Diocese of Iba
  • share this post
  • Share on facebook
  • resize textlarger | smaller

In a land area of 3,642 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the entire civil province of Zambales and Olongapo City. It remains a suffragan of San Fernando, Pampanga, and its titular patron is St. Augustine whose feast is celebrated August 28.

Zambales is subdivided into 13 municipalities (Subic, Castillejos, San Marcelino, San Antonio, San Narciso, San Felipe, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Palauig, Masinloc, Candelaria, and Santa Cruz) and 1 city with 1st and 2nd districts (shared with Olongapo City).

Olongapo City is a highly urbanized city and administers itself autonomously from the province. Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) a Philippine-claimed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), is a designated part of the province. Olongapo City is politically subdivided into 17 barangays.

Both belongs to Region III or most known as Central Luzon.


As of Jan. 1, 2010, the total population is 734,813. The Zambals are the province’s major ethnic group. They can be identified by their language which is of three variations-Sambali Bolinao, Sambali Botolan, Sambali Tina. The province’s other ethnic groups are the Ilocanos, the Tagalogs, the Kapampangans and the Muslims which increased in number within more or less, the last ten years. The province is home for the Aytas, an indigenous group that thrives in the mountain slopes of the Zambales Range.


Sambal, Tagalog, and Ilocano are the three main languages of Zambales. Some spoke other languages as their mother tongue, such as Kapampangan, including non-Philippine languages such as English. About 75 percent of the population speaks and understands English to varying degrees of fluency, and road signs are written in that language.


Suffragan of San Fernando, Pampanga
Created Prelature: June 12, 1955
Erected: Oct. 18, 1955
Elevated to Diocese: Nov. 15, 1982
Comprises the province of Zambales and Olongapo City
Titular: St. Augustine, August 28.

Iba was created a prelature nullius on June 12, 1955, and on Nov. 15, 1982  was elevated to a diocese. Before its creation into a prelature Iba, in the province of Zambales, was part of the Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga and that of Lingayen-Dagupan in Pangasinan. Diocesan priests from the Diocese of San Fernando served in Olongapo, Subic, Castillejos, San Marcelino and San Antonio in Zambales, while diocesan priests from Lingayen-Dagupan served in Masinloc, Candelaria and Sta. Cruz.


A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council    is composed of SK Members.


Subic Bay International Airport serves as a secondary airport and a main diversion airport of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It is also the airport serving the immediate area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the general area of Olongapo City in the Philippines. This airport used to be the Naval Air Station Cubi Point of the United States Navy.

The Subic Seaport serves as a major alternative port for importers and exporters in the Northern and Central Luzon areas of the country to decongest the Manila International Container Terminal. The Subic Port is located southwest of Luzon Island, Philippines. It is 110 kilometers North of Manila, facing the South China Sea and surrounded by Olongapo City and the towns of Subic and Morong. It is northwest of the Bataan Peninsula and Southwest of the Zambales Province. Subic Bay Freeport has long been recognized for its strategic location, being at the center of the fastest growing markets in Asia. It is at the hub of the region, and all major cities in Asia are within easy reach either by sea or by air.

Modes of transportation
The transportation modes of the region are buses, jeepneys, taxi and tricycles.  Power Supply The presence of the Masinloc Coal Fire Thermal Plant in Bani, Masinloc guarantees and generates the needed power to sustain and    operate industrial activity in the province. There is the Subic shipyard and three other reserve areas in the towns of San Antonio, Candelaria and Sta. Cruz.

Water Supply
Every municipality has its own water supply facility under the administration of the National Waterworks and Sewerage System Authority (NAWASA). About 70% of the households are served by NAWASA. It is also common to find in the homes of those in the Middle income level and above deep-well water systems run by electricity. Those in the lower income groups that are not served by NAWASA use water pumps or jetmatics.


Annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos, excludes Olongapo City) 29,204 (USD629 as of July 2010). Olongapo City per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) 39,521 (USD851 as of July 2010).

Of the 109,785 households in the diocese, 73.59% are families with heads gainfully employed, which is 74th in the total national ranking. The National Statistics also reports that 89.41% of these households are with members of 18 years old and over who are gainfully employed while 6.29% of families are with working children 5-17 years old.

