palawan’s puerto princesa may be famous for its underground river but the said river is in sabang, about two and a half hours’ ride away from the city.
the city proper itself doesn’t really hold that many attractions, if you want to know the truth.
although the plaza cuartel is a place worthy of a visit because it is a living, breathing scar of palawan’s dark history. a reminder of a horrific past which calls for the appreciation of today’s freedom.
according to wikipedia, Plaza Cuartel is the restored ruins of an old garrison where Japanese soldiers burned 143 American prisoners of war inside a tunnel and stands as a grim reminder of World War II.
although “grim” may perhaps be an understatement considering the evil-ness of the japanese soldiers’ actions on that hellish day on the 14th of december 1944.
and yeah, that’s the hole where the american prisoners of war were forced to get into. before they were dowsed in gasoline and burned alive inside the narrow tunnel.
apart from the eleven who survived by swimming out across the sea into the nearby barangay ihawig, the mossy walls lived to speak of the tragedy, albeit in silence. its damp smell caused by years and years of tears.
somewhere in the middle of the cuartel-turned-park is the palawan massacre monument created by don schloat, a veteran of WWII and one of the lucky survivors of the tragedy.
engraved on the markers are the names of the american soldiers whose lives were sacrificed in the mindless games of war.
like the rest of palawan, the park is very clean with lots of trees and supply of fresh air. it’s a nice place to hang out, really, but because we were on a city tour, we were off to the next destination…