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Asinan was the first barrio that was rehabilitated after World War II by the US Naval Reservation Administration because of the proximity of the place with the US Naval base Formerly the seat of business establishments operated mostly by Chinese residents of the community in 1958, this barrio was relocated on a reclaimed area when the US Naval Base was expanded.
The place named Banicain is one of the oldest place names that was in use in Olongapo even before the advent of the Spaniards. The old barrio of Banicain was sparsely populated village in the far shore of the Subic Bay, easily visible from the old town of Olongapo. The area is actually part of Bataan province. The villagers regularly come to the town of Olongapo in their sailboats to bring their products of firewood, cashew nuts and bananas. Out of their sales they bought pork, beef and other foodstuff, clothes and shoes to take back home to Banicain.
In the early 50’s when Korean War was at its height, the US Navy decided to build a Naval Air Station across the Bay from Olongapo. The site selected included the Banicain area. The mountains at the back of the village had to be leveled to provide free space for runaways. The residents were then transferred, houses and all, to a resettlement site near Asinan and Tapinac.
Now, Banicain is one of the 17 Barangays of Olongapo City. It is divided into 10 puroks with a total land area of 13.20 hectares. The original residents from across the bay are still in the area although they have been outnumbered by new comers.
Before World War II, Barreto is know as Sitio Maquinaya. In 1945, it was utilized by the US Naval Base as their Naval Supply Depot. Barreto then is a forested area and the Naval Base established a sawmill in the area. When the US Government turned over the area to the Philippine Government, people begun to migrate in the area, most notable of which were the first 60 families from the nearby barangay who were ejected from their land. As the population grows the people petitioned the Municipal Government of Olongapo which is then headed by Municipal Mayor Ruben Geronimo, for the creation of Sitio Maquinaya into a full Barrio. Acting positively on the petitioned, the Municipal Council passed and approved a Resolution in July 05, 1961 which in turned requesting the Provincial Board of Zambales to pass and approve an ordinance which will create Manquinaya into a barrio. The rest is now history.
Barangay East Bajac-Bajac lies mainly along the basin of the once-know “Anderson Falls” on the left side of Rizal Avenue going north. Simultaneous with the construction of project house in West Bajac-Bajac, a public market was also constructed and established in the barrio for use and occupancy by key civilian personnel and employees of the US Naval Base. Other places in the barrio that were not earmarked for project houses were occupied mostly by merchants who peddled their goods and wares on the public market.
Bordering the row of houses on the eastern side of the town was a wide riceland with some few fishponds which comprised of the barrio of East Tapinac
During the period of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Olongapo, these Riceland’s and fishponds were leveled, reclaimed and ultimately subdivided into residential lots for occupancy mostly by employees working inside the US Naval Base.
When several houses were built in the barrio, electrical posts and lines were installed and soon, electric power was made available by the US Naval Reservation Administration to the residents.
Barangay Gordon Heights is located on the northern part of Olongapo and was formerly a part of barrio Sta. Rita. The place is bounded by a mountain on the sides and conceived for rehabilitation by Mayor Amelia J. Gordon for the landless residents of Olongapo as part of her masterplan for the complete development of the city.
This Barrio became a distinct and separate barangay in Olongapo thru Republic Act No. 6199 entitled “an Act Creating Barangay Gordon Heights in the City of Olongapo”, which was approved in 1971. Section One of Republic Act No. 6199 provides as follows: “The whole area of Purok 7 in the barrio of Sta. Rita, City of Olongapo, is hereby operated from the said barrio and constituted into a distinct and independent barrio of this city, to be knows as barrio Gordon Heights. Bo. Gordon Heights, on the East by Watershed Area, on the South by Mabayuan River, and in the West by Sta. Rita boundaries.”
Barangay Kababae was formerly situation adjacent to Kalalake during the pre-war days. However, the site was affected when the US Naval Base was expanded. Kababe was then relocated between barrio New Ilalim and Barrio Banicain.
On both sides of the highway going north along the mountainsides overlooking the community of Olongapo is barrio Kalaklan developed by the US Navy. Due to the panoramic view and natural beauty of the place, project houses were built and constructed by the US Navy for the exclusive use of American naval officers and other key civilian employees of the US Naval base, however, due to the rapid increase in the population of Olongapo at the time due to the expansion of the Naval base, barrio Kalaklan was opened for occupancy by the other residents of Olongapo.
The barrio of Kalake was an adjacent village of barrio Kababae, east of the Naval base during the pre-World War II days and was formerly located near the bank of Kalaklan River. The colorful legends of Kalalake began in the time when giants rule the earth and spoke of a giant young man and his giant lady love. The homes were marked by two adjacent mounds of earth. The bigger one which was later named kalalake Plateau was a flat-topped hill which many scholars loved to explore because of the caves that were said to harbor fairies and other supernatural beings.
The Kalalake Plateau was leveled by the US Navy to make way for the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) warehouses. When the US Naval Base was expanded in 1958, the residents of Kalalake were affected and relocated at a reclaimed area adjacent to what is now Asinan, across the perimeter channel, from what is now Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
Due to the continued expansion of the US Naval base, almost one-half of barrio Kalalke, which was formerly located along the border of the base, was affected and the residents living on the affected areas had to be relocated elsewhere.
At the time, barrio Kalalake was already thickly populated, occupied mostly by employees working inside the US Naval Base and those affected by the expansion of the base could no longer be accommodation on the remaining portion of barrio Kalalake. The other barrios meanwhile could not accommodate the displaced residents as these other barrios were then fast becoming populated due to the continued migration of people from different places of the country in search of better opportunities in Olongapo due to the presence of the US Naval Base.
