Puerto Princesa

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Puerto Princesa
Highly Urbanized City
City of Puerto Princesa
Aerial view of urban Puerto Princesa showing random residences
Official seal of Puerto Princesa
Nickname(s): The City in the Forest,[1] City of the Living God
Map of Palawan showing the location of Puerto Princesa
Map of Palawan showing the location of Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa is located in Philippines
Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 09°44′N 118°44′E / 9.733°N 118.733°E / 9.733; 118.733Coordinates: 09°44′N 118°44′E / 9.733°N 118.733°E / 9.733; 118.733
Country  Philippines
Region MIMAROPA (Region IV-B)
Province Palawan (geographically only)
District 3rd district of Palawan
Founded 1872
Cityhood June 21, 1961
Barangays 66
 • Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron (UNA)
 • Vice Mayor Luis M. Marcaida III (Independent)
 • Total 2,381.02 km2 (919.32 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 222,673
 • Density 94/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 5300
Dialing code 48
Income class 1st class city; highly urbanized
Languages Filipino (Tagalog), Cuyonon, Visayan languages, English
Website www.puertoprincesa.ph

Puerto Princesa, officially City of Puerto Princesa (Filipino: Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa) and often referred to as Puerto Princesa City, is a city located in the western provincial island of Palawan, Philippines. Though the provincial seat of government for Palawan, 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.

As of 2010, Puerto Princesa had a population of 222,673 people, making it 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).[2] Puerto Princesa is the location of the Philippines' Western Command headquarters.[4]

Today, Puerto Princesa is a popular tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. It has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.[1]


A 1904 map of Puerto Princesa

Folk etymology attributes the name "Puerto Princesa" to a princess-like maiden who in the early days is said to have roamed around the place on certain nights of the year. On the other hand, practical people attribute the name to the geographical advantages of the place as a seaport – naturally protected the whole year round and endowed with a depth that can accommodate any size of shipping – a royal haven for vessels or a virtual princess of ports as thus indicated by Spanish colonizers on the country’s map.

Historically, the place was named after Princess Asunción, born in 1864 to Queen Isabella II and her consort, Francisco de Cádiz. When the princess suffered an untimely death, the Queen changed the name to Puerto de la Princesa. Eventually, the name was reduced to Puerto Princesa as it is known today.[5]

Spanish Colonizers founded the settlement on 4 March 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 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.

Palawan Provincial Capitol

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

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.[6]

In 1951, the barrios of Tinitian, Caramay, Rizal, Del Pilar, Malcampo, Tumarbong, Taradungan, Ilian, and Capayas were separated to form the town of Roxas.[7]

In 1955, the sitios of Materingen, Tandayag, Nasedoc, and Panlawagan were separated from the barrio of Maroyogon and elevated into a barrio.[8]

In 1956, the sitios of Calagbenguen, Tarabanan, Bendoyan, Talabigan, Tagbuan, and Langogan were constituted into the barrio of Concepcion.[9]

In 1957, the barrio of Tapul was renamed to Salvacion.[10]

View of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Rizal Park

The town was converted into a city on 1 January 1970 under R.A. 5906 as amended by P.D. 437, through the effort of then Congressman Ramon Mitra, Jr. Feliberto R. Oliveros, Jr. 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.[11]

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 by 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.

66 areas (or districts) known throughout the Philippines as barangays, 35 of which are classified as urban barangays and 31 as rural.


Administratively and politically, Puerto Princesa is divided into 66 barangays, 28 of which are classified as urban barangays and 38 as rural.[12]

  • 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)
  • Irawan (Rural)
  • Iwahig (Rural)
  • Kalipay (Rural)
  • Kamuning (Rural)
  • Langogan (Rural)
  • Liwanag (Rural)
  • Lucbuan (Rural)
  • Mabuhay (Urban)
  • Macarascas (Rural)
  • Magkakaibigan (Rural)
  • Maligaya (Urban)
  • Manalo (Rural)
  • Manggahan (Urban)
  • 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 Miguel (Urban)
  • San Pedro (Urban )
  • San Rafael (Rural)
  • Santa Cruz (Rural)
  • Santa Lourdes (Urban)
  • Santa Lucia (Rural)
  • Santa Monica (Urban)
  • Seaside (Urban)
  • Sicsican (Rural)
  • Simpocan (Rural)
  • Tagabinit (Rural)
  • Tagburos (Rural)
  • Tagumpay (Urban)
  • Tanabag (Rural)
  • Tanglaw (Urban)
  • Barangay ng mga Mangingisda (Rural)
  • Inagawan Sub-Colony (Rural)
  • Luzviminda (Rural)
  • Mandaragat (Rural)
  • San Manuel (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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
Average low °C (°F) 22.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30.7
Average rainy days (≥ 0.10 mm) 4 2 4 5 12 15 16 17 16 16 14 9 130
Average relative humidity (%) 83 81 79 80 82 85 86 86 86 87 86 86 83.9
Source: PAGASA[13]


Population census of Puerto Princesa
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 92,147 —    
1995 129,577 +6.60%
2000 161,912 +4.89%
2007 210,508 +3.69%
2010 222,673 +2.07%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]


Puerto Princesa is known as the Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines. In recent years, the city has seen a remarkable increase in the number of tourists bringing with them trade and businesses for the city. 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. There are also a large selection of restaurants, bars, and shops including the recently completed Robinsons Place Palawan shopping mall.

