Puerto Princesa, the capital and only city of Palawan, was historically named by Spanish colonizers after Princess Eulalia who was born in 1864 to the reigning Queen Isabel II and Dr. Francisco de Asis of Spain. After the princess died, the city was changed to Puerto de la Princesa, and eventually, Puerto Princesa as it is known today.
People also attribute the name for its strategic advantages – a seaport that is geographically typhoon-free and can accommodate every sea vessel protectively in its realm, hence, “a princess of ports’.
Puerto Princesa cradles the world renowned Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The navigable part of its river inside the 4,000-acre cave stretches 8.2 kilometers in length (5 miles) before it drains out into the South China Sea. While we claim this treasure to be the world’s longest underground river, it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for being the only national park in the country with a thick tropical forest cover within the city. Its unique merits have also earned itself a distinction in the list of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011, and the Philippines’ tourism pride.
(excerpt from my article "Puerto Princesa and its river flowing under", published in Mabuhay Magazine, April 2009 and Manila Bulletin, 2011)