Faced with this problem, the US Naval Reservation Authorities and the town officials decided to create another barrio and the area on the western portion was found to be suitable for the purpose. The entire area was then graded, leveled, and divided into home lots and occupied by those affected by the expansion of the Naval Base and as the population on the area increased, the place was named barrio Mabayuan which in the literal interpretation means “a change for the better”.
Aside from being employed inside the US Naval Base, the residents of the barrio embarked on agriculture, gardening, and poultry as their other source of livelihood. Soon, bigger houses were erected and officials were elected to represent the barrio.
Barangay New Cabalan is located between the boundary of Bataan and Olongapo City. It is one of the largest of all barangays in the city as far as land area is concerned. It has a hilly terrain which is bounded by Tabacuhan and Sta. Rita River on the north; Hermosa, Bataan and mountain ranges on the south; Barangay Old Cabalan on the west and Bangal, Dinalupihan, Bataan on the east. It is the home of our Negrito brothers.
This barrio, then know as “barrio Ilalim”, was formerly a small fishing area situated on an interior site near the sea, adjacent to the boundary of Bataan Province and was virtually surrounded by dense forests, hence the name “Ilalim”.
When the US Navy Yard expanded, the US Naval Base officials found the site suitable for the establishment of an ammunition depot. Thus, barrio Ilalim was relocated to another site near the northern part of barrio West Tapinac. Upon its relocation, the place was named “New Ilalim” and was opened for occupancy for the residents of Olongapo. Soon enough, the place was resided upon mostly by those employed inside the US Naval Base.
Barangay Old Cabalan was formerly a part of Sta. Rita and located south of Olongapo and bordered by barrio New Cabalan.
Due to the increasing number of residents in barrio Sta. Rita and the enormous size in land area, with a voting population of almost 19,000 which is comparable to a minicipality in Zambales, the government officials of Olongapo City conceived the idea of separating the entire area comprising Old Cabalan and constitute the same as a separate Barangay to facilitate administration and control. A plebiscite among the residents of barrio Sta. Rita was conducted on June 18, 1989, and gaining a majority vote, Old Cabalan was then constituted as the 17th barangay of Olongapo City.
The decade of the 1950’s saw many changes in the community of Olongapo. These were the years of the Korean War when base facilities, more job opportunities were opened and job seekers flocked to Olongapo from all over the country.
The need for increased community facilities gave the US Naval Reservation officials, who were then administering the community, the idea of a really comprehensive town plan. Thus, the US Navy Commissioned Bartholomew and Associates of Hawaii to draft a plan that would result in an orderly expansion of the town site and that would effectively set the US Naval Base off from the town proper. In following the town plan, areas in the periphery of the town were filled in the reclaimed from swampland and subdivided to provide residential lots, market sites, school sites, and all other requisites of a well-planned community. The lots were apportioned to a legitimate residents. Those whose residential lots became part of the US Naval Base were given replacement lots and were assisted in transferring their houses. Neighborhoods were kept intact as much as possible in spite of the wholesome transfer.
When the US Navy relinquished the US Naval Reservation and turned it over to the Philippine Government, Olongapo become a municipality. The political subdivisions were later laid out. The area bounded by 12th street, Gordon Avenue and the Perimeter Channel was named Barangay Pag-asa. Like Kalalake and Asinan, the place was part of the area reclaimed from Swampy ground to make room for residence that had to be moved out of the expanded base area.
Barangay Sta. Rita is the largest of all the 17 barangays of the city. It is bounded to the north by Sta. Rita River, to the east by East Bajac-Bajac, to the west by Barangay Mabayuan and Barangay Gordon Heights and to the south by Barangay Old Cabalan.
Barrio Sta. Rita is generally a flat valley bounded by mountain ranges and the Sta. Rita River that serves as the catch basin of water during rainy season. Its land elevation is below sea level and considered the flood plain of the city of Olongapo. Flooding that occurred can be attributed to the overflowing of the Malayan and Sta. Rita River where strong water emanated from the mountains surrounding it. The shallowing of the river brought about by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1992 is also one factor int he frequent flooding of the area. Dredging is not given priority yet due to insufficient funds.
In spite of all the aforesaid Difficulties, Barangay Sta. Rita is considered the Most Active barangay in terms of number of puroks, number of population and the vastness of land area. Horticulture and residential lands exist.
Barangay West Bajac-Bajac was a small finishing village of the province of Zambales and a territorial jurisdiction of the municipality of Subic.
Because of its strategic area and location, it became a trusted territory of the United States Government by virtue of the RP-US Military Base Agreement of 1947. As a part of the US Naval reservation, Olongapo steadfastly grew and developed into a bigger and progressive community.
After a series of high level negotiations by both officials of the Philippines and the United States, Olongapo became a regular Municipality as the 14th town of the Province of Zambales by virtue of the Executive Order No. 366 dated December 07, 1959 issued and signed by then president Elpidio Quirino.
The rapid urbanization of Olongapo in terms of population and income brought about conditions favorably for city hood. Finally, the birth of Olongapo into a Chartered City was realized on June 01, 1966 when President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed into law R.A 4645 otherwise known as the City Charter of Olongapo.
The City of Olongapo is composed of 17 Barangays, one of which is Barangay West Bajac-Bajac.
During the early years before World War II, barrio West Tapinac was generally of low elevation and partly submerged in water during high tide as the area is beside the Kalaklan River. Fishponds and nipa palm groves were common sights in this barrio with very few houses erected on higher grounds.
Before the place was opened by the US Naval Reservation officials for occupancy, the fishponds were filled with soil while the nipa palms and mangroves were cut and utilized into temporary house that were built. After a span of about two years from the time the entire area was opened for habitation, the temporary houses were demolished by the occupants and bigger houses made mostly of woods and GI roofings were constructed the barrio began to be thickly populated when the streets were widened and electric power was installed and supplied in the entire area.