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Highly Urbanized City
Ulo ng Apo monument located in Bajac-Bajac rotunda
Ulo ng Apo monument located in Bajac-Bajac rotunda
Official seal of Olongapo
Nickname(s): City of Volunteers
Motto: Transparency and Good Governance
Anthem: Himno ng Olongapo (Hymn of Olongapo)
Olongapo is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province (geographically only)
District 1st district
Founded November 4, 1750
Cityhood June 1, 1966[1]
Barangays 17
 • Mayor Rolen Paulino
 • Vice Mayor Rodel Cerezo
 • City 185.00 km2 (71.43 sq mi)
 • Metro 472.16 km2 (182.30 sq mi)
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Population (2010)[4]
 • City 221,178
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
 • Metro 310,902
 • Metro density 660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
Income class 1st class; highly urbanized

Olongapo, officially the City of Olongapo (Ilokano: Ciudad ti Olongapo; Sambali: Syodad nin Olongapo; Filipino: Lungsod ng Olongapo) and often referred to as Olongapo City, is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Zambales, Philippines. It has a population of 221,178 people according to the 2010 census.[4] Along with the town of Subic, it comprises Metro Olongapo, one of the twelve metropolitan areas in the Philippines.[5]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • British period 2.1
    • Spanish period 2.2
    • American period 2.3
    • World War II 2.4
    • Reconstruction and rehabilitation 2.5
    • Independence and cityhood 2.6
    • Mount Pinatubo eruption 2.7
    • Conversion of the Naval Base and the present-day Olongapo 2.8
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
    • Barangays 3.2
  • Demographics 4
    • Language 4.1
    • Religion 4.2
      • Vicariate 4.2.1
  • Local government 5
    • Mayors 5.1
  • Infrastructure 6
    • Airport 6.1
    • Roads 6.2
      • Access to the City 6.2.1
    • Sea Port 6.3
    • Communication 6.4
    • Internet Connectivity 6.5
  • Landmarks / Places of interest 7
  • Educational institutes 8
    • Elementary 8.1
    • High Schools 8.2
    • Colleges 8.3
  • Notable residents 9
  • Sister Cities 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


According to popular legend, there once was a group of warring tribes who lived in the area in and around what is now the modern city. A wise old man (known as apo), seeing the perils of disunity, exerted great effort toward uniting the warring tribes. There were, however, some who bitterly opposed his idea, and one day the old man just disappeared.

After a long search, the old man's body was found, but with the head missing. It is said that the tribesmen launched search parties to locate the severed head of the man; to the Sambal, decapitation was the only permissible form of assassination.[6]

These efforts proved to be futile, and the search was eventually called off. A boy, however, vowed to himself that he would not stop searching until he found the elder's head. He searched for weeks, but found nothing. Then, one day, he chanced upon what appeared to be the old man's head, resting on top of a bamboo pole. The boy ran back to his people crying, "Olo nin apo! Olo nin apo!" ("head of the elder" in Sambal; translates as "ulo ng apo"[7] in Tagalog), running hysterically from village to village. The phrase stuck, and that, according to legend, is how the area got its name, Olongapo.

To this day, the old man's head acts as a symbol of the people's unity in what is now a modern city.


British period

Britain ruled the Philippines from 1762 to 1764. The British invasion of the Philippines was the first challenge to Spain's control of the archipelago after 191 years of rule. The Royal Navy and British Army joined with the East India Company in Madras to capture Spain's Asian colony. In conjunction with the attack against Spain's key possession in the Americas, Havana, both settlements were successfully seized. However, in the Philippines, whilst the expedition was launched as part of a plan to harass the Spaniards in their possessions, as well as for commercial gain and new territories, the military campaign led by General William Draper and Admiral Samuel Cornish, may have been launched under the guise of an invasion in order to gain prize money. The publication "When Britain Ruled the Philippines 1762–1764" describes the events as they unfolded at the Admiralty in London and at the East India Company in Madras, leading to the invasion and occupation of the capital Manila and the port city of Cavite. The capital was looted, a galleon was seized, and the British commanders imposed a ransom of four million dollars upon the Spaniards. The enormous sums in prize money and valuables seized mainly benefited the commanders.

Spanish period

In 1868, a Spanish military expedition was dispatched to study the possibility of relocating the Cavite Naval Station in Subic Bay due to its unhealthy condition.

