Plaza Cuartel Palawan

Plaza Cuartel in Palawan – Philippines

Plaza Cuartel is located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is located along Taft street, in Barangay Liwanag, just across the Immaculate Conception Church, the city’s main cathedral. It is now a part of the town plaza complex in front of the cathedral. You will see a gate and the tourist police are also posting on that area for assistance. Moreover, the place looks like your ordinary park with concrete pavements, towering trees and benches. It is also near the wharf of Puerto Princesa so one can get a good view of Puerto Bay. As you enter the gate, you will see the garrison and tunnels that are witness to WW II history.

Today’s Leisure Park

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 Plaza Cuartel has a story of darkness to tell because of the events that happened here near the end of World War II.

Bronze Marker Plaza Cuartel Entrance Gates

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.”

Palawan WWII Memorial

 

Roster of the known Palawan Massacre victims compiled from Lorna Murray and Abie Abraham’s list

US Marines

Jewett Adams
Robert Adkins
Sammy Caldwell
Joseph Glacken
James Grahnert
William Hammock
Kenneth Hanson
Cifford Henderson
John Hughes
Aubrey Johnson
Earl Joyner
Wilfred Kernes
Daniel Ray
Edward Schultz
Jesse Simpson
Owen Skaggs
George Walker
John Warren
Stephen Kozuch
Kenneth Lindsay
Donald Martin
E. C. Morris
Orlando Morris
Dillard Price

US Navy

Carl Barnes
Darrell Barnes
Wilbur Blackburn
Vernon Buchanan

Harry Cook
Bill Gillespie
Waldo Hale
John Harris
Henry Knight
Arthur Lamountain
Theodore McNally
James RoeUS ArmyHenry Aroujo
Heraclio Arispo
Homer Bailey
Herbert Baker
Benjamin Beason
Mason Bouchy
William T. Brown
Fred Bruni
Douglas Burnett
Casey Carter
Roy Childers
James Choate
Earl Crandell
Franklin Cullens
John Czajkowski
John Diaz
Elix Clayton
Erving Evans
George Eyre
Houston Fletcher
Jessie Gee
Mike Guiffreda
Samuel Glover
Richard Goodykoontz
Lenton Harbin
Douglas Hawkins
Joseph Henderson
Roy Hickle
Miner Hinkle
Hugh Hubbard
Tom Huston
Fred Hutchinson
Charles Jacobson
Josepf Kazlauskas
Robert Stevenson
James Stidham
Charles Street
Harding Stutts
Leslie Sweany
Homer Swinner
Glen Teel
Jolley Terry
Harold King
Richard Koerner
Leo Lampshire
Kenneth Lewis
Forest Lindsay
John Lyons
Carl Mango
George Manzi Richard McAnany
William McElveen
Joe Mascarenas
Joe Million
Fred Moffatt
Roger Moore
Frank Newell
Harry Noel
Ernest Novak
Trinidad Otero
James Pitts
Homer Rankin
Vernon Rector
Arthur Rhoades
James Rudd
Santiago Saiz
John Sanchez
Henry Scally
Charles Schubert
Gabriei Sierra
Charles Sirfus
Kenneth O. Smith
Cecil Snyder
Carroll Spinder
Devert Stanley
John Stanley
Delbert Thomas
Glen Turner
Joseph Uballe
Ted Vitatoe
Carl Walker
Horace Whitecotten
Willard Yeast

 

 

 

This tragic event happened when the World War II was about to end. The Plaza Cuartel was first a military garrison of Spaniards, then of the Americans and overtaken by the by Japanese during WW II. 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. Luckily 11 out of 143 was able to escape by swimming across Puerto Bay to IWAHIG which is currently popular as a prisoner colony tourist destination. The eleven survivors who escaped narrated the story we know today.

 

The Survivors Memorial

The 11 survivors:

Rufus Smith – Huges Springs, Texas

Ernest John Cablos – Chicago

Edwin Petry – Chicago

Eugene Nielson – Utah

Elmo Deal – Uba City, California

Tommy Daniels – USA

Douglas W. Bogue – USA

Fern Joseph Barta – Salt Lake City

Glen McDole – Iowa

William J. Balchus – New Jersey

Alberto D. Pacheco – New Mexico

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.

 

70th Anniversary Rememberance

The New Plaza

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