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Palawan Massacre Monument: A Grim History of the American Prisoners of War

palawan massacre monument

Just beside the Palawan Cathedral is Puerto Princesa City’s walled park, the Palawan Massacre Monument, where a commemorative marker is installed in memory of the World War II American Prisoners of War (POW’s) who were massacred in this place on December 14, 1944.


A sculpture of an emaciated American man in chains rising from a fire, symbolizing the oppression of the POWs and the miraculous escape of the 11 survivors. 



Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn’s promise made to former WW-II Americal POW DOn Schloat, creator of the Palawan Massacre Monument. September 15, 2009.

Don Schloat’s dream to install a commemorative marker on this site began March, 2007 when PSU President Teresita L. Salva and Mrs. Ellen M. Hagedorn headed the collaborative effort to gather support from the Palawan WW-II veterans and the people of Puerto Princesa, and culminated with the pledge of support by City Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn in September 2009.

American WW-II POW’s were massacred in this place on December 14, 1944.

On that day, Japanese guards stationed here in Palawan ordered the American POW’s under their control into the air raid shelters.

Japanese soldiers suddenly poured gasoline on and into the American POW shelters and set them on fire with flaming torches, followed by hand grenades. As the American POW’s engulfed in flames broke out of the fiery death traps, their Japanese guards machine-gunned, bayoneted, decapitated and clubbed them to death.

Of the American POW’s, only 11 survived the massacre. This memorial is by artist Don Schloat, a former POW of the Japanese at Palawan.

September 25, 2009

Puerto Princesa City




When I went to Palawan last year, I was only thinking of going to the beautiful beaches and lagoons in El Nido, the Underground River, and Baker’s Hill because this is what people are usually looking forward to the island. But little did I know about the history of Palawan until my last day in Puerto Princesa.

I was glad that this place was part of the city tour package. After reading the words on the marker, I just had to pause and honor the memory of those people who died — and even those who survived. They deserve the highest honors for the sacrifice of their lives.


Also read: Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village

  • mia kulper

    A book is being released now by Stephen L. Moore about the Palawan massacre and the eleven survivors. I have heard so many American college students comment about the US usage of the Bomb on Japan but they know nothing about WWII itself. Some don’t even seem to get what Pearl Harbor was about. To present history in such a manner is not history but instead purposeful indoctrination to achieve a purpose. One needs to talk about the full story as painful as that might be. I appreciate that no one on here made any cruel remarks about the horrible death those men suffered ; and what the survivors and the families of the dead had to live with. It is painful just to consider such a brutal, sadistic act. Apparently, the Japanese command told the POW camps to get rid of all POWs if the Islands being held were being taken back. And so they did. Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t sound quite so awful when you view the attitude of an army that would not concede defeat. Sometimes a massive act to shock the enemy is all that one can do.

  • liberalism est mentis morbus

    Out of some strange stroke of luck, one day back in 2009 – I was in Puerta Princessa with my fiancee – at the former Spanish Prison and former site where the Palawan Massacre took place…. some how I was there on the same day that SGT Don Schloat’s statue was being unveiled. i had to privileged honor to have lunch with this great man. I count myself so very fortunate to have met him, and to have spent several hours with him. God Bless this man, who went to be with the Lord only a year later. R.I.P.

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