The City Tourism Office of Puerto Princesa has showcased several heritage destinations, offering travelers a glimpse of the history and culture of the city and presenting them with places to explore during their vacation.
Among the noteworthy heritage sites featured with the help of Palawan vloggers Archie Barone and Naomi Llanto are the following:
1. Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm: Situated in Brgy. Iwahig, this historical site boasts a rehabilitated old building dating back to the 1920s. Once used as a prison facility, it now houses a souvenir shop where visitors can find unique keepsakes to commemorate their trip.
CTO II Levi Evangelista said Iwahig was established on November 16, 1904.
“Actually, this was established ahead of Puerto Princesa, and this old building that houses the souvenir shop was built in the 1920s. The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa made a resolution declaring Iwahig as the “City’s Cultural and Natural Treasure,” Evangelista said.
He said that Iwahig is proud to showcase the handicrafts made by some of the persons deprived of liberty (PDL), which can be bought as souvenirs.
2. Special Battalion World War II Memorial Museum: Found in Brgy. Bancao-Bancao, the museum offers a riveting collection of wartime artifacts and memorabilia. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the weaponry and equipment used during that era, providing a poignant reminder of the city’s past.
The museum was established by the family of local hero Dr. Higinio A. Mendoza Sr. His second eldest son, Higinio “Buddy” Mendoza Jr., set it up as a tribute to the Palaweños who fought during the war.
There is a wall in the museum that proudly displays the names of 1,000 guerrillas who were part of the Special Battalion and bravely fought in the city and province during the Japanese occupation.
3. Puerto Princesa Baywalk: Steeped in historical significance, the Puerto Princesa Baywalk is believed to be a site where Japanese seaplanes landed during World War II. Today, it stands as a serene waterfront destination where tourists can savor picturesque sunsets and enjoy leisurely strolls along the bay.
“Ito yong mga landingan ng mga seaplane ng mga Japanese noon. Ngayon ay kilala na bilang Puerto Princesa Baywalk, at hindi lang kilala ngunit marami ng mga pumupuntang turista,” Barone said.
4. Immaculate Conception Cathedral: Situated in Brgy. Mabuhay, this sacred landmark holds a special place in the city’s history as it hosted the first-ever mass. The momentous event reportedly took place on March 10, 1872, merely six days after the arrival of the Spaniards in the city.
Travelers can admire its architectural grandeur while reflecting on its spiritual importance.
5. Princess Eulalia Statue: Also located in Brgy. Mabuhay, the Princess Eulalia Statue commemorates the establishment of Puerto Princesa on March 4, 1872. The statue stands as a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Amid salvos of gunfire, Captain Don Jose Sostao, the head of the Spanish expedition, proclaimed the decree for the foundation of Puerto Princesa at this very site.
6. Plaza Cuartel: Nestled in Brgy. Liwanag, Plaza Cuartel serves as a haunting reminder of the city’s wartime past. Once a military base during World War II, the plaza witnessed a tragic event where 150 prisoners of war were burned.
Today, it serves as a somber memorial to honor their memory.
The City Tourism Office aims to promote awareness of Puerto Princesa’s heritage treasures, encouraging visitors to delve into the city’s vibrant history while fostering appreciation for its cultural significance.
It hopes that by showcasing these sites, Puerto Princesa would attract more tourists and provide them with a deeper understanding of the city’s roots.
City tourism office Demetrio Alvior Jr. said previously that Puerto Princesa is working to preserve and maintain these heritage destinations, ensuring that future generations can relish its historical richness.
As travel becomes more accessible, the City Tourism Office invites travelers to experience Puerto Princesa’s past and make captivating memories.
Whether it’s exploring the relics of the past, savoring the natural beauty, or immersing in the local culture, Puerto Princesa has something to offer every traveler, he said.