Puerto Princesa
City of Puerto Princesa
From top, left to right: Emerald Beach and Nature Park, Dos Palmas Resort, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, 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 Palawan with Puerto Princesa highlighted
Map of Palawan 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; 118.75
ProvincePalawan (geographically only)
District 3rd district
FoundedMarch 4, 1872
CityhoodJanuary 1, 1970
Highly urbanized cityJuly 21, 2007
Barangays66 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorLucilo R. Bayron
 • Vice MayorMaria Nancy M. Socrates
 • RepresentativeEdward S. Hagedorn
 • City Council
 • Electorate164,590 voters (2022)
 • Total2,381.02 km2 (919.32 sq mi)
98 m (322 ft)
Highest elevation
1,257 m (4,124 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2020 census)[5]
 • Total307,079
 • Density130/km2 (330/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class1st city income class
 • Poverty incidence
% (2021)[6]
 • Revenue₱ 3,805 million (2020)
 • Assets₱ 12,163 million (2020)
 • Expenditure₱ 2,184 million (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricityPalawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
5300, 5301 (Iwahig Penal Colony)
IDD:area code+63 (0)48
Native languagesIbatag

Puerto Princesa ([ˌpwɛɾ.to pɾɪnˈsɛ.sɐ]), officially the City of Puerto Princesa (Cuyonon: Siyudad i'ang Puerto Princesa; Filipino: Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Mimaropa region of the Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 307,079.[5]

It is a city located in the western Philippine province of Palawan and is the westernmost city in the Philippines. Though the seat of government and capitol of 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 for its geographical and statistical purposes by the Philippine Statistics Authority. It is the largest city in the province of Palawan and the Mimaropa region.

It is the least densely populated city in the Philippines with 110 inhabitants per square kilometre (280 inhabitants/sq mi). 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 has several possible origins. It is said to have been attributed by locals to a princess-like maiden who roams the place on certain nights of the year, while other accounts attribute 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 (Spanish: Puerto de Asunción) 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

A 1904 map of Puerto Princesa

Spanish colonists 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.[12]

American period and World War II

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

Main articles: Invasion of Palawan and Palawan Massacre

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.[13]

During the Pacific campaign of World War II and the Japanese occupation, the village was largely abandoned. On May 18, 1942, Japanese troops landed and occupied Puerto Princesa City.[14]

The Filipino Constabulary barracks was the scene of the Palawan Massacre, just before liberation with the allied Invasion of Palawan.[15]

Post-World War II

In 1951, the barrios of Tinitian, Caramay, Rizal, Del Pilar, Malcampo, Tumarbong, Taradungan, Ilian, and Capayas were separated to form the town of Roxas.[16]

In 1955, the sitios of Materingen, Tandayag, Nasedoc, and Panlawagan were separated from the barrio of Maroyogon and elevated into a barrio.[17]

In 1956, the sitios of Calagbenguen, Tarabanan, Bendoyan, Talabigan, Tagbuan, and Langogan were constituted into the barrio of Concepcion.[18]

In 1957, the barrio of Tapul was renamed to Salvacion.[19]


Main article: Cities of the Philippines

The town was converted into a city on January 1, 1970, under Republic Act 5906 as amended by P.D. 437,[20][21] through the effort of then Congressman Ramon Mitra, Jr. Feliberto R. Oliveros, Jr., who then became the first City Mayor. In 1987, the port of Puerto Princesa was put under the administration of the Philippine Ports Authority, expanding the city's importance nationally and advancing its infrastructure.[22]

Highly urbanized city

On March 26, 2007, through Proclamation No. 1264, the city of Puerto Princesa was converted into a highly urbanized city. A plebiscite was held on July 21, 2007, where majority of residents voted in its favor. In 2011, the President launched a nationwide campaign for the inclusion of Puerto Princesa's underground river into the New Seven Wonders of Nature.[23] This campaign came into fruition when the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, the city's top heritage site, was recognized internationally as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012.[24]


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.[25]


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 and 250 nautical miles (460 km) from Zamboanga City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.


Puerto Princesa is politically subdivided into 66 barangays. Each barangay consists of puroks and some have sitios.

These barangays are grouped into two districts. Currently, there are 35 barangays of which are classified as urban barangays.[26]

Sabang Beach


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 (1991–2020, extremes 1951–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.4
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 30.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 23.8
Record low °C (°F) 18.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 55.6
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5 3 4 5 10 14 15 14 14 15 12 9 120
Average relative humidity (%) 80 79 78 77 80 83 84 84 84 84 84 82 82
Source: PAGASA[27][28]


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%
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%
2020 307,079+3.71%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[29][30][31][32]
Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Rizal Park

In the 2020 census, the population of Puerto Princesa was 307,079 people,[5] with a density of 130 inhabitants per square kilometre or 340 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 307,079 (as of 2020), 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.


