Stakeholders in Philippine tourism can attract more visitors by tying tourist spots to historical events, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCCP) executive vice president and Rajah Travel Corp. chairman Aileen Clemente said.
A good example is the drive to get veterans to attend the 70th year of Palawan’s liberation from Japanese occupation in which thousands of Filipino guerrillas and American soldiers took part.
Clemente said that the project is about reclaiming a piece of history while establishing and developing new tourism destinations.
More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers fought under the American flag during World War II. On December 14, 1944, 139 American prisoners of war in Plaza Cuartel were massacred by Japanese forces. Eleven American soldiers survived and were subsequently sheltered by Filipinos living in Puerto Princesa.
The invasion of Palawan was fought by US liberation forces against the Japanese from February 28 to April 22, 1945 as part of the campaign to liberate the Philippines during World War II.
The 186th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) of Brig. Gen. Harold H. Haney—the assistant 41st Division commander—was the principal combat to carry out the Palawan invasion.
The Palawan special battalion is composed of 1,000 Filipino guerrillas and United States Army Forces in the Far East.
“Puerto Princesa’s historical significance, both the local government and the private sector are working closely together to further stimulate tourism by improving and developing places and establishments associated with the liberation of Palawan,” Clemente said.
Among the potential new tourism destination in Puerto Princesa are the World War II Memorial Museum, Plaza Cuartel, Mendoza Park and Iwahig Prison.