Puerto Princesa

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Puerto Princesa
City of Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa - The Emerald Beach and Nature Park.jpg
Dos Palmas RP.JPG
Docking area to Underground River.jpg
Palawan Capitol.jpg
Puerto Princesa seafront.JPG
From top, left to right: Emerald Beach and Nature Park, Dos Palmas Resort, Sabang, Palawan Provincial Capitol, Puerto Princesa seafront
Flag of Puerto Princesa
Official seal of Puerto Princesa
  • Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines[1]
  • The City in the Forest[2]
  • City of the Living God[2]
Anthem: Martsa ng Puerto Princesa (Puerto Princesa March)
Map of Mimaropa with Puerto Princesa highlighted
Map of Mimaropa with Puerto Princesa highlighted
Puerto Princesa is located in Philippines
Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 9°45′N 118°45′E / 9.75°N 118.75°E / 9.75; 118.75Coordinates: 9°45′N 118°45′E / 9.75°N 118.75°E / 9.75; 118.75
RegionMimaropa (Region IV-B)
ProvincePalawan (geographically only)
District3rd District
CityhoodJune 21, 1961
Highly Urbanized CityJuly 9, 2007
Barangays66 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorLucilo R. Bayron
 • Vice MayorMaria Nancy M. Socrates
 • RepresentativeGil A. Acosta Jr.
 • Electorate153,871 voters (2019)
 • Total2,381.02 km2 (919.32 sq mi)
98 m (322 ft)
 (2015 census) [5]
 • Total255,116
 • Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class1st city income class
 • Poverty incidence11.25% (2015)[6]
 • Revenue₱2,379,982,208.42 (2016)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)48
Climate typetropical climate
Native languagesPalawan Batak

Puerto Princesa, officially the City of Puerto Princesa (Cuyonon: Siyudad i'ang Puerto Princesa; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the region of Mimaropa (Region IV-B), Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 255,116 people. [5]

It is a city located in the western province of Palawan, and is the westernmost city in the Philippines. Though the seat of government and capital for the province, the city itself is one of 38 independent cities within the Philippines not controlled by the province in which it is geographically located and is therefore an independent area located within Palawan.

It is the least densely populated city in the Philippines. In terms of land area, the city is the second largest geographically after Davao City with an area of 2,381.02 square kilometres (919.32 sq mi).[7] Puerto Princesa is the location of the Philippines' Western Command headquarters.[8]

Today, Puerto Princesa is a tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. It has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.[9]


The name Puerto Princesa have several origins. It is said to have been attributed by locals to a princess-like maiden who roam the place at certain nights of the year, while other accounts attributed its geographical advantage as a seaport which is a naturally protected area due to its surrounding mountains, and is characterized by a depth able to accommodate any size of shipping vessel.[10]

Historically, this place was originally named Port Asuncion after Princess Asuncion, one of the princesses born to Isabella II of Spain and her consort, Francis, Duke of Cádiz. When the princess suffered an untimely death, the Queen changed the name to Puerto de la Princesa. Eventually, the name was shortened to Puerto Princesa.[11]


Spanish period[edit]

A 1904 map of Puerto Princesa

Spanish colonizers founded the settlement on March 4, 1872 in the course of their exploration of the province. As they scanned the Palawan shoreline for a capital site, they came upon a hill with steep declivity. Rowing to shore, they surveyed the hill and discovered an extensive plateau which they decided as ideal for settlement.

Soon after, Fr. Antonio Muro levelled a portion of the hill to make way for a chapel (that section is now occupied by the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the P.C. Barracks and the Rizal Park, the Old Municipal Building used to be there, as well as an Elementary School). The first mass celebrated in Puerto Princesa took place at a site where a marker now stands.

In May 1872, the Port of Puerto Princesa became the center of Spanish Naval Operations in the area because the Bay met all the Navy's requirements. Royal Decrees later provided incentives to settlers, and by 1883 the settlement had flourished into a town of twelve roads, a hospital and well-built port.

In 1894, Puerto Princesa was recognized by government authorities as one of the most beautiful towns in the country by virtue of the orderly distribution of streets, buildings and houses as well as the cleanliness of the community.[citation needed]

American period and World War II[edit]

In 1911, the New American Administration made Puerto Princesa the seat of the Palawan Provincial Government with Major John Brown as Lieutenant Governor.

