The Old West Gate in what used to be the Subic-Olongapo Base (now the Subic Bay Freeport Zone) was called the Spanish Gate by the Americans when they took over the base. The plaque on the gate reads:
- This gate was the entrance to the original Spanish naval station established in Subic Bay in 1885. The principal Spanish construction lay to the east along what is now Rivera Point and consisted of an arsenal, several warehouses, and a number of shop buildings.
The base at Subic-Olongapo was used by the Spanish Navy to provide repair, supply, ammunition and medical support for ships. The post was commanded by the second commandancia of the base at Cavite and was considered a subsidiary of that command.
The Spanish garrison remained in possession of the Subic-Olongapo base until June of 1898 at which time they were driven out by Filipino forces. The area was formally occupied by the U.S. Navy in September of 1899.
On June 12, 1898, the Philippines declared its independence from Spain. Despite being occupied by the Americans soon after, it is the date that we now commemorate as our Independence Day. After all, what is 48 years compared to 333 years?