Spanish King Alfonso XII through a Royal Decree made Subic Bay (then called Subig) as Spain’s stronghold in the Far East in 1884. Vice Admiral Juan Bautista de Antiquiera made Olongapo a settlement for the Spanish Navy.

On March 8, 1885, the Spanish Naval commission authorized construction of the Arsenal in Olongapo. The Spanish planned to make their naval station, and the village of Olongapo an island, protected against attack by insurrectos. The Spanish Navy Yard occupied the entire area east of the Spanish Gate. Employing Filipino labor, they did extensive dredging of the harbor and the inner basin and built a drainage canal. The canal served both to drain the swampy area around the yard and also to form a line of defense.

Within ten years, the Spaniards had erected walls and markers to fence off the arsenal. They had shops and buildings erected. The Spanish government spent almost three decades developing the naval station. From higher naval commands, the order was sent to fortify Grande Island at the mouth of Subic Bay with mines and cannons. But this project was hardly begun before it was overtaken by the rout of the Spanish Navy in Manila Bay by US Admiral

  • Olongapo City City Council
  • Olongapo City Officials and Government Offices Telephone Directory
  • Olongapo City News Archive

External links

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^
  6. ^ It was recorded customary for the Sambal to execute those who have taken another person's life, unless done by decapitation. Their manner of execution was to bore a hole at the top of the skull and then scrape out the brains.
  7. ^ Olongapo Subic Bay sbma Zambales daily news jobs travel tour info. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b c d
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Subic Bay History – 1940's. (April 8, 1942). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Anderson, Gerald Subic Bay from Magellan to Pinatubo: The History of the U.S. Naval Station Subic Bay Gerald Anderson (2009) ISBN 1441444521 pp.130–138
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2011) ISBN 1851099611 p.863
  17. ^ Sherwood, John Afterburner: Naval Aviators and the Vietnam War NYU Press (2004) ISBN 081479842X pp.27–28
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Approved Resolutions August 14", eLegis Olongapo City Sanggunian. Retrieved 2013-09-20.


Olongapo has the following sister cities:

Sister Cities

Notable residents

  • AIE College International - Olongapo Campus
  • AMA - Olongapo Campus
  • Asian Institute of Computer Studies
  • Central Luzon College of Science & Technology, Olongapo Campus
  • College of Subic Montessori - Subic Bay
  • Columban College – Asinan Campus (Main)
  • Columban College – Barretto
  • Comteq Computer and Business College
  • Gordon Gollege
  • Lyceum of Subic Bay
  • Metro Subic Colleges Incorporated
  • Mondriaan Aura College
  • St. Benilde Center for Global Competence Inc.
  • St. Joseph College – Olongapo, Inc.
  • Subic Bay Colleges, Inc.
  • The Manila Times College of Subic
  • University of the Philippines - Extension Program in Olongapo



  • American International School of Subic
  • Aura De Laurentus Business High School
  • Brent International School
  • Brightfields Academy
  • Christ The King Catholic School
  • College of Subic Montessori - Subic Bay
  • Columban College – Asinan Campus
  • Columban College – Barretto Campus
  • F.I.R.S.T School of SBFZ
  • Learning Circle
  • Little Angel Study Center
  • Olongapo Wesley School
  • St. Anne Academy
  • St. Joseph College – Olongapo, Inc.
  • Subic Bay Colleges, Inc.


High Schools

  • Asinan Elementary School
  • Balic-Balic Elementary School
  • Banicain Elementary School
  • Barretto I Elementary School
  • Barretto II Elementary School
  • Boton Elementary School
  • East Bajac - Bajac Elementary School
  • Gordon Heights l Elementary School
  • Gordon Heights ll Elementary School
  • Ilalim Elementary School
  • Iram Elementary School
  • James L. Gordon Integrated School
  • Kalaklan Elementary School
  • Kalalake Elementary School
  • Mabayuan Elementary School
  • Nellie E. Brown Elementary School
  • New Cabalan Elementary School
  • Old Cabalan Elementary School
  • Olongapo City Elementary School
  • Sergia S. Soriano Esteban Integrated School Of Kalaklan
  • Special Education Center for the Gifted
  • Sta. Rita Elementary School
  • Tabacuhan Elementary School
  • Tapinac Elementary School


  • American International School of Subic
  • Brent International School
  • Brightfields Academy
  • Cabalan Christian School
  • Christ The King Catholic School
  • Christian Baptist Academy
  • College of Subic Montessori - Subic Bay
  • Columban College – Asinan Campus
  • Columban College – Barretto Campus
  • F.I.R.S.T School of SBFZ
  • Heaven Sent Tutorial and Learning Center
  • Kristogail Montessori School
  • Learning Circle
  • Little Angel Study Center
  • Mondriaan Montessori School
  • Olongapo Anglo Cultural School
  • Olongapo City Christian School
  • Olongapo Wesley School
  • St. Anne Academy
  • St. Joseph College - Olongapo, Inc.
  • Subic Bay Colleges, Inc.



