A break from Puerto Princesa’s bright and cheery tourist spots is Plaza Cuartel. Its cold and dark past still resonates around the place… If you’re a student of history or a fan of colonial architecture, then make sure to go to Plaza Cuartel.
Brief History of Plaza Cuartel
For the ordinary tourist, Plaza Cuartel—along with its rustic structure—is a good sightseeing spot. However, it is also famous due to the grim event that took place there: the Palawan Massacre. In late World War II, the garrison of Plaza Cuartel housed Japanese invaders. It was during this time that 150 American soldiers were captured, starved and beaten to a pulp over the course of their imprisonment. Then on December 14, 1944, the Japanese soldiers doused them in gasoline and burned them with torches. Only 11 American soldiers survived the horrible ordeal. Their names, along with those who died at the garrison, are etched on a bronze memorial.
Strolling Around Plaza Cuartel
Taking a walk around Plaza Cuartel is an adventure in itself. The place is a treasure trove of cultural and historical heritage. There are beautiful murals and monuments that relate the Plaza’s history. There are kalesas (horse-drawn carriages) and wooden benches that you can sit on in case you just want to admire the wonders of Plaza Cuartel.
But the highlight of the Plaza is the garrison itself. The cells and tunnels are dark and foreboding; you can spot the rusty bars where the American soldiers were imprisoned. The place will definitely give you goosebumps. Amplified with the weight of the story it carries, the dark tunnels and garrison are now a tourist attraction and a research venue for students and historians.
Plaza Cuartel is open from 8am to 5pm, and strolling around the plaza is free of charge.
Check out the awesome things you can do in Puerto Princesa here!
(Feature image taken from: pinterest.com)