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An aerial view of the city (click to enlarge)
Legend attributes the name Puerto Princesa to the appearance of a princess-like maiden of rare beauty who would roam around the bay at night during certain times of the year. Other authorities contend that name was derived from geographical location of the place as a port-being naturally protected from inclemencies of the weather all year round with sufficient depth to allow ships of all sizes to anchor. It is truly a "Princess if Ports" or in Spanish Puerto Princesa.
Historical records, however, show that the name was given in honor of Princess Eulalia of Spain. She was born in 1864 to the reigning monarch, Queen Isabela II and her consort Dr. Francisco de Asis. But when the princess met an untimely death, the Queen changed the name to Puerto de la Princesa. Eventually, it was reduced to Puerto Princesa as it is known today.
Spanish colonizers founded the settlement on march 4, 1872. It was converted to a city on January 1, 1970 under Republic Act 5906 as amended by Presidential Decree 437 through the effort of then Congressman Ramon V. Mitra. The first city mayor was Feliberto Oliveros, Jr.
Puerto Princesa City, aside from being the seat of public administration is the center of trade, commerce and education of the province.
The city has gained the distinction of being a model city in cleanliness, environmental protection and conservation and local governance in general.
cockatoo, bearcat, kiao
Palawan Island is known as a GAME REFUGE AND HAVEN OF PHILIPPINE WILDLIFE. Of the thousand species of the Philippine wildlife and birds, 232 species of wildlife and 206 species of birds are found in the island.
The Palawan Peacock Pheasant locally known as Tandikan, the official seal of the City of Puerto Princesa, is the smallest and the most beautiful pheasant in the avian kingdom.
The Palawan Cherry in February to April
Puerto Princesa City, one of the largest cities in the country has a land area of 253,982 hectares stretching over 106 kilometers long with its narrowest breadth of 8.5 kilometers at Barangay Bahile.
Puerto Princesa lies in the heart of the long and narrow island province of Palawan. It is approximately 306 nautical miles from Manila, 206 to Panay Island and 250 to Zamboanga. It is 55 minutes by air from Manila via Philippine Airlines or Air Philippines. It takes 18 to 20 hours by the sea from Manila on board WG&A Superferry and Negros Navigation Ships and 18 hours away from Negros Island.
It is bounded on the North by the Municipalities of San Vicente and Roxas. and on the South by the Municipality of Aborlan. Its western side is a coastline of the South China Sea.
The City has a total of 66 barangays of which 35 are urban while 31 rural.
A chain of tall mountains ranges through the entire length of the city, dividing it into two distinct areas, the east cost and the west coast. the eastern side is characterized by thin strandlines bordered by swamplands, following a series of wide flat plains to hilly terrain. The west coast has less to offer, being pinched by craggy foothills and rugged mountains close to the sea. Generally, the terrain ranges from 10 to 10,000 meters above sea level with rugged mountain areas in the interior. Its highest peak is Cleopatra's Needle at 1,605 meters.
The city of seldom hit by typhoon. However the best time to travel to any point in the city is during the months of March to May.
The City has two prevailing types of climate. The type that prevails in the west coast has two distinct seasons: six months dry (November to April) and six months wet (May - October) with the heaviest record rainfall in September. The lowest or driest months occur in February. Western barangays (New Panggangan, Marufinas, Cabayugan, Tagabinet, Buenavista, Bahile, Macarascas, Simpocan, Bagong Bayan and Napsan) fall within this type. The type prevailing in the east has a short dry season with varying heavy rainfall months. Dry months have been recorded during months of January to April.
Puerto Princesa has two prevailing winds. The Northeast (NE) monsoon and southwest (SW) monsoon. NE generally sets in October and continues until April. It blows between north and northeast with a tendency toward an easterly direction at the end of the season. It has a velocity ranging from 15 to 25 kilometers per hour at its height and an average of six kilometers per hour. Rain clouds during the NE monsoon practically lose all the moisture before reaching the southwest part of the archipelago. Thus the city and the province as a whole receive no rainfall towards the end of the NE (January to April).
