Originally known as the “Village of Kamaya”, it was founded as a pueblo by a Franciscan Friar in 1578 and was made part of the Corregimiento of Mariveles which includes the towns of Bagac and Morong, the Island of Corregidor, and the town of Maragondon in Cavite.
When Bataan was declared as another province separate from Pampanga pursuant to Superior Decree on July 1754, Mariveles became a part of the new province. It served as the checking point for ships entering or leaving Manila Bay.
When the Philippines fell to the Americans at the turn of the 19th century, Mariveles was placed under American rule. They established the country’s first quarantine station in the old Spanish Leprosarium Hospital to check all incoming and outgoing shipments from any communicable and deadly diseases from spreading. Today, this quarantine station is converted to a National Mental Ward.
There are many theories and myths about the origin of the name “Mariveles”, to wit:
According to the geographical history, the word Mariveles is a collaboration of the Tagalog words “Maraming Dilis” which refers to the abundant anchovies caught on the seas surrounding the town. “Maraming Dilis” was shortened to Mara-dilis and eventually to “Mariveles” through the passage of time.
Another popular myth is about the romantic story of a nun named Maria Veles who had fallen in love with a man and chose her love instead of her vocation to God. She and her lover eloped and hid in the mountain who, according to legend, live happily till she met her death. In her memory, her lover named the mountain where she was buried as Mt. Maria Veles, which later was shortened to Mariveles.
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
THE BATAAN ECONOMIC ZONE
Mariveles was then referred to as a war-torn small fishing village of 5,000 people who subsist from their farm harvest and catch from the sea.
Until in the 1960’s, when the Philippine Government made a remarkable step toward investment planning to attract foreign investments into the country.
Many factors were considered in deciding the site. When it was suggested that Bataan Province was a likely spot for the Philippine debut in the field, businessmen were really not convinced. Bataan was too far from Manila and harbored only a village backed by mountains and muddy tracks.
But it was done. With the declaration of Martial Law in September 1972, former Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 66, creating the Export Processing Authority, the forerunner of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority or the PEZA today. And the site chosen was Mariveles, Bataan.
Since then, remarkable progress took place at the Bataan Export Processing Zone, the first and premiere economic zone in the country, now called the Bataan Economic Zone.
A former 1,200 hectares barren jungle is now transformed into a modern industrial complex with more than 40 multinational companies manufacturing products for the World and providing employment to more than 15,000 Filipinos.
THE PETROCHEMICAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The nominal entry of new investors in the country, in the 1990’s, while reflective of the global economic downturn, nonetheless brought another giant investment in Mariveles.
The Philippine National Oil Company – Petrochemical Development Corporation (PNOC-PDC), a multi-million dollar project, came in as the biggest single investment in 1993.
Sprawled on a 530-hectare land along the coastal area at Brgy. Batangas Dos, PNOC-PDC developed the area as a petrochemical industrial estate, and established thereat petrochemical related industries either by itself or in joint venture with private investors.
TOTAL PHILS. CORPORATION
The following year, came in another multi-million dollar investment when TOTAL FINA ELF, the merger of 3 leaders in the petroleum and chemical industries: TOTAL, PETROFINA, and ELF AQUITANE, decided to locate its oil distribution terminal along the coastal area of Brgy. Alas-asin.
A US $20 million project, the terminal is a strong and indisputable contender in the local oil industry today.
Equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities, it is expected to supply up to 5% of the country’s oil demands within the next five years even as it meets the requirements of existing clients.
ASIAN TERMINAL INC. (ATI)
Endowed by a deep-water bay, Mariveles has excellent potentials of a world-class port facility. In fact the Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI), the country’s premiere port operator and logistics provider has developed and is now operating a 10-hectare bulk grain terminal in the town design to carry out efficient handling, storage and distribution of imported bulk and grains.
In operation since 1996, Mariveles Grain Terminal is the first of its kind in the Philippines and one of the most advanced in Asia today.
SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION
Inside its 10-hectare facility, ATI also housed the Integrated Bulk Handling Terminal of the San Miguel Corporation, the country’s biggest business conglomerate today.
The terminal receives malt in bulk direct from the ship’s hold and stores it in concrete silos near the pier. The malts are then delivered to 4 San Miguel breweries in Polo, Valenzuela; San Fernando, Pampanga; Mandaue City in Cebu and Davao City.
HERMA SHIPYARD INC.
Formerly the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corporation, Herma Shipyard Inc. is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay, 34 nautical miles north of Manila.
With an industrial area of 17 hectares, it has a wharf space of 310 meters, a dry-dock facility measuring 173 meters long, 30.6 meters wide and 12.2 meters deep with a dry-dock capacity of up to 15,000 DWT.
Backed up by a full-service industrial complex and an experience pool of technical workforce, Herma Shipping Inc., offers a complete line of shipyard services like ship dry-docking, repair and maintenance, ship upgrade, industrial engineering and fabrication services, port terminal services and warehousing facilities.
A member of Herma Group, an industry leader in the Phil. Petroleum marine transport, oil trading, environmental and waste management, its port facilities are available for domestic and international cargoes and products.
Today, Mariveles has metamorphosed from a small fishing village, to a war-torn community in the 2nd World War into an industrial city of Bataan. As employment opportunities inside the town continue to expand, migration of workers from the other parts of the country continue to grow. The tiny population of 5,000 in the 1970’s now registered at 104,410, the biggest in the entire Province of Bataan per 2006 census.
But the most significant contribution of the industrial revolution going on in the town is the economic gain it has achieved in terms of revenue collection. Looking back ten years ago, Mariveles was a third class municipality with revenue collection of P49,742,054.38. Because of its improved revenue collections of P71,029,842.77, Mariveles rose to a first class municipality in 1999. In 2007 Mariveles registered the highest revenue collection of P150,701,935.98 in the whole province of Bataan.