The new roundabout in Balayong People's Park in Puerto Princesa City. | Photo from the Puerto Princesa Tourism FB fan page/City Tourism Department.

Puerto Princesa recently opened to traffic a roundabout in the Balayong People’s Park, the center island of which features a moving artwork inspired by its rich flora and fauna, as well as a Batak tribe family.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron and other city officials were at the park on November 12 to cut the ribbon on the project that is meant to make its roads safer for the public and a tourist attraction.

Honesto Tevez, the rotunda’s architect, stated in a City Information Office (CIO) release that it adheres to the bespoke blue-green landscape design, which has a beneficial impact on the quality of urban life.

“The mini park rotunda [in] Balayong People’s Park in Puerto Princesa is a man-made tourist attraction that provides blue-green space development for the community. It is made up of greeneries and water features that serve as a relief from the city’s bustling traffic,” Tevez said.

The flora and fauna and Batak-themed rotunda (roundabout) at the Balayong People’s Park in Brgy. Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City. | Photo from the City Information Office

Earlier, Bayron said that the goal is for Puerto Princesa to have a new landmark that honors its rich cultural heritage and the Batak indigenous peoples (IP), who live in protected mountain areas with precious flora and fauna.

He said the design of the roundabout incorporates a wishing well, into which visitors can throw coins and make wishes.

“If you go all over the country, ito lang ang makikita mong rotunda na yong middle ano niya… umiikot, gumagalaw. Yong pinaka centerpiece nito, yong nasa gitna ng umiikot is a Batak family. Isa sa mga indigenous people here in the City of Puerto Princesa. Tapos yong lalaki, in a hunting position with blowgun yong kanyang hawak,” he said.

“Yong gitna noon, kasi may water, we are going to make the center water area as a wishing well. Kung mag-wish ka, you’ll throw a coin, tapos yong coin na maiipon, we will gather them once a year, or once a month, and we are giving them to the Bataks, or the young Bataks,” he added, explaining they may be used for their health care or education needs.

Opening the roundabout to traffic, according to Bayron, is not only a historic day but also an occasion that will help promote the city, the province of Palawan, and the country, whose citizens value their cultural heritage and natural resources.

“Tonight is a historic night for the City of Puerto Princesa, it is also a special night kasi ngayong gabi i-inaugurate ang Balayong Park rotunda na tutulong pasikatin ang lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, ang lalawigan ng Palawan, at ang bansang Pilipinas dahil tayo ang magdadala ng ganitong klase ng arkitektura at art na magpapakita na ang mga Pilipino ay hindi rin basta basta,” he said.