Educational institutes

  • SM City Olongapo (formerly Olongapo City Mall): The only shopping mall that was formerly government-owned on May 1, 2004 as Olongapo City Mall. But, it was demolished in 2010 to become SM City Olongapo that was softly opened on December 15, 2011 and was grandly opened on February 10, 2012.
  • Kalapati (The Dove Monument): Mr. Kasanobu Miyazaki, a Japanese owner of an accounting firm in Aioi City, Japan, requested that a shrine be built in New Cabalan where his brother, Capt. Masanobu Miyazaki died in battle at the Zig Zag Pass. Mayor Gordon suggested instead a peace monument dedicated to the Filipino, American and Japanese lives that were lost in that battle. The monument was thus built at the junction of the national highway and the road into New Cabalan. It is surmounted by a dove of peace. This monument welcomes travelers who will pass the first barangay of Olongapo City from the province of Bataan.
  • Olongapo Lighthouse: A panoramic view perfect for picture taking. This old lighthouse is located along the national highway going to the north. It overlooks the Subic Bay Freeport area.
  • Marikit Park: One of the earliest parks of Olongapo, it has become famous in its time. Today, it is near Gordon College, the museum, the convention center and the library.
  • Olongapo City Public Market: One of the three Wet and Dry public markets in the city of Olongapo. Pag-Asa Public Market near SM City Olongapo and the Old Market near Olongapo City Hall.
  • Olongapo City Public Library: The original Library stood near the City Hall. However, to make way for the construction of the PUD office, it was relocated at Hospital Road, East Tapinac; near the Convention Center.
  • Olongapo City Museum: Opened to the public in 2003, the museum contains dioramas, artifacts, and paintings about the history of the city. At the entrance, a rotating Ulo ng Apo statue meets you.
  • Olongapo City Convention Center: More conveniently known as OCCC or OCC, it has been the site of many events in Olongapo City history, not to mention numerous conferences, meetings, and school events.
  • Olongapo City Hall: The City Hall is located at Rizal Avenue, West Bajac-Bajac. On the east side contains the PUD (Public Utilities Department), in charge of providing electricity to the city (but is later on replaced by OEDC-Olongapo Electric Distribution company). To the east is the Olongapo City PNP Police Station 1, and at the back of the city hall is the Health Building.
  • Ulo ng Apo: A towering and majestic marker located at the rotonda in Bajac-Bajac. A very visible and tangible tourist attraction to glorify the legend of the city.
Marikit Park as seen from across the river
Olongapo City Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center
Rizal Triangle Park adjacent to the Olongapo City Hall
Harbor Point Subic, the city's lifestyle center
SM City Olongapo, a shopping mall in Olongapo.
Ulo ng Apo Monument

Landmarks / Places of interest

The City has more than a hundred Internet Cafés which enables the people to surf, chat, and play online games, and illegal online activities are prohibited. The majority of the country's Internet Service Providers are available in the city: Smart Broadband, Globe Tattoo, and PLDT myDSL.

Internet Connectivity

Leading telecommunications companies in the Philippines such as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular are available in the City. The city is capable of 3G and 4G Mobile Networks.


The Port of Subic is one of the busiest, largest, historical and most important of Ports in the Philippines. The Port is operated and managed by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or SBMA. It covers the fenced area of the former U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay located in the southwest of Luzon Island in the Philippines surrounded by the municipality of Subic and Olongapo City in Zambales, and Hermosa and Morong in Bataan

Sea Port

Olongapo is accessible through the National Highway (via Zigzag Road) from Hermosa and Dinalupihan, Bataan. The National Highway cuts through the city center and goes through north up to Barangay Barreto and then on the Subic, Zambales and the rest of the Zambales provinces up to Pangasinan. Another access to the city is via SCTEX and Subic–Tipo Expressway exiting to the gates of Subic Bay Freeport Zone and also, from the south, Morong Bataan (via Balanga, Bataan) through the Morong gate of Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Access to the City

The city has an organized road network, featuring a series of rectangular street grids. In the city's main district, the names of those streets running from North to South follow the English alphabet's order. While streets running East to West are numbered from 1st to 27th, starting from the South parallel and up. Even streets are on the East side of the City while the Odd streets are on the West. Most of the roads in Olongapo are made of concrete and asphalt.