SW or the summer monsoon follows the NE after a transition period of variable winds and calms. It prevails from June to October. It blows most steadily during July to August reaching a maximum velocity of about 35 kilometers per hour. In October or during the close of the of SW monsoon, strong winds occur in the southern part of the city. The southwest winds bring torrential rains but with uneven distribution.
The NE and SW monsoons affect the eastern and western part of the city. When this winds blow, the seas are very rough. The calm months of the year are from April through June on both the eastern and western side of the city.
The City has a uniform high temperature. Generally, the warmest months area March, April and May. The coolest are November, December, January and February. It has more or less uniform as well as high relative humidity. The range is from 79 to 86 percent with an annual mean of 84 percent.
Puerto Princesa is a melting pot of people with different cultures. This is attributed to the influx of migrants from other Philippine provinces. One of the reasons for the city's high annual growth rate at 6.6 percent. The predominant local tongue is Cuyuno. However, other languages like English and Tagalog, and dialects such as Bicolano, Cebuano, Hilgaynon, Ilocano are widely spoken.
One of the most fascinating hill tribes in the Philippines found in the mountains north of Puerto Princesa City. They are literally a vanishing tribe spread out in eight settlements between the Babuyan and Langogan Rivers. Among their rituals is sagda which the Babailan perform in thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest or to drive away or appease the evil spirits. It is also performed to cure the sick. The rhythm of the tarek, the ritual dance depends on the mood of the dancers. Some are imitative of their occupation such as hunting wild boar. They use strips of unique palm leaves called palaspas. The most colorful among the hill-tribes their womenfolk are fond of wearing flowers on their hair, beads for necklace and bracelets and squirrels tail on their back.
Considered the original race of the people inhabiting the province. They are most cultured of the hill tribes because they have an alphabet of their own. A ceremonial dance of the Tgbanuas is the Pagdiwata, religious rite perform either for thanksgiving or for healing the sick. This is adopted by the Bayanihan Dance troupe of the Philippine Women University, Manila. For stage performances and had been popularized not only here in the Philippines but also abroad.
Among the original inhabitants of Palawan Island, the Cuyonons are the most developed group. They possess a rich legacy of folklores and traditions. Their music, songs and dances are refined and show influence of their western conquistadores.
Otherwise known as the Feast of the Forest, the program was first launched in June 1992 by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff. It is celebrated every third week of June. Its main objective is to reforest and rehabilitate denuded forest areas in the city. Today over a million threes has been planted in its old site at Barangay Irawan Watershed and over 100,000 tree seedlings on its new site at Sitio Magarwak on June 24, 2000.
One of the main features of the Pista y and Kageban are the environmental messages relayed in the form of cultural songs and dances by the Sinika and Pangkat Kalinangan.
Launched on August 11,1992, the Oplan Linis Program is top on the list of the city's crowd drawers. Puerto Princesa in 1894 was cited as one of the most beautiful towns in the country with its streets, building and houses arranged in an orderly manner. Its surroundings were kept clean and green by its constituents. One hundred years later, on December 14, 1994 it received it received and award of excellence as the cleanest and greenest component city in the Philippines and the Hall of Fame award on December 15, 1996.
People from all walks of life and from all parts of the country be it under the Lakbay Aral program of the Local Government Unit they represent or private groups come to visit the city. To study and learn lessons on how Puerto Princesa City has transformed from a city to be haven of prisoners and malaria causing mosquitoes to be come the country's model in cleanliness.
Located along Rizal Avenue, in the heart of the city, the park is named after Dr. Higinio Mendoza. He is the war hero of Palawan. Dr. Mendoza is known for his bravery for resisting Japanese rule. This led to his execution at Canigaran Beach, Puerto Princesa on January 24, 1944. His remains together with other unknown soldiers were interred into the memorial shrine found at one side of the park.
