As far as I know, there are no natural landmarks in either Olongapo or at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the Philippines. There are plenty of artificial landmarks, although I probably can’t mention them all. I’m not an expert on everything that can be considered a landmark.
At the freeport zone, there are three landmarks I’m aware of: The Harbor Point mall, the San Roque Chapel and the Spanish Gate. When you pass the Kalaklan gate, you’re likely to pass the Kalaklan Point Lighthouse, sometimes called the Olongapo Lighthouse.
In Olongapo, there are several landmarks I’m aware of, other than the lighthouse: The SM City mall, the Unity rotunda, the Ulo ng Apo rotunda, the SM City Olongapo Central mall, the Olongapo welcome sign and the Kalapati Monument.
There are four floors in this mall. The fourth floor houses a four-screen cinema. The last time I parked there, the parking fee was 20 pesos per day (which usually translates as 40 to 50 cents in United States dollars).
Olongapo was only a village when it was located on the west side of what is now the freeport zone. The village was destroyed in 1945, near the end of World War II. The only structures that survived were the Olongapo Parish Church, which is the San Roque Chapel today, and the Spanish Gate.
After the end of the war, the US Navy base was extended to the Kalaklan River and Olongapo was relocated to the north side of the drainage channel.
My wife, Josie, and I ate at the restaurant next to the Spanish Gate way back in the crazy eighties. I don’t remember its name back then but it served American food. Today, it’s the Thai Fusion restaurant.
There’s a cinema but I don’t know where it is in the mall and I don’t know how many screens it has. I’ve never watched a movie there. The last time I parked in the parking garage, the parking fee was 20 pesos per day (which usually translates as 40 to 50 cents in United States dollars).
Like the Kalaklan river, this monument may not have an official name. It’s been called the Magsaysay rotunda, the Friendship rotunda, the Fountain of Unity and the Unity rotunda. Like the Ulo ng Apo rotunda, it’s not a real rotunda. It’s a roundabout.
I can’t tell you anything at all about this mall. It was built after I left the Philippines in 2019. Because of COVID-19, I may not be able to see it for myself until sometime in 2021 or 2022.
If you continue northwest on Rizal Avenue Extension, you’ll encounter the Ulo ng Apo rotunda. This roundabout is much larger than the Unity rotunda. Like the Unity rotunda, it looks real nice when it’s painted with multiple colors.
If you enter the roundabout, you can exit at Rizal Avenue (not the extension) and continue northwest.
It says “Olongapo Proper” on it and it features the Ulo ng Apo head as well as an airplane. The airplane probably represents the airfield at Cubi Point at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
This monument is at the junction of National Highway and the road into the New Cabalan barangay. A dove is mounted at the top. The monument honors the people who died at the battle of Zig Zag Pass during World War II.
I’m pretty sure it’s east of the Olongapo welcome sign and it’s the first barangay you’ll see on that side of the city.
I guess it depends on what you consider a landmark. To me, a landmark is something you can easily see to get your bearings. If you have something you want me to add, please leave a comment.
Harbor Point: Ramon FVelasquez / CC BY-SA
Kalapati Monument: Judgefloro / Public domain
Olongapo Proper Welcome Sign: RT Cunningham
San Roque Chapel: Elmer B. Domingo / CC BY-SA
SM City Olongapo: Judgefloro / CC0
SM City Olongapo Central: Subic Bay News
Spanish Gate: Cristina Montes / CC BY-SA
Ulo ng Apo Rotunda Ramon FVelasquez / CC BY-SA
Unity Rotunda: TAGA GAPO KA BA? Encyclopedia Olongapo
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in August 2013