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—  City  —

Map of Zambales showing the location of Olongapo City.
Olongapo is located in Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 14°50′N 120°17′E / 14.833°N 120.283°E / 14.833; 120.283Coordinates: 14°50′N 120°17′E / 14.833°N 120.283°E / 14.833; 120.283
Country  Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province Zambales
District 1st district
Cityhood June 1, 1966[1]
Barangays 17
 - Mayor James L. Gordon, Jr.
 - Total 185.00 km2 (71.4 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - Total 227,270
 Density 1,228.5/km2 (3,181.8/sq mi)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 2200
Income class 1st class; highly urbanized
Population Census of Olongapo City
Census Pop. Rate
1995 179,754
2000 194,260 1.68%
2007 227,270 2.19%

Olongapo City (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Olongapo; Sambal: Syodad nin Olongapo) is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Zambales, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 227,270 people in 43,107 households.



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. After lobbying efforts of James Leonard T. Gordon, the area was relinquished to the Philippine government and converted into a municipality on December 7, 1959. The first mayor appointed was Mayor Geronimo and was later succeeded by James Leonard T. Gordon. Six years later under Mayor James Leonard T. Gordon, 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, which until 1992 was a United States naval base. Like his father before him, Mayor Richard Gordon, who was against departure of the US military forces, lobbied for the turnover of the facility and its conversion into a freeport after the Senate of the Philippines rejected an extension of a treaty with the United States government. The city is known for its innovative methods of urban management in the 1980s in addressing crime and cleanliness that has been copied by local governments nationwide. These include the public utility color-code, traffic management system, waste management system earning Olongapo City national and international award such as the UNESCO Cities for Peace representing Asia and the Pacific in 1997 and the Konrad Adenauer Local Medal of Excellence in 1999. Furthermore, the Asian Development Bank and World Bank have also recognized its successful urban redevelopment and city development strategy after the US Base turnover.


  • Ruben Dela Cruz Geronimo Nov. 1959 - May, 1964 as Municipal Mayor
  • James Leonard T. Gordon (Nov. 1964 - June 1, 1966 as Municipal Mayor)
  • James Leonard T. Gordon (June 1, 1966 - Feb. 20, 1967 as City Mayor)
  • Amelia Juico Gordon (June 1967 - June 30, 1972)
  • Geronimo "Momoy" Lipumano (July 1972 to May 1980)
  • Richard "Dick" Gordon - (June 30, 1980 - April 23, 1986) (1st term)
  • Richard "Dick" Gordon (April 26, 1986 - June 30, 1998)(2nd term)
  • Cynthia Cajudo(June 30, 1998) acting capacity
  • Katherine "Kate" Gordon - (June 30, 1998 - June 22, 2001)
  • James Gordon, Jr. (June 30, 2001 - June 30, 2010)


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, 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.[2]) 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”[3] 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.


Once upon a time in the area where Olongapo is now situated, there was a leader, an old man, famous for his love and care for his tribe. This leader was known as APO. He was intelligent, good and just. He favored no one and treated everyone fairly, that was why he was loved by all.

The 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 fairness 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 the bad intention of conquering his tribe became envious of him.

One morning, the village was awaked by the news that the Apo was taken by unscrupulous tribesman. The villagers searched for the Apo in the forest and mountains for several days but in vain.

Then one day, the village was 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. They soon learned 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.

But the village instead of being frightened, became enraged because of the hideous things done to their beloved head. 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 Leader). Thus the locality bears its name and became OLONGAPO.


Downtown Olongapo

Olongapo City is politically subdivided into 17 barangays:

  • Asinan
  • Banicain
  • Barretto
  • East Bajac-bajac
  • East Tapinac
  • Gordon Heights
  • Kalaklan
  • Mabayuan
  • New Cabalan
  • New Ilalim
  • New Kababae
  • New Kalalake
  • Old Cabalan
  • Pag-asa
  • Santa Rita
  • West Bajac-bajac
  • West Tapinac


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. To the east, Olongapo City PNP Police Station 1, and at the back of the city hall, the Health Building.

