History in Palawan - Philippines
Every province in the Philippines has a story, and the history of Palawan is filled with conquest and color. Although the dive sites and beaches are its main attractions, investigating its past can be just as intriguing.
The latest archaeological findings prove that the island was already inhabited more than 20,000 years ago based on the remains found in the Tabon Caves in Quezon (a municipality in the province). From the 2nd to the 6th century AD, various tribes, including the Negritos and the Palawano, settled in the area. Because it was close to Borneo, the province came under its influence, with Islam and Buddhism being introduced to the local inhabitants.
The history of Palawan reached a turning point when the Spaniards came. Following the demise of Magellan, the Spaniards continued their colonization of the province, and by the 1800s Christian churches were being constructed all around. When the Americans came, their influence was more felt in the areas of infrastructure and education.
World War II and Beyond
The province fell to the Japanese Army and suffered much, including the massacre of over a hundred prisoners who were burned alive in 1944. In early 1945, the province was freed from the occupying forces and the task of rebuilding began shortly thereafter.
During the 1950s and 60s the province relied a lot on agriculture and fishing, but during the 1970s (around the time that Puerto Princesa progressed enough to be declared a city), there was a shift in strategy towards tourism. This would change the history of Palawan forever.
From the 1980s onwards the local and national government began the development of the surrounding areas in terms of making it more tourist friendly and accommodating. The scenery themselves were stunning, but there was a lot of work to be done in terms of providing resorts, means of transport and spreading the word that there is something to see and behold in this part of the Philippines.
The work would eventually pay off, and through promotion and word of mouth, the many natural wonders of the city became known globally. Today, beaches like Honda Bay and Red Cliff, the Tubbataha Reefs and the Subterranean River National Park are regarded as some of the most beautiful wonders of the world.
The history of Palawan has not been without difficulties, and it has faced challenges in the past but it has survived and thrived. As the years pass by, doubtless this province will continue to make its mark and have an impact, both economically and historically.