Thursday, November 19, 2009


Olongapo, the lone city in Zambales, is a highly urbanized city. Having stayed in this locality longer than I have stayed in my hometown, I consider the place my second home.

Olongapo was dubbed “sin city” in the past especially during the time of the giant U.S. Naval Base. It has a nightlife even until now although not as active as when the U.S. Facility was here and when Magsaysay Drive and portions of Gordon and Rizal Avenues could be observed teeming with U.S. service members on liberty.

Many Olongapo residents, natives and transients alike, have left the City especially after the Mount Pinatubo eruption and the American Bases' pullout. Many of them, I believe, would like to see images of the City again. This blog post is for them.

The Victory Liner Terminal near the Ulo ng Apo Rotunda

The Ulo ng Apo Rotunda
The Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center

The Olongapo City Public Market in East Bajac-Bajac

The Olongapo City Hall

The Olongapo City Convention Center

The Olongapo Citi Mall at dusk

The Olongapo Citi Mall

The compound where I reside

Tapinac Oval - a place for joggers and sports events

Tapinac Oval

St. Columban Parish Church

Rizal Ave. viewed from the 4th floor of Crystal Lanes Bldg.

Rizal Ave. fronting Olongapo City Public Market

Prime Theater on Rizal Avenue

Rizal Ave. fronting Rizal Triangle

Gordon Ave. fronting Olongapo Citi Mall

Pag-asa Public Market aka J. L. Gordon Memorial Mall

Magsaysay Drive

Magsaysay Drive leading to SBMA main gate

Magsaysay Drive fronting Olongapo Citi Mall

Magsaysay Drive at night

Magsaysay Drive

Intersection of Gordon Ave. and Magsaysay Drive

Houses on a hillside

Gordon Avenue

Gordon Avenue at dusk

E.T. Tower at the Ulo ng Apo Rotunda

Downtown Olongapo (Rizal Avenue)

Concrete benches at Marikit Park

Burgos St. - the street where I live

An unfinished building on 10th corner Kessing Streets

A portion of Magsaysay Drive at night

A dance group rehearsing on stage at Marikit Park

I look forward to adding more pictures of Olongapo City on this blog post at a later date. I believe pictures of a beach, the grotto in Mabayuan, a waterfall in Gordon Heights, a school campus, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) viewed from an elevated place would make this blog entry a lot more interesting. So, until then.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Nearly a decade ago, Ms. Eve Clamor, the Administrative Officer of the Facility Security Department of the now defunct U.S. Facility in Subic Bay, and whom we fondly called “Mother”, arrived from the U.S. for a brief visit and dropped by our office.

A very warm and accommodating person, Mother gave me her address and telephone number and even offered her residence in Los Angeles to me in case I decide to avail of the Special Immigrant Program, a privilege given to Filipino civilian U.S. Government employees who have rendered 15 or more years of service outside of the U.S.

Mother was accompanied by her daughter who was then wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. Having graduated Valedictorian both from Columban College in Olongapo and from the school she attended in Los Angeles, I knew Mother’s daughter to be very intelligent. But I never realized she could sing amazingly well.

Her name is Charmaine Clamor, another Filipina who has made a name for herself and found a place in the international music scene.

Charmaine coined the term “Jazzipino”, a newly-developed musical genre that results from melding traditional Filipino melodies, languages, and instruments with the soul and swing of American jazz.

She has recorded several songs and released a number of albums. Her song “My Funny Brown Pinay” is one I appreciated much because it takes pride in the unique attributes of an indigenous Filipino woman who has flat nose, black hair, and dark skin. It conveys the message that the Filipino is not inferior to any race.

Charmaine has received awards and recognition for her extraordinary talent and has evidently joined the likes of Charice. Lea Salonga, and Vincent Bueno (of course!) in giving honor to her native country, the Philippines, and its people.

Among the awards Charmaine reportedly received were the 6th Annual Asian Heritage Award in the Performing Arts in July 2009 in San Diego, California, and the 12th Annual FILIPINAS Magazine Achievement Award in Entertainment, in October 2009. She was also honored with a special FAMAS Award for her "cultural trailblazing".

Lately, I learned from her Facebook page that she was having concerts for the benefit of Filipinos who were victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

I embedded one of her video clips uploaded by
abegabe on YouTube. Watch her sing Lahat ng Araw, a Filipino kundiman, in the said video below.