Subic, Zambales

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Municipality of Subic
Subic Bay at Subic
Subic Bay at Subic
Official seal of Subic
Map of Zambales with Subic highlighted
Map of Zambales with Subic highlighted
Subic is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 14°54′N 120°14′E / 14.9°N 120.23°E / 14.9; 120.23Coordinates: 14°54′N 120°14′E / 14.9°N 120.23°E / 14.9; 120.23
Country  Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province Zambales
District 1st district
Founded 1572
Founded by Juan de Salcedo
Barangays 16 (see Barangays)
 • Type Sangguniang Bayan
 • Mayor Jefferson "Jay" F. Khonghun
 • Vice Mayor Jose Benedicto "JB" C. Felarca
 • Electorate 57,470 voters (2016)
 • Total 287.16 km2 (110.87 sq mi)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total 104,771
 • Density 360/km2 (940/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2209
PSGC 037114000
IDD:area code +63 (0)47
Climate type tropical monsoon climate
Income class 1st municipal income class
Native languages Ilocano

Subic, officially the Municipality of Subic, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Zambales, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 104,771 people.[3]

It is located along the northern coast of Subic Bay. Like Iba, the provincial capital, and neighboring Olongapo City, Subic is a fast-growing municipality/town and is expected to become a component city in the future, as well as increase in income. It is a former home of one of the largest US military facilities outside of the US mainland, the Subic Bay Naval Base.


The native Zambales inhabitants called the area Hubek, which means "head of a plough"; Spanish missionary priests mispronounced the name as Subiq.[4] By the time of the American Occupation, "Subiq" was mispronounced as Subig. Eventually, the name reverted to "Subiq", but the letter 'q' was replaced with letter 'c'.


In 1572, Juan de Salcedo, the Mexico-born Spanish conquistador and grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, founded Zambales during his exploration of northern Luzon.[4] Subic was founded in the late 1607 when Augustinian friars headed by Rev. Fr. Rodrigo de San Miguel, this we're started that the natives in Subic especially Negritos and Aetas was Christianized under the rule of Spain [5]

Spanish period[edit]

In September 1762, the British invaded the Philippines and took over the Spanish main naval base in Manila Bay. This prompted the Spanish military to scout for the next promising naval station. The expedition returned with the good news for the naval command - a natural bounty and deep waters at Subic Bay. King Alfonso XII issued a decree in 1884 that declared Subic as "a naval port and the property appertaining thereto set aside for naval purposes." Construction of an arsenal and ship repair yard ensued March 8 the following year, as ordered by the new settlers' Naval Commission. Subic Bay's potential as naval station was realized by the Americans. Commodore George Dewey and his men engaged in a battle that destroyed the Spanish Army in 1898, and the Americans took over Subic Bay in December 10, 1899.

American period[edit]

In 1902, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, Commander of the Asiatic Stations, directed 200 Marines for an expeditionary force for the first U.S. fleet exercise in Asian waters. Guns were erected on Grande Island and Admiral Evans laid plans for emergency repairs of the station at Subic Bay but was denied assistance by the U.S. Five years later, the U.S. Congress finally appropriated funds for a full-scale Subic Bay Naval Reservation. Words from then President Theodore Roosevelt goes: "If we are to exert the slightest influence in Western Asia, it is of the highest importance that we have a naval station in boto Bay." Subic Bay is now on the rise of being one of the best training areas in the Corps. But with the U.S. - Japan tension heating up, appropriations for operation and maintenance of the base fell short. Hawaii came in the scene; funding of the development of Pearl Harbor as US main station in the Pacific earned the thumbs up of the Congress. Subic took its ill fate - a promising harbor was left as a small repair station.

World War I[edit]

US was drawn into the war in Europe; Filipinos and Americans worked hand in hand to prepare the battleships for World War I. Workers at Subic Bay also overhauled 26 German ships, that had been used to transport thousands of American troops to Europe. Likewise, this period gave way for different developments: Olongapo had a taste of some of its best years; the base was lined with trees and plants, and several recreational facilities were constructed.

World War II[edit]

The Japanese claimed Subic and Olongapo on January 10, 1942, days after the Pearl Harbor attack, bringing with them the devastation of World War II. Many Filipinos and Americans were killed, several buildings were destroyed, seven seaplanes were sunk, and lines of telephones and telegraphs were sabotaged. The Marines were ordered to withdraw into Bataan then soon to Corregidor, burning all buildings left standing after the Japanese attack. Filipinos torched all the war's ruins in Olongapo. Filipinos have been subjected to the cruelty of the Japanese for three years, after which the American made a forceful rebound and reoccupied the base on January 29, 1945.

The Marine station underwent massive reconstruction and was again ready for naval endeavors on September 26, 1945. Shortly after the marines resumed their duties, the Tydings-McDuffie Law set provision for Philippine independence and was granted on July 4, 1946. Nonetheless, the US maintained that it would still retain the country's military bases. The Philippines, acknowledging its frailty in the Cold War, entered into the RP-US Military Bases Agreement on March 14, 1947. The US was granted the right to retain sixteen military bases and to administrate the town of Olongapo. Several significant urbanization projects were orchestrated, but the most challenging was as gigantic as displacing half the part of a 1,200-foot mountain, that needed around 20 million man-hours, and required five years of labor - the exceptional air station and pier construction of the Seabees was the highlight of 1956 in Subic Bay. Another accomplishment at the height of the cold war was ammunition bunkers and buildings that occupied over 12,400 acres of the Southwestern part of Subic Bay. Set in the tropical rainforest, ammunition and ordnance from these facilities played a big role in the Vietnam War and in the Gulf War of 1991.

