The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is a colony-based facility that serves as a shelter for the law offenders in Palawan.Situated 15 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa, this colony-based landmark is often visited by tourists for the one-of-a-kind experience that it brings.
At the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, prisoners “can roam free” in their respective correctional facility and are allowed to mingle with visitors. The prison and penal farm are one of the seven operating units of the Bureau of Corrections which is under the Department of Justice.
It was established during the American occupation and used to “serve as a depository for prisoners who could not be accommodated at the Bilibid Prison in Manila.” It used to measure only 22 acres but now it comprises 45,000 hectares of land on the island. In 1950, late President Ramon Magsaysay signed an administrative order permitting the “distribution of colony lands for cultivation by deserving colonists.”
In August 1959, the prisoners were divided into two groups such as the settlers and the colonists. The correctional facility was also subdivided into four districts including the Central sub-colony, Sta. Lucia, Montible, and Inagawan. At present, the prison and penal farm not only serve as a prison facility but has also become a tourist stop.
As part of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm’s rehabilitation program, they are given the opportunity to work around the farm and fisheries and still earn to provide for their families and loved ones outside. The inmates take jobs in farming, fishing, forestry, and carpentry.
From Puerto Princesa, you can hire a private tricycle tour to get to the prison and penal farm. The prison entrance is within the national highway and you can register from there and head on to the central compound.
Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm can be visited anytime but make sure to check their daily schedule before visiting.