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This article is about the Philippine province. For other uses, see Zambales (disambiguation).
Provincial Capitol in Iba, decorated for the Mango Festival
Provincial Capitol in Iba, decorated for the Mango Festival
Flag of Zambales
Official seal of Zambales
Nickname(s): Mango Capital of the Philippines, Chromite Capital of the Philippines, Wreck Diving Capital of the Philippines
Motto: Sulong Zambales! Arangkada Zambaleño
Location within the Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°20′N 120°10′E / 15.333°N 120.167°E / 15.333; 120.167Coordinates: 15°20′N 120°10′E / 15.333°N 120.167°E / 15.333; 120.167
Country Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Founded 1578
Capital Iba
 • Type Province
 • Governor Hermogenes Ebdane (Sulong Zambales Party)
 • Vice Governor Ramon G. Lacbain II (Sulong Zambales Party)
 • Total 3,830.83 km2 (1,479.09 sq mi)
Area rank 36th out of 80
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 534,443
 • Rank 37th out of 80
 • Density 140/km2 (360/sq mi)
 • Density rank 43rd out of 80
  Population (including Olongapo City): 755,621
 • Independent cities 1
 • Component cities 0
 • Municipalities 13
 • Barangays 230
including independent cities: 247
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Zambales (shared with Olongapo City)
 • Ethnic groups Tagalog (42%), Ilocano (28%), Sambal (27%), Others (3%)
 • Languages Tagalog, Ilocano, Sambal, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, English
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2200 to 2213
Dialing code 47
ISO 3166 code PH-ZMB

Zambales is a province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is Iba. Zambales borders Pangasinan to the north, Tarlac and Pampanga to the east, Bataan to the south and the South China Sea to the west. With a land area of 3,830.83 km2, Zambales is the second largest among the seven provinces of Central Luzon. The province is noted for its mangoes, which are abundant from January to April.

Zambales does not have a functional airport - the closest airport is Clark International airport. Subic Bay International Airport, which is located in Cubi Point in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is no longer functional for international or domestic flights.[3]

The Freeport Zone (SBMA) is host to many tourist attractions which include casinos, beach resorts, parks, beachside huts and cottages and historical sites.


The province's name came from the word zambal, which is a Hispanized term for Sambali. Zambal refers to the language spoken by the early Austronesian inhabitants of the place. A contending version states that the name was derived from the word samba, meaning worship, because the Spanish supposedly found the native inhabitants to be highly superstitious; worshiping the spirits of their ancestors.[4]


Zambales province in 1918

The area now occupied by Zambales was first explored by the Spanish in 1572, led by Juan de Salcedo.[4] Among the earliest towns founded were Subic (1572), Botolan (1572), Masinloc (1607), Iba (1611), and Santa Cruz (1612).[5] Masinloc became the province's first capital. However, the capital was moved among the last three towns above during its history before settling in Iba, due to its strategic location. Seven of the province's original northern towns, which included Bolinao, Infanta and Alaminos were later transferred under the jurisdiction of Pangasinan because of their distance from the capital.[4] The first civil governor of Zambales during the American era was Potenciano Lesaca from 1901-1903.



Zambales lies on the western shores of Luzon island along the South China Sea. Its shoreline is ragged and features many coves and inlets. The Zambales Mountains in the eastern part of the province occupies about 60% of the total land area of Zambales. Subic Bay, at the southern end of the province, provides a natural harbor, and was the location of the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay until its closure in 1992.[4]

Several coves such as these in San Antonio feature the western coastline of the province.
The Zambales Mountains as viewed from San Antonio.

The summit and crater lake of Mount Pinatubo lies within Botolan municipality in Zambales, near the tripoint of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac provinces.[6] This volcano, once considered dormant, erupted violently in 1991. The former summit of the volcano was obliterated by the eruption and replaced by a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide caldera, within which Lake Pinatubo is situated. With an average depth of 800 m (2,600 ft), Lake Pinatubo is the deepest lake in the Philippines. The highest point of the caldera rim is 1,485 m (4,872 ft) above sea level, some 260 m (850 ft) lower than the pre-eruption summit. A vast portion of the Zambales province acquired desert-like features in 1991,[4] after being buried by more than 20 feet (6.1 m) of lahar.


