" The History "
Subic Bay Freeport Zone. In 1991, the Philippine Senate made the momentous decision not to extend the Military Bases Agreement (MBA), which had regulated the lease of the bases since the end of World War II.
Since being converted into the Subic Bay Freeport after the US Navy withdrew, hotels, restaurants, mega stores, mountain and marine attraction and various historical landmarks have been drawing tourists to this place.
The City of Olongapo
Parallel to the development of the US Naval Complex, Olongapo City grew from the simple fishing village into a bustling metropolis. It became the First Highly Urbanized City in Central Luzon and was given independence from its mother province, Zambales in December 1984.
The City of Olongapo lies 127 km. of Manila and is located at the Southern portion of Zambales Province on the western coast of Central Luzon. It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Subic, northeast of Dinalupihan, Bataan on the southeast by Morong, Bataan and Subic Bay on the southwest.
In December 1959, Olongapo was turned over to the Philippine Government and converted into a municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 366 issued by then President Carlos P. Garcia. Later on it was again transformed into a chartered city in June 1966 when the President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Republic Act 4645.
The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991 and the exit of the US Naval Operations in 1992 affected the city’s economy. Through volunteerism, the people lobbied for the free port in Congress, and people led the conversion of the base into a free port. Together, they gave of themselves to protect and preserve the Subic Bay Area and today, Olongapo City is home to one of the most exciting growth areas in the Philippines.
The Province of Zambales | Source : www.zambales.gov.ph
Zambales is located at the Western Coast of Central Luzon Region. It shares common boundaries with Pangasinan on the North, Tarlac and Pampanga on the East, Olongapo City and Bataan on the South and the China Sea on the West.
The province of Zambales was formally organized in 1572 after its exploration by Don Juan de Salcedo, the Intrepid Spanish Explorer. The earliest migrants, the Malay, come from the Celebes Sea and settled in the Northern area up to Cape Bolinao of Lingayen Gulf and the Tagalogs who come from the NorthernLuzon. The aborigines, the kinky haired Negritoes and Aetas were thus driven to hinterlands and replaced by the newcomers who established Villages which became the nuclei in the formation of barangays and municipalities.
From 1572 to 1903, a period of 331 years, the Northern portion of Zambales included the towns of Alaminos, Bolinao, San Isidro, Infanta, Anda, Bani and Agno, all of which now belong to Pangasinan due to physical difficulties at that time. Among the earliest municipalities are Masinloc, organized in 1607 and was the first Provincial Capital; Iba, which was the present Provincial Capital, organized in 1611; and Sta. Cruz which was located in the Northern tip was formed a year later.
The name of the province was derived from the Malay word “Samba” meaning to worship as the inhabitants were found by the Spaniards to be “worshipping spirits” called “Anitos”. The inhabitants were then referred to as “Sambali” or the hispanized form “Zambals”. [up]
The Province of Bataan | Source : www.bataan.gov.ph
Bataan is a strategic peninsular province lying in the south-western part of Central Luzon. Majority of its municipalities are within the coastline, with Manila Bay in the east and the China Sea in the western portions which are bounded respectively by Zambales and Pampanga, the province is virtually surrounded by sea waters.
Several villages in the coastal plains of Bataan were already thriving communities when Spanish missionaries found them in the 1570s. Bataan, then known as Vatan, was part of the vast Capampangan Empire that included what now are the provinces of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and some portions of Bulacan, Zambales and Pangasinan.
Bataan was established in 1754 by Governor General Pedro Manuel Arandia.
Long before the outbreak of Word War II, Bataan already earned herself a secure place in the history of the Philippines. The prince of Filipino printers, Tomas Pinpin, a native of Abucay, who either authored or co-authored some of the oldest books in the Philippines and printed them himself between 1610 to 1639 in the printing press located inside the Abucay Catholic Church. In 1647, the plundering Dutch Naval forces were resisted in Bataan, the defenders ultimately chose the glory of death to the ignominy of surrender.
Bataan was among the first provinces to rise in revolt against Spanish tyranny. Two of her sons, Pablo Tecson and Tomas del Rosario, figured prominently in the Malolos Convention in 1898, and were instrumental in ensuring that the Filipinos enjoyed religious freedom. Cayetano Arellano of Orion became the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Revolutionary Government, and later on became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, the selection of the peninsula as the locale of the last defensive stand by the USAFFE against the invading Japanese forces brought fame and infamy to Bataan. The loss of life and property cannot be estimated. Bataan then became the symbol of valor and tenacity in its hopeless stand against the much superior invading Japanese Imperial Forces. Today, a national landmark called the Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan) stands majestically on top of the Mt. Samat in Pilar as testimony to the gallantry and sacrifices of the men and women who with their blood, tears, and sweat made the grounds of Bataan hallow.