What Is The Cleanest City In The Philippines? Here Is The Answer
Dubbed ‘the city in a forest,’ the cleanest city in the Philippines Puerto Princesa is the nation’s largest city, covering 253,982 hectares. That’s not all, it is also the greenest city in the Philippines.
Why The Name Puerto Princesa?
Many of you might be wondering why the city is named Puerto Princesa. Some say there was a princess-like woman who used to roam the land a very long time ago and the city was named after her.
However, historical evidence reveals a more convincing reason. According to experts, the name of the city is to honor princess Eulalia born in 1864. Her mother was Queen Isabel II of Spain and her father was Dr. Francisco de Asis. After the princess’s death, the queen named the city Puerto de la Princesa. And with time, it becomes the cleanest city in the Philippines as we know today.
There is another candidate for the position. Las Piñas City is the cleanest city in Metro Manila and who knows, it might become the cleanest in the Philippines.
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The Underground River, Puerto Princesa
The city is a heaven for those who love nature. Among the wide selection of attractions, from wildlife to beaches, the most popular of the region is arguably the Underground River, stretching more than 8.2 kilometers in length.
With several caves and crystal clear water, the river is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and most recently, one of the 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Underground River of the cleanest city in the Philippines begins at a mountain range, runs through St. Paul Underground River Cave, and then flows into the South China Sea. It is estimated that the river runs about 24km through the cave. If you are looking for vacation ideas, here we have a Bukidnon tourist destination list you might want to take a look.
The Underground River is part of a national park with more than 800 species of birds, bats, mammals, reptiles, and plants. Suggested activities include trekking and animal watching.
The Plan To Clean Up Puerto Princesa - The Cleanest City In The Philippines
In 2008, a grand plan to save cleanest city in the Philippines from pollution caused by tricycles was initiated.
You may not know that before it assumed the current title, the city used to be the noisiest. Like other large cities around the globe, the capital of Palawan suffered from noise and air contamination caused by tricycles roaming in the city. The popularity of the vehicle makes it the icon of the city itself, much like tuk-tuks in Thailand.
In 2005, it was estimated that Puerto Princesa was home to more than 4,000 tricycles, each of which is 1.8 meters wide, 1.6 meters tall, and 2 meters long. The size of the tricycle means it could transport both passengers and cargo.
The tricycles are unstable and hard to operate, so they make much more noise than other modes of transport, with the maximum noise level of up to 97 decibels.
That wasn’t all. These vehicles were the worst polluters in the now cleanest city in the Philippines. They emit fine particulate matter – a threat to human health. To make matter worse, drivers used to mix gasoline with kerosene to cut cost, thus the smoke they create was even more visible.
In 2003, when pollution had reached an unbearable level, City Mayor Edward Hagedorn passed a scheme that forced tricycles to operate on alternate days to cut the amount of exhausted fume by half.
According to the ADB, the city of Puerto Princesa had several narrow streets so the demand for vehicles like the tricycles would only increase even when they were the main cause of traffic jam.
Two years later, the ADB poured a $240,000 grant into a project to solve the issues around the use of tricycles. The lessons taken away from the project would be used for the similar issues in other cities.
In 2006, from February to July, 481 operators and drivers were trained how to maintain their vehicles as well as received lessons on the Clean Air Act emission standards. They were also taught the differences between sour-stroke and two-stroke engines. Among them, 25 drivers were trained to be certified engine mechanics, the first of its kind in Palawan.
Approximately half of the fund was used for the Tricycle Multi-Purpose Fund at the now cleanest city in the Philippines. It provided the necessary funding for drivers to invest in more energy-efficient technologies. Some of the operators and drivers were even trained to switch to other professions.
The project concluded in September 2017 with 73 tricycles’ two-stroke engines replaced by four-stroke and 109 vehicles were retrofitted.
Puerto Princesa is now cleanest city in the Philippines, making it one of the prime tourist destinations.