History of Subic Bay: What You Need to Know

Did you know that Olongapo City, one of the famous places in the Asia because of its beaches and amenities was well-guarded and far from the tourists place that we’ve known today? Take a look at its rich history.

Spanish Government

In 1884, King Alfonso II of Spain declared Subic Bay as their navy settlement. It’s fine natural harbour and water depths made the city as their official base. The Spaniards almost spent three decades to develop the station. They had shops and buildings and even made walls to fence off their arsenal. However, when the construction was nearly finished, the U.S. Navy bombarded the place, which made the Americans the new ruler of the island.

American Government

It was during the 20th century when the Americans take control in the area. They decided to keep and improve the base, and use as their own naval facility. With this, many people came to live on the island. Farmers and fishermen decided to leave their boats and farm to grab the opportunities offered by the Navy.


In December 7, 1959, Olongapo was turned over to the Philippines. In an Executive Order issued by late President Carlos P. Romulo, the place was changed into a municipality. It was after 32 years when Subic was returned. This is because the Senate of the Philippines rejected the Treaty Agreement of the country and America.


The area’s first settlers are called the Aetas or Negritos. They are the indigenous people of the Philippines and have been farming and fishing in the country for centuries. Until today, you can still see Negritos living in the place. Some of them will even teach you about their culture and how they prepared food in their own way. You can also learn some survival skills from them like making fire, building a shelter and catching fish using spears.

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