On Overseas workers, the latest survey report was still for the year 2000 which shows that during that year, there were 6,858 overseas Filipino workers. This number must have increased for the prevailing poor economic situation in the province has not improved from 2000 to 2009, forcing many to find better jobs abroad. Based on that same survey, annual per capita income for Zambales was Php 29,204 while average per capita expenditure was Php 22,230.

Major industries, trade and agriculture

Zambales is basically an agricultural province. The chief products are rice, corn, vegetables, and rootcrops. Major industries include farming, fishing, and mining. Zambales is a rich source of Nickel & Chromite.

The Olongapo area, once the site of the biggest U.S. naval base in Asia, is fast developing into an industrial and tourism zone under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

In agriculture, giving primary source sustainability comes from the following:
Crop production – rice, corn, fruits, vegetables
Prawn/ crab production
Fish production – bangus, tilapia, fishponds including deep sea fishing
Livestock and poultry raising
Food processing – dried mango, papaya, kamias, pastillas, sesame candies
Smoked fish making
Bangus/ tilapia fingerling production
Salt making
Mining – gold, chromite, nickel, manganese & platinum
Furniture making
Seaweed production
Mineral water bottling
Hotel and resort development
Merchandising – buy and sell of commodities

The deep blue seas are very rich in fish species like frigate tune, yellow fins and squid. The mariculture zones
produce milkfish, catfish, oysters, mussels, lobsters and other aqua varieties like seaweeds.


Aside from the mobile telecommunications servers – Smart, Globe and Sun that are available to almost everyone who can afford a cellphone, there are two major landlines that serve the province. Digitel, Inc. serves the towns of Botolan, Iba, Masinloc and Sta. Cruz. PLDT serves the towns of San Felipe, San Narciso, San Antonio, San Marcelino, Castillejos, Subic and Olongapo City.

There are four (4) AM stations in the territory, 3 are located in Olongapo City and 1 is located in Iba, Zambales. There are sixteen (16) FM stations in the territory: 4 stations located in Olongapo City, 2 located in Santa Cruz, others are located in Subic Bay Freeport,    Masinloc, San Marcelino, Botolan, San Felipe, San Narciso, Candelaria, Castillejos, San Antonio and Iba.

There are eleven (11) TV stations in the territory.


Binabayani Festival (November 30)
Olongapo, Zambales

Binabayani Festival is celebrated during last week of November where it re-enacts the battle between Christians and Aetas through a dance interpretation happening in the town of Masinloc and the activity is featured in the town plaza. The dance is complemented with Aetas costume; people’s bodies all rubbed with charcoal and are naked waist up with short pants and bird’s nest-made hats all in black color. Props include bamboo drums and bolos for their weapons while the Christian accessories include white pants and polo shirts with colored band up from the shoulder down to the waist. They, too, have props of bolos and bamboo drums.

Domorokdok Festival
Botolan, Zambales

Domorokdok Festival (Sambal word for Dance) is a grand celebration that brings all Botoleños together in unity and cooperation, in pursuit of peaceful and progressive Botolan. This is usually done on the 4th day of May. It brings back the memory and the tradition of    merriment that has long been forgotten for so many decades. Domorokdok is a Zambales term for dance. The festival became a tradition in Botolan. Almost all barangay fiestas featured the dance as part of the day’s festivities. Through the dance, old folks express their thanksgiving for the blessing they received.

The "Fiesta Poon Bato," (literal translation is Feast of the Sacred Stone) held in January, is a religious festival that attracts over half a million people each year. The festival venerates Ina Poon Bato also known as Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage), the oldest known image of the Virgin Mother in Asia. The Barrio of Poon Bato located in the Botolan, that is host to the image and the fiesta, was completely destroyed during the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. The icon was saved and moved, along with the barrio inhabitants, to nearby Loob Bunga Resettlement Area.

The "Mango Festival" is held in the provincial capital of Iba every April.

The Sibit-Sibit Festival is an annual event held in Olongapo to depict the rich and colorful history of the City. Sibit-Sibit is a word derived from the erstwhile saga of Ulo ng Apo which connotes the small paddle used for fishing as Olongapo was ultimately born from being one of the ancient fishing villages of the country. During olden fiestas, fishermen held banca races using sibit sibit driven by human strength in the quest to win races.

Clergy retreat in Baguio City