The original 1947 military pact between the Philippines and the US has been amended. The year 1979 witnessed a turning point for both countries - Philippines claimed a sovereign rule over the base and the US area of responsibility was reduced from 24,000 hectares to 6,300 hectares. What followed was a series of events that would change the course of Subic Bay forever. On June 15, 1991, volcanic ashes and debris rained over the base, devastating Subic Bay and neighboring provinces. Mt. Pinatubo's fury has left the US Navy and Air Force no option but to evacuate all their dependents. When Pinatubo's rage came to a halt, and American and Filipino personnel restored the base, bringing it back to business in no time. Uncertainty continued hovering the Philippine Senate with regard to the termination of the 1947 treaty. Months-long discussions were held; parliamentary proceedings were organized; and a pro-bases rally was staged, but to no avail. September 16, 1991 surfaced a conclusion - The US had to withdraw its forces and equipment from Clark and Subic, having received the rejection of 12 senators on the earlier proposed new treaty. The lowering of the Stars and Stripes followed suit. The Navy bid farewell to America's nine decades of military presence on Philippine soil.

Post-Cold War[edit]

Surprisingly the departure of the Americans did not spell doom. Subic Bay was converted into a commercial zone largely through the efforts of some 8,000 residents of nearby Olongapo City, under the leadership of their mayor, Richard Gordon, who volunteered to protect and preserve 8 billion dollars worth of facilities and property from looting and destruction. Subic has since been transformed and became a model for bases conversion into commercial use after the Cold War with blue chip companies like Coastal Petroleum, Enron and Fed Ex pumping in over $3 billion of investments creating 70,000 jobs in the free port's first four years. It was host to the 4th APEC Leaders' Summit on November 24, 1996 and FedEx's Asia-Pacific hub, Asia-One, was also located in Subic Bay for almost ten years..

In addition to commercial use, Subic Bay is also a popular destination for weekend visitors from Metro Manila. Attractions include several beaches, an underwater aquarium, jungle survival tours, racing and duty-free shopping centers.


Climate data for Subic, Zambales
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
Average low °C (°F) 23
Average rainfall mm (inches) 23.5
Average rainy days 6 5 4 4 11 15 18 17 18 14 13 13 138
Source: World Weather Online[6]


Subic is politically subdivided into 16 barangays.[2]

Barangays District Population[7] Area (km²) Density (/km²) Zip Code
Aningway Sacatihan 4,440 2209
Asinan Poblacion 883 2209
Asinan Proper 6,335 2209
Baraca-Camachile (Poblacion) 2,805 2209
Batiawan 1,015 2209
Calapacuan 13,570 2209
Calapandayan (Poblacion) 9,698 2209
Cawag 11,979 2209
Ilwas (Poblacion) 3,179 2209
Mangan-Vaca 8,068 2209
Matain 7,777 2209
Naugsol 2,046 2209
Pamatawan 3,817 2209
San Isidro 6,741 2209
Santo Tomas 5,504 2209
Wawandue (Poblacion) 1,867 2209


Subic Municipal Hall
Population census of Subic
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 3,955 —    
1918 14,159 +8.87%
1939 14,923 +0.25%
1948 25,223 +6.01%
1960 12,985 −5.38%
1970 22,266 +5.53%
1975 28,139 +4.81%
1980 30,340 +1.52%
1990 46,929 +4.46%
1995 57,099 +3.74%
2000 63,019 +2.14%
2007 77,118 +2.82%
2010 89,724 +5.66%
2015 104,771 +3.00%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][8][9][10]

In the 2015 census, the population of Subic was 104,771 people,[3] with a density of 360 inhabitants per square kilometre or 930 inhabitants per square mile.


Subic Bay boardwalk beach
Subic Bay sunset

There is a great deal of confusion in the tourism industry and in peoples' minds in general concerning Subic, Zambales.

  • Subic town sits at the north end of Subic Bay and is located about 10 km north of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Subic town has few beach resorts and currently no casinos.
  • The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is on the former site of the US Subic Naval Base, and is host to many tourist attractions which include casinos, beaches, diving/snorkeling, parks, beachside huts and cottages and historical artifacts. The Freeport is right next to Olongapo City (which was administered by the US Naval Base commander back in the 1950s), separated only by a moat constructed by the US Navy.
  • Many locals call the Freeport as "SBMA," short for Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which is the administrative body of the Freeport.
  • Beside the Freeport, Olongapo City, formerly a part of Subic municipality, is directly accessible to and from the Freeport - unlike Subic town which is 25 minutes away by motor vehicle. Still, visitors usually confuse "Subic" town with "Subic" Freeport.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Zambales". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Municipalities". Zambales Now, Official Website of Zambales. Retrieved on 2012-05.24.
    ** The year of 1542 in the founding of Subic is a misprint and should be the year 1572 like in Botolan as Salcedo was born in 1549.
  5. ^ "Official Website of Municipality of Subic, Province of Zambales  » History of Subic". Retrieved 2016-11-08. 
  6. ^ "Subic, Philippines: Average Temperatures and Rainfall". World Weather Online. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Province of Zambales". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 

External links[edit]