet place, of virgin grounds covered by small shrubs and lantana. When more people discovered Lawis and flocked to it, the place became a visita.
In 1917 the pueblo Lawis became a municipality named Madridejos. This was the name given to the third town of Bantayan island in honour of Benito Romero de Madridejos the former archbishop of Cebu. [b] The town's feast day is celebrated annually on 8 December.