Palawan: Plaza Cuartel

Located in Puerto Princesa City in the province of Palawan, Plaza Cuartel is one of the historical sites in the capital of the province.

Originally built by the Spaniards as a garrison for their troops during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines, Plaza Cuartel has been converted into a plaza today where one can leisurely stroll and enjoy the beautiful view of the blue seas of Palawan.
NHI Marker: Tagalog Version
NHI Marker: English Version
Its serene and peaceful ambiance today is a far cry of the tragic events that happened there during the Second World War. During the last few months of the said war, the Japanese Imperial army, realizing their imminent defeat, decided to round up their American prisoners of war or POW and bring them to Plaza Cuartel . The prisoners were then asked to go in the air raid shelters where they were barricaded and drums of gasoline were poured over them. What happened next was literal hell. Some who tried to escape the burning air raid shelters were shot and hacked to death. Luckily, 11 managed to run and swim their way to the safety of Iwahig where locals hid them until the American Army liberated Palawan from the Japanese. Overall, more than 140 American POWs perished that day. 
The Story of Survival panels (A must read)
In memory of the sad event, two bronze markers were installed at the plaza entrance telling everyone what really happened there. After the war, Plaza Cuartel was reused by the Americans until it was passed on to the Philippines Constabulary, then the National Police. Then in 1997, it was renovated and turned into a leisure park.
The memorial marker

The names of those who perished can be found in this marker

I got to visit Plaza Cuartel with my family during our 4-day tour of Palawan. It as part of the Puerto Princesa City tour that was arranged by my dad. During our visit, there were panel displays about the massacre which gives the full detail of the event. We did't stay there that long though because our flight home was also scheduled that afternoon.
My daughter posing for the blog

Overall, Plaza Cuartel, despite it's dark history, is a must visit for families or lovers who want a place that is quiet and beautiful at the same time. 

Getting there:

From the airport, ride a van going to the city center. Tell the driver to drop you off near the cathedral. From there Plaza Cuartel is just a few meters away.

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