The Legend of Olongapo – Ang Alamat ng Olongapo

Olongapo is a city located in the province of Zambales. It is one of the most cheerful cities in Central Luzon. It is near the Subic bay and is also one of the places which have been largely affected by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. This is how it got the name Olongapo:


There was a lad named Dodong. He is a farmer with a wide rice field. Because of his generosity, he was well-loved by the people in his barrio. He was labeled as APO (term used for a respectable old man) and he became well-known to both the youth and the old.

In the neighboring town, there was a very beautiful maiden who is very demure. Her name is Nene. Nene and Apo became very close friends though their age gap is large. One day, Nene’s family decided to relocate. This is the reason why Apo and Nene got separated.

Days passed into months. One day, Apo accidentally ran into Nene in one of the town’s public places. Time only enhanced Nene’s beauty. He noticed that Nene has transformed into a full-blown lady. He offered to take her home. This was happily accepted by the maiden.

“Father, mother, Apo is here. He wants to visit you,” Nene happily told her parents upon arriving home.
“Dodong! How are you? We’re glad that you came here to visit us!,” exclaimed Nene’s father.
After updating one another, Dodong promised to visit them more often so that he can help them with their chores. True enough, Dodong went there every Saturday and he and Nene became closer. Not for long, they became lovers. This was not opposed by Nene’s parents.

One morning, a large vessel ridden by drunk Spaniards came ashore. They caught sight of Nene and so they approached her. They asked something to the maiden which she did not understand. She just nodded her head. The Spaniards, thinking that Nene agrees to what they want, started to kiss and hug her. Nene screamed and asked for help.

In an instant, the people called Apo and informed him of Nene’s situation. Apo was enraged and he attacked the Spaniards. The armed foreigners struck Apo and killed him. They slashed their head and hanged it on a bamboo pole to serve as a warning to other natives.

“Ulo ng Apo! Ulo ng Apo!” (head of Apo) the children repeatedly shouted. The Spaniards thought that this is the name of the place. Time passed by and “ULO ng APO” became OLONGAPO. This is now one of the most controversial cities in Zambales, Central Luzon.


Sanchez Geisha, translator. Rene Alba’s “Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)”, published 1914 by Century Publications.