Zambales has two pronounced seasons: dry from October to June, and wet from July to September.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Zambales is subdivided into 13 municipalities and 1 highly urbanized city, which are divided into two legislative districts.[7] Olongapo City is a highly urbanized city and administers itself autonomously from the province. Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) a Philippine-claimed territory, is a designated part of the province.

Political map
Map of Zambales with Scarborough shoal

Disputed territory — Scarborough shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo Masinloc, is designated under Masinloc municipality. Internationally disputed. Claimed by the People's Republic of China, Philippines, and Republic of China (Taiwan). De facto controlled by People's Republic of China.

1 Botolan
2 Cabangan
3 Candelaria
4 Castillejos
5 Iba
6 Masinloc
7 Olongapo
8 Palauig
9 San Antonio
10 San Felipe
11 San Marcelino
12 San Narciso
13 Santa Cruz
14 Subic
City or
District[7] Area
(per km²)
No. of

Botolan 2nd 735.28 54,434 74 31 2202 1st 15°17′20″N 120°01′29″E / 15.2889971°N 120.0247358°E / 15.2889971; 120.0247358 (Botolan)
Cabangan 2nd 175.29 23,082 131.7 22 2203 4th 15°09′32″N 120°03′20″E / 15.1589735°N 120.0555503°E / 15.1589735; 120.0555503 (Cabangan)
Candelaria 2nd 333.59 25,020 75 16 2212 3rd 15°37′38″N 119°55′45″E / 15.6271167°N 119.9291451°E / 15.6271167; 119.9291451 (Candelaria)
Castillejos 1st 92.99 48,845 525.3 14 2208 3rd 14°55′49″N 120°12′19″E / 14.9301891°N 120.2051926°E / 14.9301891; 120.2051926 (Castillejos)
Iba 2nd 153.38 46,761 304.9 14 2201 2nd 15°19′35″N 119°58′43″E / 15.3264355°N 119.9786774°E / 15.3264355; 119.9786774 (Iba)
Masinloc 2nd 331.5 44,342 133.8 13 2211 1st 15°32′17″N 119°57′06″E / 15.5379977°N 119.9516897°E / 15.5379977; 119.9516897 (Masinloc)
Olongapo 1st 185 221,178 1195.6 17 2200 1st 14°49′53″N 120°17′01″E / 14.8314675°N 120.2835205°E / 14.8314675; 120.2835205 (Olongapo)
Palauig 2nd 310 33,286 107.4 19 2210 3rd 15°26′04″N 119°54′30″E / 15.4343418°N 119.9084544°E / 15.4343418; 119.9084544 (Palauig)
San Antonio 2nd 188.12 34,217 181.9 14 2206 2nd 14°56′56″N 120°05′20″E / 14.9488214°N 120.0889405°E / 14.9488214; 120.0889405 (San Antonio)
San Felipe 2nd 111.6 22,020 197.3 11 2204 4th 15°03′40″N 120°04′13″E / 15.0610588°N 120.0702767°E / 15.0610588; 120.0702767 (San Felipe)
San Marcelino 1st 416.86 31,879 76.5 18 2207 1st 14°58′32″N 120°09′24″E / 14.9754658°N 120.1566124°E / 14.9754658; 120.1566124 (San Marcelino)
San Narciso 2nd 71.6 26,966 376.6 17 2205 4th 15°00′54″N 120°04′44″E / 15.0149756°N 120.0789996°E / 15.0149756; 120.0789996 (San Narciso)
Santa Cruz 2nd 438.46 53,867 122.9 25 2213 1st 15°45′45″N 119°54′36″E / 15.7626076°N 119.910005°E / 15.7626076; 119.910005 (Santa Cruz)
Subic 1st 287.16 89,724 312.5 16 2209 1st 14°52′39″N 120°14′04″E / 14.8774796°N 120.2344695°E / 14.8774796; 120.2344695 (Subic)
 †  Provincial capital      Municipality
     Highly urbanized city (geographically within but independent from the province)
  • Coordinates mark the city/town center vicinity, and are sorted according to latitude.
  • Income classifications for cities are italicized.


