Iwahig prison and penal Farm is no ordinary jail. It’s a prison without walls, and quite a popular tourist attraction on Palawan. Visitors are shown the century-old buildings and watch the low-security inmates working the paddy fields.
There’s also a souvenir shop.
Most of the prisoners have progressed to low risk, and escape attempts are rare. This may be because many of the inmate’s families can live in the prison grounds, close to their loved ones.
I was shown around by Arlene’s cousin Cecil who is a staff member. We caught up with prisoners during one of their three daily roll-calls. Many were keen to show off their gang tattoos.
The prisoners may be low-risk, but many have seen tougher days. Most belong to gangs. The oldest is a double murderer who has been incarcerated here since 1967.