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 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 last 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.

Marikit Park - One of the most earliest parks of Olongapo, it has become a famous one for its time. Today, it is near Gordon College, the museum, the convention center and the library.

Philippine Presidential and Local Elections, 2010 (Olongapo Mayoral Election Candidates

1st Candidate Mayor: James "Bong" Gordon Vice Mayor: Cynthia Cajudo

2nd Candidate Mayor: Vic Magsaysay Vice Mayor: Rolen Paulino

3rd Candidate Mayor: Jer Bacay Vice Mayor:

Religious groups


Elementary Private Schools
  • Christ The King Catholic School
  • Christian Baptist Academy
  • Columban College - Asinan
  • Columban College - Barretto
  • Holy Infant Jesus College
  • Juventus School for the Gifted
  • KinderCare Development Center (KCDC)
  • Learning Circle
  • Little Angel Study Center
  • Mondriaan Montessori School
  • Olongapo Adventist Elementary School
  • Olongapo Anglo Cultural School
  • Olongapo City Christian School
  • Olongapo Wesley School
  • Sacred Heart Children's Center Foundation Inc.
  • San Antonio de Padua G.S
  • St. Anne Academy
  • St. Joseph College-Olongapo
  • Subic Monttessori School
  • Sunbeam Christian Academy
  • Virgen Delos Remedios College
  • White Stone Christian School
Elementary Public Schools
  • Asinan Elementary School
  • Balic-Balic Elementary School
  • Barretto I Elementary School
  • Barretto II Elementary School
  • Boton Elementary School
  • East Bajac Bajac Elementary School
  • Gordon Heights Elementary School
  • Ilalim Elementary School
  • Iram Elementary School
  • James L. Gordon Integrated School Elementary 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 Soriano Esteban Memorial School
  • SPED-Gifted
  • Sta. Rita Elementary School
  • Tabacuhan Elementary School
  • Tapinac Elementary School
High School (Private)
  • Aura De Lauerentus Business School
  • Christ The King Catholic School
  • Columban College-Asinan
  • Columban College-Barretto
  • Holy Infant Jesus College
  • Little Angel Study Center
  • Network Computer and Business College
  • Olongapo Wesley School
  • St. Anne Academy
  • St. Joseph College-Olongapo
  • Sunbeam Christian Academy
  • Virgen Delos Remedios College
  • White Stone Christian School
High School (Public)
  • Barretto National High School
  • City of Olongapo National High School
  • City of Olongapo National High School - James L. Gordon Integrated School
  • Gordon Heights National High School
  • Gordon Heights NHS - Sta. Rita High School
  • Iram High School (Resettlement School)
  • Kalalake National High School
  • New Cabalan National High School
  • Regional Science High School, Region III
  • AMA Computer Learning Center, Olongapo City
  • AMA Computer College, Olongapo City
  • Aptech Computer Education Subic
  • Asian Institute of E-commerce
  • Aura College
  • Central Gate Micro Tech Center
  • Columban College (Main and Barretto Campus)
  • Comteq Computer and Business College
  • Computron
  • Divine Spirit Hospital & Colleges, Inc.
  • Freeport Institute for Research, Science and Technology
  • Gordon College
  • George Dewey Medical College
  • Lyceum of Subic Bay
  • Metro Subic Colleges Incorporated
  • Mondrian Aura College
  • National Christian College
  • Naval Reservation Jr. College
  • Network Computer and Business Colleges
  • Olongapo City College
  • Online Data Center Computer School
  • Ship Repair Facility Apprentice—HTJ School USNB
  • STI College Olongapo City
  • St. Joseph College-Olongapo
  • US Navy PWC Apprenticeship
  • USNB SRF Shop Learners (Electronics)


  1. ^ a b "Olongapo City - Brief History". 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^

External links



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