Olongapo Cityhood Anniversary

Olongapo Cityhood Anniversary is observed in Olongapo City, Zambales, Philippines every June 1. It commemorates its conversion from a town to a city through the passage of Republic Act No. 4645 in 1966.

The city also celebrates the Ulo ng Apo Festival every December.

History of Olongapo City

Olongapo City, officially known as the City of Olongapo, stands as a thriving urban center in Zambales and plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of central Luzon. It is a first class highly urbanized city with a governing entity that is independent and separate from the provincial administration.

Situated near Subic Bay, it has been deemed strategic since the colonial period. The Spanish government erected a naval yard for their fleet in 1868 due to its favorable natural harbor. They constructed walls, dredged the harbor, and developed the station over three decades.

In 1898, Admiral Dewey’s fleet attacked the the Spanish Navy Yard and took over the facilities the Spaniards left. Recognizing its strategic importance, the U.S. Navy maintained the base as authorized by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.

The American presence spurred development in the area, enticing influx of people. Its town council was composed of residents, some elected and some appointed to the Council, headed by a Reservation Officer who was appointed by the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Station; the Reservation Officer acted as the town mayor and represented the U. S. Naval Station.

It was heavily damaged during World War II and suffered further devastation towards the end of the war. However, it remained one of the key naval bases retained by the United States.

The post-war reconstruction saw a surge in population and prosperity, yet it remained under the jurisdiction of the United States government. Taxes were remitted to the U.S. and crimes involving American servicemen were tried in US Navy courts, leading to tensions owing from the reported abuses of the Americans.

Olongapo became the last territory in the country to gain independence from foreign rule. On December 7, 1959, its lands were turned over to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. It later became a municipality through Executive Order No. 366 signed by President Carlos P. Garcia on December 7, 1959.

It became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 4645, otherwise known as “An Act Creating the City of Olongapo”, that was approved on June 1, 1966. This is the date that the cityhood anniversary remembers annually.

The inauguration of city officials occurred on September 3, 1966. (In the past the inauguration date was observed as the city charter day, see Proclamation No. 886 in 1971.) Its charter was later amended by Republic Act No. 5972 on June 21, 1969 and Republic Act No. 6449 on June 17, 1972.

It became a highly urbanized city on December 7, 1983 and was given representation in the Batasang Pambansa. Its legislative district was fused back to Zambales starting in 1987. It underwent major reconstruction anew after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

Olongapo Cityhood Anniversary Activities

In 2023, activities included a boat race (Bangka-Rera), beach party, family day, games, art exhibit, fun run, electric light parade, and street party. Its schedule was spread throughout the month of June.

How to reach Olongapo City

Olongapo City can be reached via Ninoy Aquino International Airport (180 kilometers, about three hours away) or Clark International Airport (80 kilometers, about an hour or so away).


Olongapo Cityhood Anniversary Summary

NameOlongapo Cityhood Anniversary
CelebrationFounding anniversary
Contact0998 845 6829
DateJune 1
Historical eventConversion of Olongapo from a municipality to a city in 1966
LocationOlongapo City, Zambales
OrganizerCity Government of Olongapo