Plaza Cuartel, the site of the infamous Palawan Massacre committed by the Imperial Japanese Army

In the year 1936, Governor Heginio Mendoza made a directive on the transfer of the Palawan High School (currently Palawan National School) from the island municipality of Cuyo to the central place of the province, which was the Municipality of Puerto Princesa.[12]

During WWII and the Japanese occupation, the village was largely abandoned. On May 18, 1942, Japanese troops landed and occupied Puerto Princesa City.[13]

The Filipino Constabulary barracks was the scene of the Palawan Massacre, just before liberation with the allied Invasion of Palawan.[14]

Post-World War II[edit]

In 1951, the barrios of Tinitian, Caramay, Rizal, Del Pilar, Malcampo, Tumarbong, Taradungan, Ilian, and Capayas were separated to form the town of Roxas.[15]

In 1955, the sitios of Materingen, Tandayag, Nasedoc, and Panlawagan were separated from the barrio of Maroyogon and elevated into a barrio.[16]

In 1956, the sitios of Calagbenguen, Tarabanan, Bendoyan, Talabigan, Tagbuan, and Langogan were constituted into the barrio of Concepcion.[17]

In 1957, the barrio of Tapul was renamed to Salvacion.[18]

Cityhood and today[edit]

The town was converted into a city on 1 January 1970 under Republic Act 5906 as amended by P.D. 437,[19][20] through the effort of then Congressman Ramon Mitra, Jr. Feliberto R. Oliveros, Jr., who then became the first City Mayor.

In May 2001, Abu Sayyaf gunmen entered the luxury Dos Palmas Resort in Honda Bay just off the coast of Puerto Princesa and kidnapped 20 people from the resort, including four resort staff and three Americans.[21]

On March 26, 2007, Proclamation No. 1264, converting the city of Puerto Princesa into a highly urbanized city, was signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The plebiscite was held along with Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu on July 21, 2007. The majority of voters voted to accept the conversion into a HUC. Puerto Princesa became the 31st highly urbanized city in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the "Yes" votes won in Lapu-Lapu City, making the city as the 32nd highly urbanized city in the country.

Since its foundation, Puerto Princesa has been the nerve center of activities in Palawan. Aside from being the seat of public administration, it is the heart of trade, commerce, service, and industry in the province.


Puerto Princesa is located in the midsection of Palawan Island. It is bound to the east by the Sulu Sea, to the west iby the South China Sea, to the north by the municipalities of San Vicente and Roxas, and to the south by the municipality of Aborlan. It is approximately 306 nautical miles (567 km) from the Philippine capital of Manila, 205 nautical miles (380 km) from Panay Island, and 250 nautical miles (460 km) from Zamboanga City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.


Administratively and politically, Puerto Princesa is divided into 66 barangay or 1st to 2nd district s, 35 of which are classified as urban barangays and 31 as rural.[22]

  • Babuyan (Rural)
  • Bacungan (Rural)
  • Bagong Bayan (Rural)
  • Bagong Pag-Asa (Urban)
  • Bagong Sikat (Urban)
  • Bagong Silang (Urban)
  • Bahile (Rural)
  • Bancao-bancao (Urban)
  • Binduyan (Rural)
  • Buenavista (Rural)
  • Cabayugan (Rural)
  • Concepcion (Rural)
  • Inagawan (Rural)
  • Inagawan Sub-Colony (Rural)
  • Irawan (Urban)
  • Iwahig (Rural)
  • Kalipay (Urban)
  • Kamuning (Rural)
  • Langogan (Rural)
  • Liwanag (Rural)
  • Lucbuan (Rural)
  • Luzviminda (Rural)
  • Mabuhay (Urban)
  • Macarascas (Rural)
  • Magkakaibigan (Urban)
  • Maligaya (Urban)
  • Manalo (Urban)
  • Mandaragat (Urban)
  • Manggahan (Urban)
  • Mangingisda (Rural)
  • Maningning (Urban)
  • Maoyon (Rural)
  • Marufinas (Rural)
  • Maruyogon (Rural)
  • Masigla (Urban)
  • Masikap (Urban)
  • Masipag (Urban)
  • Matahimik (Urban)
  • Matiyaga (Urban)
  • Maunlad (Urban)
  • Milagrosa (Urban)
  • Model (Urban)
  • Montible (Rural)
  • Napsan (Rural)
  • New Panggangan (Rural)
  • Pagkakaisa (Urban)
  • Princesa (Urban)
  • Salvacion (Rural)
  • San Jose (Urban)
  • San Manuel (Urban)
  • San Miguel (Urban)
  • San Pedro (Urban)
  • San Rafael (Rural)
  • Santa Cruz (Rural)
  • Santa Lourdes (Urban)
  • Santa Lucia (Rural)
  • Santa Monica (Urban)
  • San Isidro (Urban)
  • Sicsican (Urban)
  • Simpocan (Rural)
  • Tagabinet (Rural)
  • Tagburos (Urban)
  • Tagumpay (Urban)
  • Tanabag (Rural)
  • Tanglaw (Urban)
  • Tiniguiban (Urban)


