Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan - Philippines
What to see at Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is essentially a village in complete contrast of a penal establishment one would have in mind. There are about a two thousand prisoners there and in the center of all their work is the central village square. One might be surprised that the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm has no walls and almost no barriers. The only precaution that this establishment makes in terms of security is a head count 3 times a day when the prisoners are mandated to gather in the central village square. However, despite being a low security prison, no prisoners attempt to escape for a variety of reasons: first, prisoners are provided with vocational activities of their choice, transportation arrangements are almost impossible for a prisoner and if a prisoner chooses to escape through the mountains, they would face a certain death. In addition, the prisoners at Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm are allowed to live with their families during the time that they are serving their sentence.
Puerto Princesa during the Spanish regime was established as a place where offenders who were exiled were sent. However the actual facility of Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm was not physically built until the time that the Americans occupied the Philippines. Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm initially comprised of 22 acres when Governor Wright released the authority to officially establish it as a penal colony in 1904. Lieutenant Wolfe, was the first Director of the prison and he belonged to the US expeditionary force.
To deal with the first escape attempts that Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm experienced, Colonel White formulated effective solutions and paved the way to make it a successful penal institution. Vocational activities were provided for the prisoners and they were given the choice from paramedical work, fishing, carpentry, farming or forestry thereby giving Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm its name as it is known today.
Cost to Visit Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
There is no entrance fee to see Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm but of course if one is to buy items from the souvenir shop, then this entails cost. Snacks and drinks are available at the souvenir shop and so are handcrafted items made by the prisoners. Upon entering the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm there are prisoners who already offer the items they made for sale to tourists and low security prisoners are allowed to roam freely.
Other Information about Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
From Puerto Princesa City, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is only 30 minutes away and one can either take the jeepney there or ride a tricycle. Although this is a penal establishment and the first reaction of many guests prior to getting there is that they are very afraid, such fear is misplaced since the prisoners there are friendly and constantly monitored.