Further information: List of barangays in Zambales

The 13 municipalities and 1 city of the province comprise a total of 247 barangays, with Santa Rita in Olongapo City as the most populous in 2010, and Owaog-Nibloc in Botolan as the least. If cities are excluded, Calapacuan in Subic has the highest population as of 2010.[7][8]


Population census of
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 369,665 —    
1995 389,512 +0.98%
2000 433,542 +2.32%
2007 493,085 +1.79%
2010 534,443 +2.97%
Excluding Olongapo City
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

The Aetas of Mount Pinatubo were the earliest inhabitants of what is now the province of Zambales.[4] They were later displaced[4] by the Sambal, an Austronesian people after whom the province is named. Many Sambal still believe in superstitions and mysteries that have been handed down through the generations.

The Tagalogs, the Ilocanos, the Sambal, and the Kapampangans today constitute the four largest ethnic groups in Zambales; these identities may and do, however, overlap with one another due to intermarriage[9] and other factors. Most of the people of southern Zambales are migrants from different parts of the country owing the influx of job opportunities brought on by the U.S Subic Naval Base (San Antonio and Subic) during the American regime of the country. Many people found jobs and permanently settled there. The presence of the Americans greatly influenced the culture and way of life of the inhabitants.


The people of Zambales are predominantly Roman Catholic with 80% composition in religious adherence while Aglipayan is a significant minority religious group like in most province in Northern and Central Luzon. The remaining proportions are divided with other Christian groups such as Born-again Christians, Iglesia Ni Cristo, United Methodist Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventist as well as Non Christians which is usually represented by Muslims.

Town fiestas honoring patron saints are practiced in each parish.


Languages Spoken (2000)[10]
Language Number of speakers

Sambal, Tagalog, and Ilokano are the three main languages of Zambales.[4] Ilokano has 115,337 native speakers, Sambal has 114,637, and Tagalog has 250,637 (plus 24,995 non-native speakers).[11] 119,126 spoke other languages as their mother tongue, such as Kapampangan, including non-Philippine languages such as English.[11] About 75 percent of the population speaks and understands English to varying degrees of fluency, and road signs are written in that language.


There are a number of higher educational institutions in the province. The Ramon Magsaysay Technological University, the first state university in the province can be found in Iba. It has also satellite campuses in the municipalities of Sta. Cruz, Candelaria, Masinloc, Botolan, San Marcelino, Castillejos, and in the city of Olongapo. St. Joseph College-Olongapo, a college run by the Roman Catholic Church can be found in Olongapo City. The Columban College, run by the Catholic Church can be found also in Olongapo. The Magsaysay Memorial College is also run by the Roman Catholic Church and can be found in San Narciso.


Tourism plays a large role in the economy of Zambales. Local and foreign tourist flock its many beaches creating many job opportunities and contributing to the economy. Most of the province is still agricultural but there are considerable industrial zones that provide jobs not just for residents of Zambales but also for neighboring provinces. Mining has recently been booming in Zambales where there is an abundant deposit of Nickel and other minerals.[4]


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Orejas, Tonnette (7 March 2012). "It's more fun than an airport in Subic". Inquirer. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lancion, Jr., Conrado M.; de Guzman, Rey (cartography) (1995). "The Provinces". Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces (The 2000 Millenium ed.). Makati, Metro Manila: Tahanan Books. pp. 162–163. ISBN 971-630-037-9. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1955). "Tarlac map". University of Texas in Austin Library. Retrieved on 2012-05-24.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Province: Zambales". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010 (Central Luzon)" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Iba travel guide
  10. ^ Zambales: Dependency Ratio Down by Five Persons
  11. ^ a b Zambales

External links[edit]