Puerto Princesa features a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). It is usually wet from May to December and with very little rain from January to April. Average temperature is 27.43 °C (81.37 °F) while the annual average rainfall is 1,563.8 millimetres (61.57 in) per year. It is warm and humid all year round.

Climate data for Puerto Princesa City (1981–2010, extremes 1951–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.4
Average high °C (°F) 30.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.0
Average low °C (°F) 23.2
Record low °C (°F) 18.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 36.4
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5 3 4 7 12 17 18 18 17 19 15 11 146
Average relative humidity (%) 80 79 78 78 81 84 84 85 84 85 84 82 82
Source: PAGASA[23][24]


Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Rizal Park
Population census of Puerto Princesa
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 1,208—    
1918 6,427+11.79%
1939 10,887+2.54%
1948 15,177+3.76%
1960 23,125+3.57%
1970 37,774+5.02%
1975 45,709+3.90%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1980 60,234+5.67%
1990 92,147+4.34%
1995 129,577+6.60%
2000 161,912+4.89%
2007 210,508+3.69%
2010 222,673+2.07%
2015 255,116+2.62%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[5][25][26][27]

In the 2015 census, the population of Puerto Princesa was 255,116 people, [5] with a density of 110 inhabitants per square kilometre or 280 inhabitants per square mile.

Waves of migrants from other Philippine provinces, and even other countries, have turned Puerto Princesa into a melting pot of various cultures. Among the original inhabitants are the Cuyonons who have a rich legacy of folklore and traditions. Indigenous groups include the Tagbanwas, Palawanos, Molbogs and Bataks, each group with its distinct culture and system of beliefs.

Total inhabitants number 255,116 (as of 2015), of which three-quarter of the population resides in the city proper, an urban settlement on the shores of Puerto Princesa Bay. Although the predominant language is Tagalog, Cuyonon is widely spoken and used throughout the whole city, as well as Hiligaynon, other Visayan languages, and English.


Puerto Princesa is known as the "Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines".[1] In recent years, the city has seen an increase in the number of tourists bringing with them trade and businesses for the city.[citation needed] Many hotels ranging from basic to five-star luxury accommodations have been developed since the 1990s to cater to a growing number of foreign and local tourists in the city.[citation needed] There are also a number of restaurants, bars and shopping malls, including the Robinsons Place Palawan, NCCC Mall Palawan, Unitop Mall Puerto Princesa, as well as the recently opened SM City Puerto Princesa.

Some tourists who come to Puerto Princesa visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of the New7Wonders of Nature, located 50 km north of the city.[28] The city is also the jump-off point for exploring the Tubbataha Reef.



The Puerto Princesa International Airport is within the city proper. Puerto Princesa is accessible by direct flights to and from the major cities of the Philippines, such as Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo & Clark, as well as other parts of Palawan, such as Cuyo, Busuanga, San Vicente and El Nido.


The city is served by domestic passenger ferries to Cuyo, Manila, Coron and Iloilo at the Port of Puerto Princesa.


Tricycles within the city

The main modes of transport are via tricycles, jeepneys and vans-for-hire (or PUVs/public utility vehicles). Taxis started operating since April 2015, plying through the city center and nearby tourist destinations. Provincial buses and jeepneys operate from the San Jose terminal located 7 km north of the city center off the National Highway.


Puerto Princesa then Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn unveiled the environment-friendly and economical electric-powered “Trikebayan” (which does not emit any noise or carbon monoxide) at the Kapihan sa Sulo forum, Sulo Hotel, Quezon City. The Trikebayan costs only ₱48 or $1.20 per day to operate, while a gasoline-powered tricycle operation would cost ₱200.[29] Rolly Concepcion, who conceptualized the Trikebayan, said that converting a tricycle engine to electric costs ₱68,000. The rechargeable battery under the passenger seat can run for 12 hours.[30] Mr. Conception died before the project was completed.