The Subic Bay International Airport serves the immediate area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the general area of Olongapo City (it is located in the adjacent town of Morong, Bataan). This airport once was Naval Air Station Cubi Point. The terminal has two gates. It has been proposed to be converted into a logistics hub. Currently the southwest ramp is used by US Armed Forces as part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the US.



Name Term Position
Ruben Dela Cruz Geronimo November 1959 – 1962 Municipal Mayor
Ildefonso O. Arriola 1962–1964 Municipal Mayor
James Leonard T. Gordon January 1, 1964 – June 1, 1966 Municipal Mayor
James Leonard T. Gordon June 1, 1966 – February 20, 1967 City Mayor
Jaime Guevarra February 20, 1967 – 1968 City Mayor
Manuel Bautista Ardonia 1968 – June 30, 1972 City Mayor
Geronimo "Momoy" Lipumano[25] July 1972 – May 1980 City Mayor
Richard "Dick" Gordon June 30, 1980 – April 23, 1986 City Mayor (1st term)
Teodoro Macapagal March 1986 – November 1987 OIC Mayor
Ildefonso O. Arriola November 1987 – January 1988 OIC Mayor
Richard "Dick" Gordon February 2, 1988 – July 23, 1993 City Mayor (2nd term)
Katherine "Kate" Gordon June 30, 1995 – June 30, 2004 City Mayor
James "Bong" Gordon, Jr. June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2013 City Mayor
Rolen Paulino June 30, 2013 ~ present City Mayor

The following is the list of all Mayors that ruled Olongapo after World War II


As an Independent City from the province of Zambales, only the city government officials are voted by the residents of the city. The provincial government has no political jurisdiction over local transactions of the city government.

Olongapo City, belonging to the 1st District of Zambales, is governed by a City Mayor designated as its Local Chief Executive and by a City Council as its Legislative body in accordance with the Local Government Code. Both the Mayor and the ten (10) City Councilors are elected directly by the people through an election which is being held every three (3) years.

Local government

  • St. Joseph Parish (1920) in Brgy. East Bajac-Bajac
  • St. Columban Parish (1963) in Brgy. New Asinan
  • Santa Rita Parish (1967) in Brgy. Santa Rita
  • Holy Trinity Parish (1975) in Brgy. New Cabalan
  • St. Anne Parish (1985) in Brgy Gordon Heights
  • Immaculate Conception Parish (1986) in Brgy. Barreto
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish (1991) in Brgy. New Kalalake
  • Holy Family Parish (1992) in Brgy. Kalaklan
  • St. Vincent de Paul Quasi-Parish in Brgy. Old Cabalan
  • San Roque Quasi-Parish in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The ten Roman Catholic Parishes of Olongapo City is grouped as the Vicariate of San Jose and is under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Iba. The Parishes are namely:


Majority of the people of Olongapo are Roman Catholics followed by members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Protestants, Evangelicals, Born Again, Jehova's Witnesses, Mormons, Members Church of God International and Islam are also present.


The city's population speaks a wide variety of the country's main languages, Specifically: Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Zambal, and the modernized language called Taglish (Tagalog and English). Many more dialects were also spoken from other denominations of people.



Barangay Population (2010)[24] Captain
Asinan 3,341 Conrado Viray Jr.
Banicain 6,588 Ivan P. Tanega
Barreto 18,840 Angelito "Gie" Baloy
East Bajac-bajac 17,334 Filipina E. Tablan
East Tapinac 9,373 Remegio Buenafe
Gordon Heights 26,086 Jose Tomas C. Madria
Kalaklan 12,934 William Umali
Mabayuan 10,323 Dionisio Vinoya
New Cabalan 25,428 Rafael Lim
New Ilalim 1,423 Gilbert P. Durago
New Kababae 2,261 Raul M. Varela
New Kalalake 9,219 Manuel B. Ardonia
Old Cabalan 18,259 Basilio D. Palo
Pag-asa 5,672 Rodolfo Catalogan
Santa Rita 39,793 Jerome Michael S. Bacay
West Bajac-bajac 7,548 Noli Capistrano
West Tapinac 6,756 Donald Elad Aquino

The city is politically subdivided into 17 barangays.[3]


Climate data for Olongapo City, Philippines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.3
Average low °C (°F) 21.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 4

The city receives an average of 3,375 millimetres (132.9 in) rainfall every year. Temperatures range from an average of around 26.3 °C (79.3 °F) degrees in January to around 29.4 °C (84.9 °F) in April.

