Legend and folklore
has it that the name OLONGAPO was derived in context from the phrase "ULO
NG APO" or Old Man's Head.
The story is that there
was once a tribe whose people were disunited. A wise, old man seeing the
evils that disunity sow among his people, exerted great efforts and united
the tribe. A group of villains, however, did not appreciate the fruits of
the old man's efforts. They bitterly disliked the idea of the tribe having
a true and good leader. One day, the wise, old man just disappeared.
After a long search, the old man's body was found but the head was missing.
The natives launched diligent efforts to locate the severed head of their
leader. However their efforts proved futile. But the search did not end
there. A boy, who made a vow not to stop until he could find the old man's
head, indefatigably continued to look for it. Then one day, he came upon
the old man's head resting on the tip of a bamboo pole. The villains, apparently,
wanted to disgrace the wise, old man so that disunity and its evils would
again prevail among the natives. Upon seeing the head, the boy run back
to his people crying, "ULO NG APO" around the village. The phrase
suck and the place was known as it is today - OLONGAPO . Legend also adds
that the old man's head became the symbol of the natives unity.
Olongapo was a small
fishing village of Subic. Records show that the Aetas were its first settlers.
In 1884, Olongapo was occupied buy the Spaniards who made it a settlement
of the Spanish navy. Recognizing at once the advantages of Subic Bay's "uniform
depth, wide waters and the protection from strong winds provided by the
mountains on three sides," King Alfonso II, proclaimed Subic Bay as
a Spain's stronghold in the Far East. Lured by the deep water harbor
which regarded as "having no equal in the Philippine island."
Admiral George Dewey took Olongapo and the Subic Bay during the Spanish
- American war in 1898. The subsequent turn of events made by the bay area
and 70,000 acres of adjacent land including Olongapo, a U.S. military reservation.
The United States spent million of dollars in 1951 to convert the base.
On December 7, 1959, after a protracted agitation by its citizens, Olongapo
was relinquished by the United States to the Philippine government and converted
into a municipality. Six years later, on the first day of June 1966, Olongapo
was reconverted into a chartered city.