Oltaloro (pronounced Ol-Ta-Lo-Ro) is the capital of the Cataduanes Freestate. It is one of three major cities within the Cataduanes Freestate. Located on the western coast it has grown from a small fishing port in the early colonial period of the nations history to the most populous urban area of the Freestate.
The City is currently divided into 23 administrative districts known as Cantones (Cantonment’s), the core historic Cantones of the city are San Martin, Santiago and Torrevieja who formed the heart of the early Spanish city. The City is the seat of the Military government that currently controls the nation and is a major cultural, educational and financial center.
The first recorded history of the city is when Spanish colonizers described a native fishing village on the banks of the river Otuloru which was renamedby the Spaniards as the Rio Pescadores, the settlement reportedly called Oltaloru by the natives was soon settled by the Spanish who built a harbor in the area christened San Martin, and built Fort Santiago (Fortaleza de Santiago).
It was a backwater until the mid 1840’s when the harbor of the colonial capital, Merida, began to become unusable due to silting. This prompted the Colonial authorities to develop San Martin into a modern deep water harbor prompting redevelopment of the areas of San Martin building the docks that would form the basis for the cities future prosperity. By the 1850's the city grew rapidly as it became the main focus of export and import trade for the colony.
Rise of the City Edit
In 1867 the area was formally established as a city receiving its royal charter from Madrid as the Twin Cities of San Martin and Santiago (Cuidades de San Martin y Santiago). In the following four decades the city grew rapidly dwarfing the other cities of Mérida and Subanon. By the dawn of the 1900’s the city had expanded with urbanization of rural areas forming new Cantones further inland along the banks of the Rio Pescadores as immigrants from Spain, Southern China and Cataduaño migrants from other areas of island flocked to the growing metropolis.
The Capital Edit
It would be in this growing multicultural metropolis that Anti-Colonial sentiment found its base, and with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 it would be here that an independent Cataduanes Freestate was declared by Left wing activists in both the Spanish and Cataduaño communities. The city was subsequently renamed Oltaloro in honor of its pre-colonial history and the city took its place as the capital of the newly liberated nation (replacing Merida).
With the rise of the Military government which fostered a more capitalist friendly government a more affluent middle class began to move out of the cities forming suburbs which in turn became new Cantonments.
The Cantonments (Cantones) are classed in the following Metropolitan zones;
Zona Metropolitana del Centro (for the perceived central districts of the city)
Zona Metropolitana del Norte (Northern suburbs)
Zona Metropolitana del Sur (Southern Suburbs)
Zona Metropolitana del Oeste (western surburbs)
Zona Metropolitana del Centro Edit
- San Martin - Dominated by the huge docklands the area remains a busy commercial districts, it remains largely colonial in both architecture and ambiance. The inhabitants of San Martin are commonly known as the ‘Porteños’ (Port dwellers). However the development of the Torrijos docklands has had an impact which threatens the status of San Martin as the prime docks of the city, the loss of which create difficulties for the area's populace much of whom work directly or indirectly for the San Martin docklands.
- Santiago – One of the three historic core areas of the City. It is dominated by the old Spanish Santiago fort and is dominated by its narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed Spanish style houses. While Santiago is somewhat aged in appearance it still exudes signs of its past opulence.
- Torrevieja – Like its fellow areas in San Martin and Santiago, the Torrevieja cantonment is very much Spanish in its character, with its whitewashed architecture and many colonial era churches. In the past it served as the living area for the Spanish colonial elite and remains very much an area for the affluent.
- Haro – Once an industrial area it is a largely residential district ands is home to the national financial district.
- Dumaguete – A residential area, it is also home to the nations second largest airport; Dumaguete International Airport.
Zona Metropolitana del Norte Edit
- Calasaio – A residential area on the banks of the Rio Pescadores.
- Castilla – Located on the northside of the city, it is a leafy suburb that largely populated by the middle class elements of the cities populace.
- Bauan – A middle class residential area.
- Sacay – Formerly an industrial district, it has in recent years become a low rent residential area.
- Calamianes – A poorer residential area.
- Guipuzcoa – A largely industrial area, with much of the cities manufacturing base located in the area.
- Selurong – One of the furthest suburbs, it remains a residential area where tied to the manufacturing industry in neighboring Guipuzcoa.
