“Subic” was derived from the native word “hubek”, which means “head of a plow”. The origin of the name was a by-product of altruistic colonial enterprise.
On a bright day in 1542, Juan de Salcedo, the able Spanish conquistador and dashing grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, founded Subic while collecting tributes in the area. The town’s name at that time is Hubek. How this name was chaged to Subic is the stuff of persistent leged. It tells of Salcedo’s mispronouncing “Hubek” as “Subiq”. By the time of the American occupation of Subic, the Yankees mispronounced “Subiq” into “Subig”.
Later on “Subig” became “Subiq” again, but the letter q – apparently of Spanish origin – was replaced with letter c, hence the name “Subic”.
Nearly 86 years after Spain had established in September 1776 its main naval base in the Philippines in Manila Bay, the British took over the place, which prompted the Spanish military to scout for the next promising naval station. The expedition returned with the good news for the naval command – a natural bounty and deep waters at Subic Bay. King Alfonso II issued a decree in 1884 that declared Subic as “a naval port and the property appertaining thereto set aside for naval purposes.” Construction of an arsenal and ship repair yard ensued March 8 the following year, as ordered by the new settlers’ Naval Commission. Subic Bay’s potential as naval station reached the land of Commodore George Dewey, that in 1898, he and his men engaged in a battle that destroyed the Spanish Army. The star spangled banner found its glory in Subic Bay in December 10, 1899. Source
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