The Legend of
The Head of the Elder
(A modern fictional translation of the Legend of Olongapo)

When the storms whipped on the shores of sand and stone, long before the Americans built the concrete and steel, preceded by the Spanish dredging of Subig -- the ancient name of Subic Bay, there lived an elder, Apo -- the chief of his tribe. He lived in the eyes of Bathala, the god, to be fair and just. And he was loved by all.

Apo and his tribe became known far and wide. He became the hope of his people against sufferings brought about by the storms. But in the shadows, the envy and the greed, of other men overcame. One day on first light, the tribe was awakened by the news that Apo was taken by unscrupulous tribesmen, and no one knew why. They searched for Apo in the forest and mountains for several days but in vain.

The foliage then was thick as it was groomed by the gods, unlike the landscape we now come to see as made by the hands of man. And it was deadly as the creatures of the giant trees and the highlands were not mere legends. But the love for the elder Apo was strong, and every man, woman and child left no stone unturned. The Apo was eventually found by a boy when his eyes gazed upon figures in the trees, and his joy turned to grief when he realized the Apo's head was on a bamboo pole impaled.

When the tribe heard, they gathered to bury their beloved Apo in his rightful honor. They met the boy carrying the head amid chants of 'Ulo ng Apo' (head of the elder). And this became the rallying cry of the tribe and inspired the villagers to unite against all the enemies. The unscrupulous were punished, severely and unforgiving.

Inspired by the leadership of the Apo, the tribe, the village, the land is now known as the Ulo ng Apo -- Olongapo.

The legend tells of the elder and not the boy, but that is another story...

(Modern fictional translation of the Legend of Olongapo -- written by Headel Derr)
Ulo ng Apo image modified from original by Ramon FVelasquez / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0