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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.


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