Zona Metropolitana del Sur Edit
- Luxemburgo – Is located on the southside of the city on the Sierra Verde hills. It is mostly renowned as the home for the cities distinct Basque community. It was called San Francisco in colonial times and was renamed Luxemburgo in honor of the famous German Marxist activist; Rosa Luxemburg.
- Masantola – Located on the Sierra Verde hills adjacent to the Luxemburgo Cantonment. A relatively green area it is renowned for its stunning views of the city and is the area of choice for the nation’s celebrities. However it is best known for being the home of much of the nations Movie industry, earning it the epithet Hollywood of the Far East.
- Torrijos – Once a backwater the area was developed in the last three decades around a new docklands area, in order to expand the potential of Oltaloro to deal with ever expanding size of freight passing through the city annually. Despite San Martin's status as the prime docklands for maritime traffic it is increasingly being sidelined by Torrijos's greater capacity and modernity.
- Magalona – A prosperous coastal suburb. Renowned for its beachfront property and sleepy suburban character.
Zona Metropolitana del Oeste Edit
- Calicanto – Located in the eastern side of the city it is home to one of the premier educational establishments in the Freestate; Universidad Pamatasang de Oltaloro. It is also home to much of the cities Cantonese populace which is centered on the Chinatown area.
- Negrenses – Located on the Montenegro Hills, it is largely forested area renowned for wildlife conservation. It is also home to the National government whose buildings are all located in a small corner of the Cantonment, in an area known as the ‘Sitio’.
- Tañon – Like neighboring Banilad it is home to the cities less affluent populace.
- Kumintang – A residential suburb renowned for its poverty and state of urban neglect, it is home to much of the cities less affluent populace and has many slum areas known as Campamento's.
- Banilad – A residential area located north of Negrenses.
- Dasmariñas – A residential area adjacent to Kumintang.
- San Mateo – A well to do residential area of the city.
- Urdaneta – Located in the urban hinterland of the city, the area is home to the nations largest airport upon which the local economy is heavily reliant.
The city is largely populated by Cataduaño's and Españoles, but it also possesses sizable minorities of Mahabeño's, Cantonós, Catalanos and Vascos. The city is also home to a burgeoning Expatriate community (especially people from the Transvaal).
The local economy is diverse and multifaceted. Its remains the principle seaport for the Freestate, Oltalro is one of the main fishing and commerce ports in the region with a vast majority of the nations imports and exports passing through the San Martin and Torrijos docks.
In addition it is a major service industry center. The Services sector is highly diversified and well-developed, with the financial sector (Based largely in the Haro area of the city) being most important among the services sectors, as a result the city is the undisputed financial center of the nation.
Tourism is also a major industry with the capital serving as a major destination point for tourists (with many going onto to the famed beach resorts on the southern coasts of the Freestate). Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy and, concentrated mainly in the northern areas, it benefits form local purchasing power.
Oltaloro is a real melting pot, with a strong blend of Iberian, Cantonese and Malayo-Polynesian influences. It is home to much of the nations Museums, galleries and centers for the arts.
The Feria de Agusto or August Festival occurs in the first week of August and dates back to the Spanish colonial presence. During the Feria much of the city is given over to nightly street parties with music and dance playing a key role. The final day of the Feria coincides with the last bullfight or Corrida of the annual bullfighting season.
Oltaloro is served by the newly built Urdaneta International Airport, which has surpassed the old and much smaller Dumaguete Airport. Urdaneta accounts for more than 70% of the Freestates aerial transportation which coupled with its seaport makes the city a crucial transportation hub for the nation.
The historic San Martin harbor and modern Torrijos docklands have help to maintain Oltaloro's status as the key port for the whole country, The city handles the vast majority of the nation’s seaborne cargo for import and export.
The city has a light rail network known as the Ferrocarril Metropolitano or 'Metro' for short, It provides the city with an urban rail system. With 45 stations the Metro covers the majority of the city, supplementing the service provided by the Bus service which is known as the Colectivos (the name comes from "vehículos de transporte colectivo" or vehicles for collective transport).
Bullfighting remains a hugely popular, a legacy of Spanish rule the ‘Plaza de Toro’ in San Martin hosts for separate sessions or Corridas in the summer months with the final Corrida coinciding with the Feria de Agosto in August.
However in the capital as in much of the country Football (Soccer) is the paramount sport, with many of the nations biggest clubs based in the capital.