Sunday, May 18, 2014

Olongapo: Strolling Around the City and Subic Bay

10 Day 10K Challenge: Olongapo, ZAMBALES
Date: MAY 18-19, 2014

The city of Olongapo is the largest city in Zambales, but it is governed independently from the province. Lots of tourist visit this city because it serves as the jump-off point for the attractions inside the Subic Bay area and the beaches on the coast of Morong, Bataan. Zambales is the fourth province on my list, and this would be the first night where I would be sleeping inside a hotel.

Beach front located inside the Subic Bay area


Subic Bay sign
The trip from Balanga to Olongapo lasted for two hours - driving through this dark, steep highway located high above the mountains. Clusters of lights from nearby cities can also be seen from where we were at, but the brightest of them belongs to Olongapo. It was already late in the evening when we reached the bus station near the city center, and right after getting off the bus, I checked my phone to see where the nearest hotel can be found. I was lucky enough to find a hotel right inside the bus terminal.

Sunshine Lodge was the name of the hotel, and I paid P600 for a 12 hour-stay. The front desk never gave me the room key - and because of that - I missed the chance to eat dinner outside. I just watched some random television programs and later slept. The second day of exploration was an exhausting one!


Ulo ng Apo monument located in the downtown area
It was still dark when I woke up, at around three in the morning. I turned on the TV while lying on the bed waiting for the sun to rise. Two hours later, the light began to appear, and I went to the bathroom to take a bath and packed my things inside my bag. I checked out at 7:03 in the morning, and as I left the bus terminal, I saw a Jollibee store just across the street and went there to eat breakfast.

The city hall facade
Garlic beef was what I ate that morning – a single order cost me P50. I sat near the window, where you could see the city’s most famous landmark – the “Ulo ng Apo” (Chief’s Head) monument. According to some historians and a popular tale, the city got its name from the legend of this chief, called “Apo,” who was beheaded by the Spaniards. Most of the people in the city believed the tale to be Olongapo’s etymology.

After eating my breakfast, I headed to the street and waited for jeepneys that would take me to Olongapo City Hall, but as I checked Google Maps, I realized that it was not that far, so I opted to walk for a few blocks and reached the city hall in just ten minutes.

Lighthouse at the Lighthouse Marina Resort
The reason I visited the city hall was to take a photo of it (evidence that I was in Olongapo), and then, I rode a yellow colored jeepney and asked the driver to drop me off at Subic Bay gate. At first, the guards at the gate won't let me in, so what I did was I tried to explain that I am a tourist who just wanted to walk around, and then showed them my cameras as proof. They let me through.

Harbor Point Mall can be seen from the gate where I entered (near SM Olongapo). I never had the chance to visit the mall because it was too early that time and the mall were still closed. I decided to visit the beach, and got fascinated with what I’ve seen. The sand was fine, and it was grayish-white, and adding up to the beauty of the place was the sparkling blue waters of Subic Bay and the lush mountains that surround it. There were also a number of ships that can be seen from a distance, and the gigantic Hanjin Shipyard built at the other end of the bay.

I walked through the boarded path facing the beach until I reached the area lined up with high-end hotels. The last of its kind was the Lighthouse Marina Resort, and after getting to this point, I decided to go back to the gate where I entered and rode a jeepney going to the bus terminal.

It was already 09:02 AM when I reached the Victory Liner Bus terminal, and I rode an airconditioned bus bound for Dau. From there, I would be riding another bus that would take me to my next destination – the town of Capas, Tarlac.

Just staring at the beautiful Subic Bay
This post is part of my 10 Day 10K Challenge that took place between May 17-26, 2014. Read the first entry here. Read the post about the previous destination here. Proceed to the next destination here.

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