Old Spanish Gate at Subic

It was early morning on January 8, 2012 when the author woke-up  at past 4:30am . The first instinct was to close the air-conditioning  unit , since it was rather cold . Then the alarm clock of Mr. Anthony Arbias finally set the tone for everyone to wake -up.

Subic bay early morning

The group was delighted by the early morning breakfast which consists of rice, corned beef , fish , scramble eggs  accompanied by hot pandesal and hot coffee .

welcome arch to  Subic

After the breakfast buffet meal, the group quickly set up for the next leg of the Olongapo -Subic tour . the group went to the main gate of the former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and meet  Mr. Mr. Alex Mesia and Engineer Ricardo A. Alcantara Jr.  our guides who were already patiently waiting for our group .

History :

Explorer Juan de Salcedo reported its existence to the Spanish authorities upon his return to Manila after Salcedo arrived in Zambales to establish the Spanish crown but it would be a number of years before the Spanish would consider establishing a base there.

Although there is already a naval base in the province of Cavite during the Spanish occupation, Most of the workers suffered from unhealthy living conditions and was vulnerable in time of war and bad weather because of its shallow water and lack of shelter. Because of these, a military expedition was sent to Subic Bay in 1868 with orders to survey the bay to find out if it would be a suitable site for a naval yard. The Spanish explored the entire bay and concluded that it had much promise and thus reported their findings to Cavite.

This report was not well-accepted in Manila as the Spanish command was reluctant to move to the provincial isolation of Subic. Finally, in 1884, a Royal Decree declared Subic Bay as a naval port.

Old West Gate, which the Americans  called the Spanish Gate, as the main gate to the station for many years. Behind the Spanish Gate was a little Marine Cemetery.  The Gate was also used as a jail by both the Spanish and Americans.

West Gate circa 2012

Beside the West Gate ruin lies a replica of the Spanish gate with modern cement and painted in pastel color – the former Spanish Gate KTV Restaurant is just a few steps away from the old fort.

Spanish Gate Restaurant

Unfortunately the KTV restaurant is for rent ,  tourism in the area had slowed a bit  and  there were countless of restaurants, bars , grocery , business ventures and even first class hotels had already stopped their operation.

There was a boom in business during the American stay  and when Mayor Richard Gordon took over  in 1992.

Mc. Kinley street signage with Chinese character below

Proof of the  business and tourism  boom are the bi-lingual street signage which also had Chinese characters written below . The tourist guides initially thought that the characters were Korean .  They quickly reiterated that there were a lot of Taiwanese and even Hong Kong tourists especially in the early 1990’s .

compound of shipyard building equipment

At present , there were a wave of Korean expats which make the  area as their second home . Most of the Koreans are investors from nearby Hanjin shipyard , students  and tourists.

Boardwalk Inn
Boardwalk Inn and Restaurant is one of the highly recognizable hotel facilities within the Central Business District of Subic Bay Freeport Zone. This simple yet very cozy  hotel  features a dive center, which is perfect for people who really love the great outdoors, especially aqua sports and other recreational activities. It offers scuba diving tutorials, advanced diving lessons, and other valuable information that people need to learn this super fun and exciting activity.

Bldg 664 Waterfront Road, Subic Bay Freeport Zone , Philippines

 Contact information: Mobile phone number 0910-3609771. People can contact  via the land-line number (047)-252-2894, or through the alternative phone line (047)-252-2893.

 Visit their website

beach front

 The Subic sea front  area had a  wide variety of resort amenities and activities are planned within the community and designed to offer a wide range of social, cultural , recreational and bird watching experiences for visitors and residents.

This boat shape stage serves its purpose during important event

 play ground with anti-littering poster

Compared to major towns and cities across the country , Subic  is indeed an example of a city which strictly imposes its anti-littering campaign with scores of residents and even tourists apprehended for violating  this simple rule.

beach front is a favorite promenade area for joggers, tourists  and hawkers 

         Subic Bay Gateway Park

Subic Bay Gateway Park (SBGP) is a world-class industrial park offering approximately 300 hectares of prime industrial land and is host to about 80 direct locators and 60 plus sub-lessees. SBGP’s development is divided into three phases. Phase I is already operational and is 98% leased. Phase II is still being developed and is already 42% leased out.

Website: http://www.sbdmc.com/

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority logo

Website : http://www.sbma.com/

Sources:   Laurel , Tiu Herman ,  The Olongapo  Colonial Experience

2 thoughts on “Old Spanish Gate at Subic

  1. Thanks for visiting ! Yup that is the reality – business was very good in Subic and Olongapo when these two places are in the hands of the Americans.

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