Plaza Cuartel in Palawan - Philippines
Plaza Cuartel is located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is near the wharf of Puerto Princesa so one can get a good view of the blue ocean. At present, it is now a part of the town plaza complex. It is easy to locate by going to the opposite side of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, the citys main cathedral.
This is a good spot to take a rest and just enjoy the beauty of nature by looking out to the clear blue sea of Palawan. Aside from getting close to nature, the place also has a lot of tales to tell. Plaza Cuartel has a colorful history because of the events that happened here during the World War II.
The plaza has a bronze marker that contains the name of eleven prisoners of war (POW) who managed to survive the horrible massacre that happened in this place. The bronze marker is placed above the area where main underground bunkers existed. These bunkers became the cage for the unfortunate prisoners. The words engraved on the bronze marker are:
"Sa pook na ito na dating tanggulang militar noong Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig naganap ang pagsunog ng mga sundalong hapon sa humigit kumulang 150 Amerikanong bihag ng digma noong 14 Disyembre 1944. Ilang nakaligtas ay lumangoy sa dagat patungong Iwahig. Ang mga labi ng nasawi ay dinala at inilibing sa St. Louis County sa isang panlahatang libingan sa Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri, United States, 1952."
The English translation of these words is:
"In this place which was a military fort of World War II, the burning of more or less 150 American POW was done by Japanese soldiers on December 14, 1944. Some managed to survive by swimming their way out from the sea to Iwahig. The remains of those who died were brought and buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri, United States, 1952."
This tragic event happened when the World War II was about to end. The Plaza Cuartel was a garrison of Spaniards, overtook by Americans and then by Japanese. When the Japanese soldiers realized that they were losing the war, put all its prisoners in the dungeon, poured out drums of petroleum over them and lit them up alive. The eleven survivors who escaped narrated the story.
Strolling and enjoying the scenery of the plaza is free of cost.
After the world war, the Americans took control of the place once again until it was passed on to the Constabulary. Later on, it was given to the National Police. In 1997, it was renovated and became a leisure park.