(PN Photo)

The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm was one of the featured destinations during the Pasyar Kita! Palawan Philippine Experience Program (PEP) caravan held in Puerto Princesa on Wednesday, April 10.

Department of Tourism in Mimaropa said the facility provided PEP delegates with a unique glimpse into its operations.

During the program, persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) captivated the audience with their singing and dancing performances, showcasing their talents and skills.

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) Superintendent Gary Garcia highlighted the site’s significance in tourism, citing its rich history, scenic views, century-old structures, and unique approach to correctional services.

“Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) has been part of the tourism train visited by locals and foreign tourists of Puerto Princesa. It was declared as one of the city’s Cultural and Natural Treasures of which we’ve welcomed thousands of guests from different parts of the world, as this place catches both the heart and mind of the visitors through its rich history, scenic views, hundred-old structures, and its unique way of corrections service that upholds the goal of reforming the PDLs under our care positively,” he said.

The PDLs also had the opportunity to showcase their handicrafts and interact with PEP delegates, contributing to the local tourism economy.

The collaboration between tourism initiatives and correctional facilities like Iwahig presents a unique opportunity to promote understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions.

DOT Mimaropa expressed optimism about the collaborative effort, emphasizing the potential to enhance the tourism experience in Puerto Princesa and showcase the beauty and resilience of the Philippines.

Established in 1904 by the Americans, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm originally served as an agricultural penitentiary, supplying food to other prisons across the country.

In recent years, the facility has evolved into more than just a correctional institution. It now accommodates PDLs from the New Bilibid Prison, aiming to regionalize incarceration and alleviate congestion in the country’s main penitentiary.