History of Subic Bay and Olongapo City

Spanish Naval commission authorized construction of the Arsenal at Olongapo

On March 8, 1885, the Spanish Naval commission authorized construction of the Arsenal at Olongapo.  The Spanish planned to make their naval station and the village of Olongapo an Island, protected against attack by insurrectos. They did extensive dredging of the harbor and the inner basin and built a drainage canal.  The canal served both to drain the swampy area around the yard and also to form a line of defense.

Dewey's Flagship USS Olympia leads the Asiatic Fleet into Manila Bay.

On May 1, 1898, Dewey's Flagship USS Olympia leads the Asiatic Fleet into Manila Bay.

On December 10, 1899, One hundred U.S. Marines under the command of Capt John Myers landed at Subic Bay with orders to take charge of the Naval Station at Olongapo and, to take care of all public property and prevent any destruction of the same.

U.S. Navy sailors posing on the propeller of their ship as it undergoes repairs in the Dewey dry-dock at Subic Bay

Picture of U.S. Navy sailors posing on the propeller of their ship as it undergoes repairs in the Dewey dry-dock at Subic Bay.

Subic Bay West Gate, which they called the Spanish Gate

The Americans used the West Gate, which they called the Spanish Gate, as the main gate to the station for many years. Behind the Spanish Gate was a little Marine Cemetery.  The Gate was also used as a jail by both the Spanish and Americans.

first Marines at Subic Bay

The first Marines at Subic Bay lived in barracks and warehouses built by the Spanish.  After the expeditionary force was set up, it was necessary to supplement the Spanish buildings with thatched huts made from the leaves of the nipa palm.

Fort Wint on Grande Island Subic Bay

Ten inch coastal defense gun on a disappearing mount at Fort Wint on Grande Island.  The 96 acre island was purchased in 1905 by the U.S. Army and coastal defense guns installed.

waterfront view of the naval station at Subic Bay taken in 1912 with Alava Pier

A waterfront view of the naval station at Subic Bay taken in 1912 with Alava Pier on the foreground

Olongapo's main street - Esteban Street (now named Dewey Avenue)

A picture looking down Olongapo's main street - Esteban Street (now named Dewey Avenue) toward the navy yard.  The town of Olongapo was on the Naval Reservation and was administered by the U.S. Navy.

A picture of Japanese soldiers crossing Subic Bay on a raft made from oil drums during the Luzon Campaign in 1942.

A picture taken in 1947 from the Parola (LightHouse).

Naval Station & Old Olongapo (once a sitio of Subic Town)

A 1949 aerial picture of Naval Station & Old Olongapo (once a sitio of Subic Town).  The center of the picture is the Naval Station, notice the swampy area on the foreground; then look at the next picture to appreciate the massive soil movement, land filling and development made on the area.

Olongapo City and the construction of Cubi Airfield

A 1968 aerial photo of Subic Bay from almost the same angle as the previous picture.  Notice the built-up area at Olongapo City and the construction of Cubi Airfield (runway) on top of the picture.

West & East Tapinac. Notice that Brgy Pag-asa is still a swampy area in1958, it was later land-filled after being used as dumping area for the city's garbage. Magsaysay Bridge (Main Gate) was still non-existent, Rizal Avenue bridge was rebuilt in 1999 and renamed James L Gordon Bridge  in Olongapo City

The last picture was actually taken from a greater distance/height in 1958, built-up upper portions are West & East Bajac-Bajac, somewhere in the middle: West & East Tapinac. Notice that Brgy Pag-asa is still a swampy area in1958, it was later land-filled after being used as dumping area for the city's garbage. Magsaysay Bridge (Main Gate) was still non-existent, Rizal Avenue bridge was rebuilt in 1999 and renamed James L Gordon Bridge

Legend of OlongapoFather of Olongapo, Olongapo City Museum

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