Olongapo City History, Tourist Spots, Festivals

Olongapo is a highly urbanized city in Zambales Province.

Olongapo City Hall
Olongapo City Hall

Profile of Olongapo City (Geography)
Location –> Zambales Province in Central Luzon Region, Philippines (See map below)
*Distance from Manila –> 156 Kilometers
Neighboring Towns –> Subic, Floridablanca (Pampanga), Dinalupihan (Bataan) and Morong (Bataan)
Area –> 185.00 km2 (71.43 sq mi)
Population –> 233,040 (2015 Census)
No. of Barangays –> 17
Terrain –> Mountainous with narrow coastal plains and narrower river valleys
Industries –> Trading, Tourism
Major Products –> Handicraft, Home-made Food Items
People/Language –> Ilocano, Tagalog, Kapampangan, English
Mayor –> Rolen C. Paulino Jr.
Vice Mayor –> Jong Yorac Cortez
Representative (1st District) –> Jeffrey D. Khonghun

Olongapo History

The growth of Olongapo as a human settlement started in 1884 when Spanish King Alfonso XII through a Royal Decree made Subic Bay a base for the Spanish Navy because the original naval base in Cavite was destroyed by the British invaders. However, before its full operation as a naval base, the Americans took possession of the Philippines including Subic Bay.

The Americans saw the potential of Subic Bay as a naval base. On November 9, 1901, then President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order reserving Subic Bay and its adjacent lands for military purposes. Thus, Subic Bay became one of the largest bases of the US Navy outside the United States mainland. Olongapo then became the rest and recreational area of Americans.

During World War II, one of the first targets of the Japanese Forces was the destruction of the naval base. Consequently, Olongapo was heavily bombed twice, in 1941 during the invasion and in 1945 during the liberation.

Olongapo saw rapid post-war redevelopment especially in the early 1950s due to the massive expansion of the naval base brought about by the outbreak of the Korean War. On December 7, 1959, the town of Olongapo was finally relinquished to the Philippines through then Secretary of Foreign Affairs Felixberto Serrano. Ruben Geronimo became the first mayor of the new municipality.

On June 1, 1966, Olongapo was converted into a city and in 1983, it was reclassified as a highly urbanized city. After the massive destruction of the naval base in the aftermath of Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and the non-renewal of the Philippine-American Military Agreement by the Philippine Senate, the American Naval Base was closed for good.

During the Presidency of Fidel Ramos, the naval base and adjoining lands were converted into an industrial area and freeport.

Famous People from Olongapo City
Angelee delos Reyes – Miss Philippines Earth 2013
Angelu de Leon – actress
Arnel Pineda – singer/lead vocalist of Journey
Blakdyak (Joseph Amoto-Formaran) – singer, comedian and actor
Eric Cray – track and field athlete
Jake Vargas – model and actor
Liezel Lopez – actress, model, and StarStruck contestant
K Brosas – comedian, singer and host
Kristofer Martin – actor
Lauren Young – actress, sister of Megan Young
Megan Young – actress, Miss World 2013
Moira Dela Torre – singer, songwriter
Raikko Mateo – child actor
Rico Barrera – model and actor
Tom Rodriguez – actor
Willie Miller – basketball player
Wowie de Guzman – actor

Economy, Business and Investment

The economy of Olongapo is based on commerce, services and industry. It is adjacent to the bustling freeport of Subic where many factories have been built after its transformation into an economic zone following the closure of the American Naval Base. At present, Manila-based companies particularly real estates and shopping centers have established branches in the city.

In Barangay Baretto, many hotels and resorts are found. It is considered as the recreational area of the city.

Downtown Olongapo City
Downtown Olongapo

Olongapo Tourist Spots

Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Baretto Beaches
Baloy Beach
Marikit Park
Rizal Park
Olongapo Riverside
Olongapo Lighthouse
Olongapo City Museum
St. Joseph Parish Church

Olongapo Festival

Olongapo Mardi Gras
Ulo ng Apo Festival

RELATED: Profile of Cabanatuan City
See also: List of Philippine Cities by Region and Province

Map of Olongapo City


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