Olongapo Travel Guide, Philippines
Olongapo was the last piece of Philippine land surrendered by the United States to the country. Accordingly, Olongapo has long been considered a historical landmark. Today, Olongapo is well-known for being the Philippines’ “Most Competitive Medium-Sized City.” An overview of this prosperous Philippine city is presented here.
Even after the Philippines was granted independence from the US in 1946, Olongapo remained a part of the US Naval Reservation. It was only until a man named James Gordon fought to have the city turned over to the Philippine government that Olongapo was officially turned into a municipality. In 1992, the Gordon family converted the former Naval Base into the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, whose economy is now thriving.
Although it is technically still a part of Zambales, Olongapo City administers itself autonomously from the province. The city is located along the western coast of Central Luzon Region.
The areas bordering Olongapo are very mountainous. The only side of the city that is not surrounded by mountains is the southeast side, where Subic Bay is found.
Olongapo City prides itself in being the home of many hard-working and disciplined Filipinos. This is evident in how organized the city is. For instance, the city is filled with color-coded jeepneys. Jeepneys are one of the most popular forms of transportation in the Philippines and having color-coded jeepneys has proven to be very beneficial for Olongapo tourists who need help getting around.
In addition to having a well-ordered public transportation system, Olongapo is filled with a number of other things that project an image of orderliness and success. Sidewalk vendors and drivers, for example, all wear a particular uniform color depending on their designated area. Jeepney drivers are required to wear blue shirts with their last names printed on the back. Flower vendors wear pink vests and pants. Collectively, these little details have given Olongapo City a much esteemed reputation.
The current population in Olongapo is over 400,000. The majority of the population is Tagalog, while a minority is comprised of Ilocanos, Kampampangan, and Bisaya ethnic groups.
Olongapo is at its coolest during the months of October to February. In the summer, the city’s temperature rises a bit. June to early October is the rainy season in Olongapo. Rain can sometimes be very heavy during these months and may even lead to flooding in some areas.
The best months to visit Olongapo are from November to May, when the weather ranges from cool to warm. Tourists can expect the weather to be dry as well during these months.
One major attraction in Olongapo is the Gordon Memorial Park. This park is dedicated to the memory of the late Mayor James L. Gordon. From here, one can take in a breathtaking view of the Subic Bay.
The Friendship Park is another popular tourist destination. It is found right next to the main gate of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. This park is especially great to visit if one is on a trip with kids, as there is a small playground at the heart of the Friendship Park that children will love. This park is also home to the Olongapo Bremerton Sisterhood Marker, which is a monument commemorating the partnership between the cities of Olongapo and Bremerton.
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