This did not discourage the previous mayor Hagedorn from pursuing a dream of seeing all electric vehicles, especially replacing the gas tricycles in the city. There was a dealership for these trikes on the north highway but it closed down in 2011.

Although Puerto Princesa has this bold plan for electric vehicles, the municipal government and tourist office has stated (when asked by a tourist in August 2011),[better source needed] that it has no published or announced plan for providing for the current and future needs and safety of pedestrians or bicycle riders. Spaces for walking and bicycling from one place to another are not being considered.[citation needed]


Hospitals in the city include the MMG-PPC Cooperative Hospital, Ospital ng Palawan, Palawan Adventist Hospital, Palawan Medical City, and PuertoGen Clinics & Infirmary


Television networks[edit]

All of the major television broadcasting channels' regional offices are located in the city. ABS-CBN Corporation expanded its network in Palawan by establishing ABS-CBN Palawan, which operates ABS-CBN channel 7 Puerto Princesa, ABS-CBN Sports and Action Palawan DYAP-AM and MOR! Local shows such as TV Patrol Palawan are broadcast throughout the region via ABS-CBN Regional, which is also stationed in the city. Bandera News Philippines's airs shows via channel 40 Local Shows Such as Alerto 38, GMA Network's channel 12 and GMA News TV channel 27 are also available.

Cable and satellite TV[edit]

The city's cable and satellite TV companies include Puerto Princesa Cable Television (PPCATV)

Radio stations[edit]

Puerto Princesa has a number of FM and AM radio stations, some of which operate 24 hours daily.

Local government[edit]

Elected and appointed public officials have governed Puerto Princesa, with a strong mayor-council government. The city political government is composed of the mayor, vice mayor, ten councilors, one Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation representative and an Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) representative. Each official is elected publicly to a three-year terms.

The following are the current city officials of Puerto Princesa:

  • House of Representatives Congressman: Gil A. Acosta Jr. (NPC)
  • Mayor: Lucilo R. Bayron (NPC)
  • Vice Mayor: Maria Nancy M. Socrates
  • Councilors: (NPC)
    • Nesario G. Awat
    • Jimmy L. Carbonell
    • Elgin Robert L. Damasco
    • Herbert S. Dilig
    • Henry A. Gadiano
    • Patrick Alex M. Hagedorn
    • Peter Q. Maristela
    • Matthew K. Mendoza
    • Victor S. Oliveros
    • Roy Gregorio G. Ventura
    • Myka Mabelle L. Magbanua (Pres., SK Federation)

Notable People[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]




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  2. ^ a b Santos, Catherine (9 May 2017). "Legislator tags Puerto Princesa as "City in the Dark"". Palawan News. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  3. ^ City of Puerto Princesa | (DILG)
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  8. ^ Sea Tensions Deepen With China's Rise June 7, 2012
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  11. ^ Tourist city venue for PNRC event.(Tourism), highbeam.com
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2015-04-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ https://www.rajahtravel.biz/ehome/palawanliberation2018/599543/
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  17. ^ "R.A. No. 1527, An Act Constituting the Sitios of Calagbenguen, Tarabanan, Bendoyan, Talabigan, Tagbuan and Langogan, Municipality of Puerto Princesa, Province of Palawan, into a Barrio to Be Known As Concepcion". LawPH.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  18. ^ "R.A. No. 2024, An Act Changing the Name of Barrio Tapul, Municipality of Puerto Princesa, Province of Palawan, to Barrio Salvacion". LawPH.com. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
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  31. ^ "QC eyes sister city ties with Naga City". Manila Standard. 17 February 2017. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019. To date, Quezon City has sister-city ties with 11 other Philippine cities and municipalities—Sadangga in Mountain Province; General Santos City; Pura, Tarlac; Davao City; Iloilo City; Wao, Lanao del Sur; Cotabato City; La Trinidad, Benguet; Puerto Princesa; Banay-Banay, Davao Oriental; and Alicia, Isabela.
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  33. ^ "Puerto Princesa". Hsinchu City Government Department Of Civil Affairs. Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019. Establishment of Sister Cities Since:10 Feb, 2006
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External links[edit]