The months of December to April are extremely dry but the wet season persists for the remaining period in a year. In August, the monthly rainfall total even reaches 40.87 inches (1,038 mm).

Olongapo has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification: Am).[22] Tempeatures are relatively cooler during the months of December, January and February, and increase slightly from March to May, which are the warmest months of the year in this part of the Philippines.


The land area of Olongapo City is 103.3 square kilometres (39.9 sq mi). The city proper is located on a 6.48 square kilometres (2.50 sq mi) tidal flatland, with the rugged Zambales Mountains on its three sides, and the Bataan and Subic Bay at its base. Because of this peculiar geographic location, development of city land is limited. Also, the territorial borders from nearby towns are not properly marked.[21]

The city is known for its innovative methods of urban management in the 1980s in addressing crime and cleanliness that has been said to be copied by local governments nationwide. The city pioneered the Color-coded transport system, Integrated Solid Waste Management System, Manila.

It was the first chartered city and highly urbanized city in its province.[15] It rose from a "sin city" in the 1960s and 1970s to become a "Model city" in the 1980s and 1990s.[15]

To date, the renowned volunteerism strategy, overturning an ailing economy to prosperity after twin disasters – withdrawal of US Bases and Mt. Pinatubo's eruption, is an unparalleled achievement. Mayor Richard "Dick" Gordon boldly led a strong corps of 8,000 City volunteers who protected and preserved the abandoned US Naval Base facilities from poachers. He complemented this with an aggressive advocacy to convert the area into a protected area and industrial zone. Later, he launched an aggressive international investment promotion which resulted in the acceleration of the development of a prime industrial and tourism zone in the country, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).[20]

The American Flag is lowered and Philippine flag is raised during turnover of Naval Station Subic Bay.

Like his father before him, Mayor Richard Gordon, who was against the departure of the US military forces, lobbied for the turnover of the facility and its conversion into a freeport.

Conversion of the Naval Base and the present-day Olongapo

On September 16, 1991, the Senate leaders of the Philippines did not grant an extension of the existing RP-US Military Bases Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the US, thus terminating the stay of US military in the Philippines.

June 15, 1991 was a memorable date in Olongapo. Mount Pinatubo, 20 miles from Subic Bay erupted with a force 8 times greater than the Mt. St. Helens eruption. Volcanic ash blotted out the sun. Volcanic earthquakes and heavy rain, lightning and thunder from a typhoon passing over northern Luzon made Black Saturday a 36-hour nightmare.[20] This caused widespread damage to the US facility and Olongapo City.

Ash from Mount Pinatubo covers Naval Station Subic Bay.

Mount Pinatubo eruption

Olongapo City administers itself autonomously from Zambales province. The former naval base adjacent to the city became the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in 1992.

Six years later under Mayor James Leonard T. Gordon, Olongapo was reconverted to a chartered city on June 1, 1966.[1] The adjacent U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay headed by Manuel Ardonia was the largest United States Navy installation in the Pacific at the time, and employed 15,000 Filipino civilians. The base was visited by 215 ships per month as Vietnam War activity peaked in 1967. The wild nightclubs along Ramon Magsaysay Drive between the naval base main gate and Rizal Avenue were notoriously popular among the 4,225,000 servicemen visiting the base that year.[16] Sailors of the war remember talented Filipino musicians and singers, inexpensive San Miguel beer, attractive teen-age prostitutes, erotic floor shows, Jeepney rides back to the naval base and children diving for coins tossed from the bridge over the estuarine drainage channel in front of the naval base main gate.[17][18][19]

Olongapo City was the last piece of Philippine territory surrendered by the US to the country in the 1950s.[9][15] On December 7, 1959, 56,000 acres of land with electrical, telephone and water utilities was relinquished to Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Felixberto Serrano.[14] The first mayor appointed was civic leader Ruben Geronimo and he was later succeeded by business entrepreneur Ildefonso Arriola.

