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Olongapo City


If you're planning for an adventurous getaway, you cannot exclude Olongapo City in your must-see list to visit. Located along the western shores of Central Luzon, Olongapo City is a two hour drive northwest of Manila and can be reached by plane via the Subic Bay International Airport.

The place itself has a lot of interesting stories and an inspiring history to tell. Prior to 1980, Olongapo went by the nickname, “Sin City of the Philippines". With the election of Dick Gordon as Mayor, he quickly instituted numerous reforms that garnered both local and international awards in public administration and soon, that nickname became a thing of the past.

The challenges that awaited the City did not end there. In quick succession, the city survived the horrors of the eruption Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 and the following year, the Philippine Senate voted not to renew the Bases Agreement, leaving tens of thou¬sands of employees jobless.

Undaunted, the people of Olongapo volunteered to protect the former U.S. Base and to preserve the remaining virgin forest of its size in Luzon.

Their courage and determination paid off. Olongapo City has risen from the ashes and emerged as the premier economic showcase of the Philippines and one of Asia's great tourist destinations.

Getting There

Olongapo City is a pleasant 2 ˝ hour drive northeast from Manila. Public buses (Victory Liner and Saulog Transit) leave hourly from terminals. International and domestic flights (Philippine Airlines, Eastern Transport & China Southern Air) are avallable via Subic Bay International Airport.

Foreign Exchange

Most banks and foreign exchange dealers accept travelers check as well as most major inter¬national currencies.

Postal Service

Olongapo City's main post office is located on Rizal Avenue, in front of the City Hall. Interna¬tional and domestic courier services (Federal Express, DHL, Aboitiz, LBC, etc.) are also available in the City.


The area code for Olongapo City is 47. To make a domestic call outside this calling area, dial "0" before the number. To make an international , call dial "00" before the country code of the number you are calling.

Local and international calls may be made from most hotel rooms. Pay phones may also be found in certain public areas. For telephone assistance, please dial 109 (for local calls) and 108 (international calls).

Car and Van Rentals

Car and Van Rentals are available particularly along the Magsaysay Drive area. Rentals often include a driver.


Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ATMS are available throughout the city.


Welcome Sign - Coming from the South, e gateway welcomes you to Olorigapo City

World Peace Memorial - The dove that greets the victors at the entry point to Olongapo City stands as a sign of peace, in memory of those who died during the Battle of Lgzag Pass, one of the longest and most hazardous battles during World War II.

Beach Boulevard - Olongapo's beaches are easily accessible and affordable. There are several beaches to choose from along the Beach Boulevard in Barangay Barretto - the golden mile for fun and relaxation.

The City is in the stage of preparing the design that will create a Riviera-like atmosphere along the coastline wherein a boardwalk stretching out along the sea shall be built.

Nlghtife - Olongapo's famed nightlife has only gotten better. Many of today's celebrity bands actually started In the Citys entertainment districts. Sing and dance the night way along the many clubs of Magsaysay Drive, Gordon Avenue, Rizal Avenue and Beach Boulevard, Barretto

Olongapo City Convention Center (OCCC) - The OCCC opened in July 2001 as a regional landmark offering the most technologically advance conference capabilities in the entire Subic Bay. OCCC has the ideal setting for intimate meetings of 20 to international conferences for 500 or mile¬stone concerts of 2000 (theater type).

Among the first events held in OCCC were the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines National Convention and Philippines International Sisterhood and Twinning Association National Conference.

City Hall - One of the Philippines' most modem city halls, a brief exhibit of the Cftys history and achievements Is displayed on the first and second floors.

Rizal Triangle - This area sits right beside the City Hall where most of the City activities and pro¬-grams are held. It is dedicated to the lasting friendship between the American and Filipino nations.

Marikit Park - This park is considered to be the main City park where some of the Olongapo's activities are staged. Featured in the park are playground for children, big shade trees, an amphi¬ theater-like section for big audiences.

Volunteers Park - Adjacent to the main gate of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. this long, narrow park stretches along the Perimeter Road. This park is dedicated to the 8,000 volunteers who estab¬lished the foundation of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone under the leadership of founding Chairperson Richard J. Gordon.

Olongapo Nite Market - This serves as an open shopping area for buyers starting 5 00 p.m. until midnight. The Nite Market can be found at Lot 21 where the proposed Commercial Mali and Cultural Center will house a 4-Storey Commercial Building.

Grotto of Our Lady of Pardon - Located in Barangay Mabayuan, Catholic devotees pray and pay homage to the Lord of Pardon at this sacred place.