Most tourists come to Puerto Princesa to visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park located 50 km north of the city. It was named one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The city is also the jump-off point for exploring the Tubbataha Reef.


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 about 161,912 (as of May 2000), Three fourths of the population resides in the city proper, an urban settlement on the shores of Puerto Princesa Bay. While Cuyonon is widely spoken, the predominant language is Tagalog; Visayan, as well as English are widely spoken.


Langogan Reef[edit]

New Coral reef protected by city ordinance and three falls, the largest of which is around 50m, located 5 km from the barangay.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River[edit]

The most famous landmark of Puerto Princesa, this subterranean river is the longest navigable underground river in the world. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape and many stalactites and stalagmites formations.

Tubbataha Reef[edit]

Main article: Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reef, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located 181 km southeast of the city in the Sulu Sea near the island municipality of Cagayancillo. Over 1000 species inhabit the reef; many are already considered as endangered. Animal species found include manta rays, lionfish, sea turtles, clownfish, and sharks.

Dos Palmas Resort in Honda Bay

Honda Bay[edit]

Honda Bay contains several islands, including Arrecife Island where the high-end Dos Palmas Resort is located. Several local guides and boatmen offer island-hopping tours in the area, where snorkeling is also a popular activity in Pambato Reef.

Sabang Beach

Sabang Beach[edit]

Located just outside the Underground River Park, Sabang Beach is a quiet white sand beach lined by several resorts facing the vast South China Sea.

Ugong Rock[edit]

A 75-foot limestone formation in the middle of farmlands and karst forests located near the Underground River. Main activities in the site include spelunking and zip line.

Iwahig Penal Farm[edit]

A penal colony established in 1904, this prison turned rehabilitation center is a 37-hectare picturesque farm.

Ethnographic Museum


  • Palawan Museum: located next to Mendoza Park.
  • PSU Museum: located on the campus of Palawan State University.
  • Ethnographic Museum: located in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Park.
  • Special Battalion WWII Memorial Museum: Brgy Bancao-Bancao.
  • Heritage Center: Legislative Bldg, Fernandez Street.
  • South Sea Pearl Museum: located in Irawan Watershed Flora and Fauna Reserve. Bgy. Irawan

Plaza Cuartel[edit]

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.[14]

Rizal Avenue[edit]

Puerto Princesa's main commercial strip where one can find various shops, as well as banks, restaurants, and budget inns.


By air[edit]

The city is just one and half kilometers from the Puerto Princesa International Airport. Puerto Princesa is accessible by direct flights from the major Philippine cities Manila, Cebu and Iloilo as well as Busuanga and El Nido and the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu.

By sea[edit]

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

By land[edit]

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 former 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 P48 or $1.20 per day to operate, while a gasoline-powered tricycle operation would cost P200. Rolly Concepcion, who conceptualized the Trikebayan, said that converting a tricycle engine to electric costs P68,000. The rechargeable battery under the passenger seat can run for 12 hours.[15] 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), 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.


Television Networks/Cable Station[edit]

FM Radio Stations[edit]

AM Radio Stations[edit]

Palawan News Programs[edit]

Hospitals & Medical Centers[edit]

  • MMG-PPC Cooperative Hospital
  • Ospital ng Palawan
  • Palawan Adventist Hospital
  • Palawan Medical City
  • PuertoGen Clinics & Infirmary

Twin Towns and Sister cities[edit]


  1. ^ a b Puerto Princesa: The Philippines' Cleanest and Greenest City September 12, 2012
  2. ^ a b "Province: PALAWAN". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  4. ^ Sea Tensions Deepen With China's Rise June 7, 2012
  5. ^ Tourist city venue for PNRC event.(Tourism), highbeam.com
  6. ^ http://pns.smartschools.ph/
  7. ^ "R.A. No. 615, An act creating the municipality of Roxas, province of Palawan". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  8. ^ "R.A. No. 1234, An Act Creating the Barrio of Manalo, Municipality of Puerto Princesa, Province of Palawan". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  9. ^ "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. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  10. ^ "R.A. No. 2024, An Act Changing the Name of Barrio Tapul, Municipality of Puerto Princesa, Province of Palawan, to Barrio Salvacion". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Filipino rebel group claim kidnappings". BBC News. 28 May 2001. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Municipality/City: PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (Capital), National Statistical Coordination Board.
  13. ^ "Climatological Normals of the Philippines (1951-1985) (PAGASA 1987)" (PDF). PAGASA. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Plaza Cuarter". The Official Website of Puerto Princesa City Government. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  15. ^ Inquirer.net, Finally, a tricycle we could all love

External links[edit]