One of the cool things about visiting Puerto Princesa is to relax in the gardens behind the Catholic Church. However, it is has a bloody past. It was the scene of the Palawan Massacre.
The Japanese took 143 Americans and many Filipino fighters, rejected treaties of surrender and executed them. They put them in a trench and set the whole thing on fire. Anyone who tried to escape was shot to death. Very few of them actually got out alive. Glenn McDole would later write a book about his experience called Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II.
What is the Palawan Massacre Memorial Park?
As I said, it is behind the Catholic Church in the old Plaza. It is a nice garden that is funded by the US Government. It is completely free for anyone to come to and there is big signs around the garden telling the history of what happened. They also have a bronze statue to remember the people who laid down their lives for freedom in December 1944.
The local police are there around the clock to make sure the place is not trashed by the locals. They also make sure people pick up after themselves. It is a very clean garden in the Philippines.
What happened to the people involved?
For the Americans, there was very few that got out alive but they went on to live pretty successful lives back in America. When General Douglas McArthur heard their stories, he committed US Army troops to rescue missions almost immediately.
There was a dozen of the Japanese soldiers that was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death for the murders. However, as with many convictions from the Yokohama trails; they were given general amnesty. This was because they were believed to be only doing what they have been told to do.