Volunteers Wall - Dedicated to the p!oneers of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, the Volunteers Wall is made from granite slabs where the names of the 8,000 volunteers are engraved.

Volunteers Monument (Children of the Sun Returning) - Located at the waterfront Road inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, this monument signifies the birth of the New Philippines.


 National Winner – Gawad KALASAG Award, Best City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC), 30 July 2003
 Naitional Winner - Most Outstanding Highly Urbanized City in Local Budget Administration, 29 November 2002
 National Winner - Gawad KALASAG Award, Best City Disaster Coordinating Council, ( CDCC), 21 August 2002
 National Winner – Most Child Friendly City, Highly Urbanized Category, April 22, 2002

 Mayor Kate H. Gordon – Outstanding Woman in Local Government, awarded by the United Nations Economic and Social Commision for Asia & the Pacific (UNESCAP), Phitsanulok, Thailand, June 20, 2001
 National Winner – Most Outstanding Highly Urbanized City in Local Budget Administration – April 23, 2001
 National Winner – LUPONG TAGAPAMAYAPA Barangay New Cabalan

 National Winner – Most Outstanding Highly Urbanized City in Local Budget Administration
 Gawad Oscar M. Florendo – succesful information drive on the city’s programs and projects, November 15, 2000
 Sentrong Sigla Awardee – James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital, Barangay Health Centers (Banicain, Gordon Heights, Sta. Rita, West Bajac-Bajac, West Tapinac)
 Recognition for Excelence – Special recognition for Partnership w/ the World Bank under the CDS, February 26, 2000


Ongapo City is a clear picture of what good governance can do. An excellent example of this is the transportation system. For¬mer Mayor Richard Gordon im¬plemented a transport scheme that eliminated traffic problems, made commuting easier for pas¬senger and protected the trans¬portation buisiness of its resi¬dents.

Jeepney and tricycle drivers wear uniforms and I.D.'s for identification and public utility jeepneys are color-coded. For instance, a blue jeepney will take you from Subic town in the north to Olon¬gapo City and vice-versa while a yellow one will bring you from Sta. Rita to Rizal Avenue.


Once upon a time along the shores of Subic Bay there was a fishing Village. It's Leader, an old man, was famous for his love and care of his tribe. This leader was known as APO. He was Intelligent, good and just. He favored no one and treated everyone fairly. He was loved by all.

This village of this model Apo became a good example for the nearby settlements. His name became a byword. Any dispute and conflict he resolved with due faimess and justice, He inspired goodwill and nurtured hope in his people to combat sufferings brought about by calamities. However, because of his greatness, evil men with intentions of conquering his tribe became envious of him.

One morning the village was awakened by the news that Apo was taken by unscrupu¬lous tribesmen. The villagers searched for the Apo In the forests and mountains for several days but in vain.

One day, the villagers were taken by surprise when a boy returning from the forest, claimed that he found the head of the Apo at the foot of the mountain, impaled on a bamboo pole. They soon learned that the Apo was killed by his abductors, who cut his head off In order to cast fear among the villagers and succeed in their evil Intent.

Realizing that they now can bury their beloved Apo with all the honors they met the boy carrying the head amid the loud shouts of 'Ulo ng Apo' (Head of the Chieftain), This became a rally¬ing cry for the village and inspired the villagers to unite against all enemies.

But the village instead of being frightened became enraged because of the hideous things done to their beloved leader. The villagers punished the culprits and in order to cherish and emulate the example of leadership shown to them by the Apo, they called their village 'ULONGAPO', (Head of the Chieftain). Thus the loyalty bears Its name and became OLONGAPO.

This is the legend of Olongapo, which should not be washed away by time and forgotten by every citizen of the City.


1884 - A royal decree was issued by King Alfonso II making Subic Bay as Spain's stronghold in the Far East.

1885 - Don Juan Bautista de Antequiera, the founder of Olongapo, constructed permanent structures of an arsenal composed of a watch tower, a gate, several buildings and a railway connecting the hills of Olongapo and the Bay.

1898 - A detachment from Admiral Deweys Fleet took Olongapo and Subic Bay during the Spanish-American War.

1904 - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt issued an Executive Order designating Subic Say and 70,000 acres of adjacent land, including Olongapo as an American Military reser¬vation. Concerted American development of Subic started on this year. Part of the reservation was developed as a naval station with a ship repair unit and coaling station.

1908 - Establishment of an American military administration for town affairs

1932 - Opening of the Zlg-Zag Pass.

1942 - 1944 - The Japanese military occupied the naval station and built wooden sampans for use in the war effort.