Unlike the rest of the Philippines which gained independence from the United States after World War II in 1946, Olongapo was governed as a part of the United States naval reservation. The Subic Bay Naval Base commanding officer was chairman of the Olongapo town council, school board, and hospital board. Olongapo's 60,000 Filipino residents paid taxes to the United States Navy and those accused of crimes involving American servicemen were tried in US Navy courts. In July 1955, Manila mayor Arsenio Lacson announced that US service personnel accused of crimes in Manila would be tried in Philippine courts because of US Navy abuses of Filipinos in Olongapo. On October 23, 1959, Olongapo was placed under martial law when Robert Grant, the American owner of an Olongapo auto parts store was killed and the US Navy declined to identify or try the Naval Supply Depot sentry who shot him. [14]

Olongapo and the bridge leading to NS Subic Bay, 1981.

Independence and cityhood

Due to the Korean War, the US spent over $170 million to convert the base into the homeport of her Navy's Seventh Fleet, developing the Cubi Naval Air Station as the largest US installation of its kind in Asia. Naval authorities relocated the residence from the area of the former Public Works Center area to what is now the hub of Olongapo – along what is now known as Rizal Avenue and Ramon Magsaysay Drive, and in the Barangays New Asinan and New Kalalake areas. Zoning of Olongapo was patterned after American practice where streets are constructed along straight lines. The magnitude of facilities construction in the Olongapo and Subic Bay area brought growth and prosperity to Olongapo. By 1956, migrants from nearby towns and provinces had swelled the population to 39,180.[13]

Gradually Olongapo evolved into a better community: new businesses were established; housing projects were planned, civic facilities were restored. The development of the Reservation has been particularly rapid during the past two years. The new building constructions recently undertaken by the Reservation include: a new ice plant, a high school, two elementary schools, two bridges, and a public library. Two housing projects at Kalaklan and Saluysoy areas are at present being developed. Within a couple of months, the Reservation plans to install new water mains to replace the lines set up in 1908.

The first few years after the war were difficult for the new town, as everything in the new Olongapo was in a deplorable state. There was no electric power and no drainage system. The water supply and sanitation facilities were inadequate, and streets were unpaved.[9]

Shortly after the war was over, the Philippines was granted independence. Olongapo was one of the principal navy bases retained by the US. The Navy started to rebuild the town after the hostilities ceased. Olongapo was built on a new undeveloped site a couple of miles north of its former location. The prewar town site became a part of the Naval Station.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation

In 1945, Olongapo was again bombed, shelled and burned. Joint American and Philippine Commonwealth ground troops aided the recognized guerrilla fighters in liberating Olongapo from the Japanese forces. With the exceptions of the Station Chapel (it was the Olongapo Parish Church before the war) and the Spanish Gate, none of its former landmarks withstood the sweep of the war's fury.

On December 14, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked the Olongapo/Subic Bay area. Ten days later, the order was given to burn Subic Bay Naval Station and withdraw. Olongapo was set aflame by the local Filipinos in anticipation of Japanese troop arrival. The USS New York was scuttled in Subic Bay.[12] When the American forces made a last-ditch stand on the Bataan peninsula, the Naval Station was abandoned and most of its facilities were burned before the Japanese came.

When the war broke out in 1941, the old town was obliterated. Olongapo had to suffer the brunt of destruction twice.

World War II

Olongapo impressed its visitors as being one of the finest communities in the country. People passing though the town never failed to comment on its cleanliness and orderliness.[8][9]

Olongapo grew in direct proportion to the growth of the naval station. More people came to live in Olongapo since the Navy offered employment. To most Filipinos during that time, it was a welcome change. The promise of a different kind of experience as shop workers and office help induced many young men to leave their farms and fishing boats to work in the Navy Yard. Others finding the lure of the sea irresistible joined the U.S. Navy.

The naval station was widened and with the establishment of the American rule in the Philippines. American defenses in the islands were facilities left by the Spanish Navy which were taken over by the United States.

Realizing the tremendous importance of Olongapo as a naval facility, the U.S. Navy decided to keep the base in functioning order; the President of the United States, then Theodore Roosevelt, on November 9, 1901, by executive order, reserved the waters of Subic and some of the adjacent lands for naval purposes.

On May 1, 1898, the construction of the Spanish Administration Building was hardly completed when Admiral Dewey's flagship, USS USS Olympia, led the Asiatic Fleet into Manila Bay. A detachment of Admiral Dewey's fleet bombarded the navy yard. Eventually, after the surrender, Spain relinquished all her rights in the Philippines to the United States. This marked the end of more than three hundred years of Spanish rule over the islands.

Aerial view of the Olongapo Naval Station in 1928

American period


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