Interior of the Puerto Princesa Underground River

Poverty incidence of Puerto Princesa


Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40]

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[when?] 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.[41] The city is also the jump-off point for exploring the Tubbataha Reef.


Puerto Princesa International Airport


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, and 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.[42] 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.[43] 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:


Old flag of Puerto Princesa

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, an Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) representative and Indigenous People's Mandatory Representative (IPMR). Each official is elected publicly to a three-year terms.

The following are the current city officials of Puerto Princesa:


Television networks

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

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

Radio stations

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

Twin towns and sister cities



Notable personalities

Notable organizations

See also


  1. ^ a b Ladaga, Rica Thea (April 11, 2018). "A Glimpse of Palawan: The Impact of Community-Based Ecotourism | DSWD Field Office IV Mimaropa Official Website". DSWD Field Office IV Mimaropa Official Website. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Santos, Catherine (May 9, 2017). "Legislator tags Puerto Princesa as "City in the Dark"". Palawan News. Archived from the original on February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  3. ^ City of Puerto Princesa | (DILG)
  4. ^ "2015 Census of Population, Report No. 3 – Population, Land Area, and Population Density" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Quezon City, Philippines. August 2016. ISSN 0117-1453. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Census of Population (2020). "Mimaropa". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  6. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  7. ^ "List of Cities". Philippine Statistics Authority – National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Sea Tensions Deepen With China's Rise June 7, 2012
  9. ^ Graceffo, Antonio (June 9, 2007). "Puerto Princesa: The Philippines' Cleanest and Greenest City". Wild Asia. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  10. ^ "History | City Government of Puerto Princesa". puertoprincesa.ph. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  11. ^ Tourist city venue for PNRC event.(Tourism), highbeam.com
  12. ^ https://puertoprincesa.ph/?q=about-our-city%2Fhistory
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "A Salute to Valor: Palawan Liberation".
  15. ^ Wilbanks, Bob (2004). Last Man Out. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 45, 101. ISBN 9780786418220.
  16. ^ "Republic Act No. 615; An Act Creating The Municipality Of Roxas, Province Of Palawan'". PhilippineLaw.info. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  17. ^ "R.A. No. 1234, An Act Creating the Barrio of Manalo, Municipality of Puerto Princesa, Province of Palawan". LawPH.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  18. ^ "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 June 1, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "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 May 31, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  20. ^ "R.A. No. 5906: An Act Creating the City of Puerto Princesa". The Corpus Juris. June 21, 1969. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  21. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 437, s. 1974". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. April 16, 1974. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  22. ^ https://puertoprincesa.ph/?q=basicpage/iii-war-and-reconstruction
  23. ^ https://globalnation.inquirer.net/5041/aquino-calls-for-global-campaign-to-promote-puerto-princesa-river
  24. ^ https://nature.new7wonders.com/wonders/puerto-princessa-underground-river-philippines/
  25. ^ "Filipino rebel group claim kidnappings". BBC News. May 28, 2001. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  26. ^ Municipality/City: PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (Capital), National Statistical Coordination Board.
  27. ^ "Puerto Princesa, Palawan Climatological Normal Values" (PDF). Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  28. ^ "Puerto Princesa, Palawan Climatological Extremes" (PDF). Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  29. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  30. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  31. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. National Statistics Office.((cite encyclopedia)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ "Province of Palawan". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  33. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  34. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  35. ^ "2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. March 23, 2009.
  36. ^ "City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates; 2006 and 2009" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. August 3, 2012.
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  38. ^ "Municipal and City Level Small Area Poverty Estimates; 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. July 10, 2019.
  39. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 15, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  40. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  41. ^ "PP Underground River". New7Wonders of Nature. September 23, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  42. ^ Campo, Liv G. (May 6, 2008). "Hagedorn urges use of electric tricycles". The Philippine Star. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  43. ^ Andrade, Jeannette (January 20, 2008). "Finally, a tricycle we could all love". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  44. ^ "The City Council | City Government of Puerto Princesa". puertoprincesa.ph. Retrieved April 11, 2024.
  45. ^ "QC eyes sister city ties with Naga City". Manila Standard. February 17, 2017. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 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.
  46. ^ Jabagat, Orlan C. (November 29, 2018). "Tagalog News: Puerto Princesa, Haikou City ng Tsina, sister cities na". Philippine Information Agency (in Tagalog). Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  47. ^ "Puerto Princesa". Hsinchu City Government Department Of Civil Affairs. April 26, 2016. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2019. Establishment of Sister Cities Since:10 Feb, 2006
  48. ^ "Sister Cities | Maui County, HI - Official Website". Mauicounty.gov. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2019.