1945 - During liberation, the Japanese made their last stand at the Zigzag Pass.

1951 - U S. spent over $170 Million to convert the base into the homeport of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, developing the Naval Base and the Cubi Naval Air Station as the largest U.S. installation of its kind in Asia.

Dec. 5, 1959 - Olongapo was turned over to the Philippine government by the U.S. government and converted into e municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 366 issued by then President Cantos P. Garcia. The first government officials were appointed.

Nov. 1964 - The first municipal election was held in Olongapo.

June 1966 - President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Republic Act No. 4645, converting Olongapo into a chartered city.

Dec. 7, 1983 - The City became a highly urbanized city in Central Luzon.

June 15,1991 - Mt. Pinatubo erupted causing widespread damage at the U.S. Facility and in Dion¬gapo City, blanketing the entire City in 18 inches of volcanic ash,

Sept. 16, 1991 - Senate rejects Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.

March 13, 1992 - Republic Act No. 7227 was signed by President Corazon C. Aquino creating the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority with Mayor Richard J. Gordon acting as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to preside over the development of the Subic Bay Freeport.

Nov. 24,1992 - The U.S. Naval Facility which included the Naval Station and the Cubi Naval Air Station, was formally turned over to the Philippine Government. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) took over the management of the Subic Bay Freeport .

July 1, 1993 - Olongapo City Mayor Richard J. Gordon was appointed SBMA's Chairman and Chief Executive Order and has to give up the position of Mayor in accordance with law.

March 31, 1998 - Mayor Kate H. Gordon of Olongapo won the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Peace Prize Award which she received on March 31, 1998 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Mayor was the only lady Mayor among five awardees who came from different regions of the world. The award was in recognition of her programs and initiatives that brought peace and order in her community and promoted productive living.

Sept. 2, 1998 - After reviving the economy of Central Luzon and the City of Olongapo, Chairman Gordon stepped down from SBMA with the unfavorable decision of the Supreme Court on the issue of Chairmanship brought about by the change in national leadership.

June 19, 2001 - Mayor Kate H. Gordon received the “Outstanding Woman in Local Government given by the United Nations Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific” (UNESCAP), Phistanulok Thailand

Where to Shop

The clean Olongapo Public Market displays and sells a very wide variety of dry and wet goods Complementing the public markets are the numer¬ous shops that line Magsaysay Drive and Rizal Avenue. They contribute to making shopping in Olongapo, incudhg the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, a true pleasure.

Where to Stay

In Olongapo a selection of deluxe, standard, economy and pension type accomodation are available. There is also a variety of resorts ranging from de luxe to special interest category.


The beauty of Olongapo’s Beaches is that everyone can enjoy them. Not only
are they accessible, they are very affordable. There are several beaches to pick from with the budget-consious traveler. All located at Barrio Baretto the northern most portion of the city which we call the Beach Boulevard. In several resorts, you can actually enjoy stepping out of your bedroom in to the beach.

Dining Out

Your trip to Olangpo would not be complete without discvering what the city has to offer by way of cuisine. Because of Olongapo's history, pizza and hamburger joints abound. However the recent influx of international invesors to the area also has brought a taste for Hong Kong style or Szechuan Chinese dishes as well as exciting Indian, Thai, Middle-Eastern, Mexican. Malasian, Japanese, German, Swiss, and Italian cuisine.

And for local cuisine, check out the local wet market to sample the freshest seafood around.


Olongapo’s famed nighlife is alive and kickiong. Many of today’s stars actually owe their start to this city’s entertainment district. You just may discover the next band sensation along the hubs of nightlife activitiues at Magsaysay Drive. Gordon Avenue and Beach Boulevard.

History (Source: Wikipedia.com)

The City of Olongapo (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Olongapo; Sambal: Syodad nin Olongapo) is an urbanized city formerly in the province of Zambales, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 194,260 people in 43,107 households.

Olongapo was originally governed as a part of the United States naval reservation. It was relinquished to the Philippine government and converted into a municipality on December 7, 1959. Six years later Olongapo was reconverted to a chartered city on June 1 1966.[1] Olongapo City administers itself autonomously from Zambales province. Adjacent to the city is the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, which until 1992 was a United States naval base.


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

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. (It should also be said that, to the Sambal, decapitation was the only permissible form of assassination.[2]) These efforts, sadly, would prove 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, upon seeing the head, ran back to his people crying, “Olo nin apo! Olo nin apo!” (“head of the elder” in Sambal; translates as “ulo ng apo” 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 unity of the people of what is now a modern city.


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