Palawan Information

Palawan History - Puerto Princesa - Philippines

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History of Palawan

Palawan history unfolds the different changing words used to name Palawan Island. Palawan is believed to come from a Chinese word “pa-lao-yu” translated in English as “The land of beautiful safe harbour”. Palawan was also called “paragua” in Spanish because the island shape of Palawan is likened to a closed umbrella. In the year 1962, a skull cap was found in the Tabon Cave in Quezon Palawan and this archaeological finding showed that it has been carbon-dated about 22,000 years. It is believed that the first Filipino lived in Tabon Cave which merits this cave to be called as “The Cradle of Philippine Civilization”.

Palawan history is traditionally influenced with a flourishing commercial trade between the inhabitants of Palawan and the ancient Chinese traders even long before the Spaniards discovered the Philippines. The commercial trades between Palawan inhabitants and Chinese traders mostly took place at the Calamianes Coast of Palawan. This part of Palawan history is supported with evidences found on the numerous amounts of Chinese jars, porcelain and ancient relics that are currently found in Palawan today.

Palawan is an island of high cliffs and lofty ridges that has become a route for Chinese traders and waves of migrant in order to reach the Philippines. A strong indication on the active trading between Chinese and Malays in Palawan history centuries ago was seen from the artifacts found in this Philippine island.

The 12th century marked the participation of Malays in Palawan history when they arrived in Palawan. The settlement of Malays led to the ruling of a Malay chieftain. Prior to Spaniards arrival in Palawan two centuries ago, the Sultanate of Borneo controlled the Southern Palawan. This is due to the close proximity of Palawan to Borneo.

Province of Calamianes

Palawan was then called the Province of Calamianes. Taytay was the capital of the province. The Province was divided into two in 1859. The Castilla part of Calamianes Province consists of Cuyo, Calamian, Busuanga and Taytay as the capital. The Asturias part of Calamianes Province has Puerto Princesa as the capital with municipalities of South Taytay to Balabac. In 1862, Palawan was officially divided into Provinces of Calamianes and Paragua by virue of a royal decree. In 1873, the capital of Paragua became Cuyo formely as Taytay.

Palawan history also reflects American influence on the political history of Palawan. A military government was established in Palawan in the year 1901 after the signing of a Peace Treaty between the United States and Spain in 1898. A Civil Government followed in 1902 and by 1905, the name Paragua was changed into Palawan with Puerto Princesa as its capital. The American regine contributed in uniting the people of Palawan and emphasized education, medical assistance, agriculture and tribal minorities’ rights.

The ancient Palawan history unfolds the spectacular beauty of its beaches and nature’s riches that it has become one of the tourist spots in the Philippine island. Infrastructure developments and the flourishing tourist rich economy in Palawan offer good future to the Palawan people from its water playground, underwater beauties and water sports activities that continuously attract tourist everyday.


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