In 1872, a Spanish expedition proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of Mary as the patroness of Puerto Princesa. That same year, the first mass was celebrated here. But it was in 1961 for that Cathedral was under Bishop Gregorio Espiga. The Angular structure departs from the most churches in other parts of the Philippines, providing visitors with an interesting glimpse of unconventional religious structure.
Located along Rizal Avenue, in the park features the statue of the Philippines' National hero Jose Rizal.
Located along Taft Street, beside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, the park is the restored ruins of an old garrison. Where Japanese soldiers burned 143 prisoners of war inside a tunnel. It stands as a grim reminder of the World War II atrocities. Only 10 prisoners survived to tell the story of what happened inside the tunnel.
Located along Quezon Street, the park features the statue of the princess after whom the park was named and a pocket forest. The statue faces Puerto Princesa Bay.
Inscribed in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list in on December 4, 1999 on the merit of it as magnificent subterranean river with unique formation that empties into the sea. The watershed areas of the river within the park is covered by primary forest which is home to many endemic species of animals and plants. It encompasses of unequal variety of ecosystems, making it high scientific and conservation interest. The only park in the country situated within the city boundaries. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean river National Park's main feature is the Cabayugan river which flows in an easterly direction for over eight kilometers under a spectacular massif limestone karst toward the south china sea. The lowest four kilometers of river is navigable by small boats.
Located at Barangay Cabayugan reputed to be the world's longest river winding to a spectacular cave emptying into the south china sea. Cathedral-like chambers, wide corridors and interesting geological formations led the wide-eyed visitor to groto hidden beneath St. Paul mountain. At the entrance of the rivers mouth is a clear lagoon, a wide sand beach clumped by ancient trees growing at the water's edge. Monkeys. large monitor lizards and squirrels find their niche on this trees. Visitors may also bird-watch, mountain trek and explore the deeper part of the forest .
The park information center at Sabang may organize park tours for visitors. Pump boats (motorized small boats with outriggers) ferry visitors from Sabang to the park for 20 minutes or visitors may try the monkey trail, a two hour hike from Sabang to the underground river.
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Located at Barangay Irawan, a joint project of the Philippine and Japanese governments, the Crocodile Farm is a showcase of successful conservation project. The farm breeds two endangered species found in the country including the endemic Philippine crocodile. There is also a mini-zoo where the colorful Nicobar Pegion, the raucous talking mynah, the elusive bearcat and other animals found in Palawan are sheltered.
located at Barangay Iwahig, this tiny resort is favorite picnic area of local residents. Huts line the bank of a river where clear water falls from the mountain springs.
The Iwahig Prison and Penal farm was established by the Americans in 1904 to supply food to other prisons all over the country. A prison without walls, inmates ten vast farms and engaged in handicrafts and other souvenir items.
A popular tourist spot located midway to Napsan about 50 meters from the main road. Three layers of waterfalls plunge into the deep pools. Rare species of butterflies can be found in the area. Picnic huts and two cottages are available for overnight stay.
Located at Barangay Napsan on its shores are long stretches of sand punctuated by rocky promontories. Nestled on the Western Coast South of the City proper. Napsan offers a tranquil and rustic setting. The place is perfect for quiet vacation where one can unwind amidst its pristine surroundings. Beautiful sunsets can be viewed from this side. Food and accommodation is offered by a sea side lodge.
Located at Barangay Sta.Lucia, an alternative destination for those who are tired of the sand and the sea. A series of Pools, picnic huts and tables, dressing rooms are among the basic amenities of the area. The place is landscaped with trees, ornamentals and flowers that provides a perfect setting for the spa resort.
Located at barangay Sta. Lourdes, this hot spring is very accessible from the city proper.
Note: Philippine Tel. Code is 63, Palawan Tel. Code is 48. When dialing for Palawan (++63-48-local number). Please tell them you found their telephone number or email address in this website. (www.palawan.2ya.com). Thanks!
Credits: Text and Image Contents are prepared by EDNA PONCE DE LEON-DARJUAN and ZORELLE ALANIS of City Tourism Office
Digitized and Web Design by: Elysian Field Realty Service for the People of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan Province.