History of Subic - Philippines
The history of Subic spans from the time of the Spanish conquest of the Philippines to the present time when the Philippine government has converted it into a Freeport zone for export-import purposes. Subic in the Philippines was a major part of World War I and II, and even of the Vietnam War, in this part of the globe.
How did Subic start? The Spanish government in the 1800s was weighing the naval values of their port in Cavite and in Olongapo. In 1884, the Olongapo Bay was declared as a Spanish naval port in the Philippines. In 1885, construction of the naval base arsenal in Olongapo started. Hundreds of Filipinos were deployed to work on the site in exchange for tariff benefits.
Among the first projects was harbor dredging, including the harbor basin, plus the excavation and construction of a drainage canal to isolate Olongapo as an island and establish the Spanish Navy there. The canal, according to the History of Subic, was also part of a defense system to protect the main entry. Subic in the Philippines was originally designed to have artillery defenses at the ends of the naval base and powerful Spanish gunboats to ward off any invasion from the sea coming to Intramuros.
When the naval base was ready, these gunboats docked there for defense: San Quentin, Santa Ana, and the Caviteno. Subic in the Philippines had been recognized since early times for its potential as a naval base and from where naval attacks could be easily launched. The history of Subic also point out the value of Grande Island nearby as an Artillery base.
To further fortify the naval fortress, the Spaniards remedied the swampy areas around by removing rocks and other debris from Kalalake (So big) and use them as land fill over the muddy areas. This quarrying feat leveled an entire hill in Kalalake and a lagoon stood in its place, creating a permanent land mark known today as Bicentennial Park and has become an important episode in the history of Subic.
When the Americans came, they too saw the potential of Subic in the Philippines as a naval base, and was used to some effective extent to ward off Japanese invasion of the Philippines. After Word War II, when the Japanese Imperial forces were subjugated in the far east, the Americans developed Subic into a launching pad for military activities in Southeast Asia.
In 1994-1995, Subic, along with Clark Air Base, was returned to the Philippine Government and was converted into a free port zone.