Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crossing the San Juanico Bridge (Leyte - Samar)


A beautiful sight to behold and an experience itself. That’s how I could sum up the San Juanico Bridge when I got the chance to actually feel its power, charm and travel along its almost 4 decades of significance in Philippine history.

the Leyte side of the bridge
islets below the bridge
trusses over the arch of the bridge (pic 1)
trusses (pic 2)

Construction started in August 1969
and was completed in December 1972
To actually see the longest bridge in the Philippines that connects Leyte (Tacloban City) and Samar (Sta. Rita) over a 2.162 km. span is this lone traveler's dream come true. :) (that's a smiley right there. ha ha!). I was just feeling the whole experience seriously! In addition to that, it must be that I have become more than curious over the story behind the bridge. Word has it that the San Juanico Bridge was Ferdinand Marcos’ gift for her wife Imelda Marcos, a native of Leyte as a testimony of his love. Well, that's what love can do.

When I finally arrived in San Juanico from a 10-peso-ride on a jeepney from Tacloban downtown, I asked a military officer if I could actually take a walk over the bridge. He eagerly said anyone has all the time in the world to do so. It rang as kind of cool to me.

San Juanico Strait, the narrowest in the world (pic 1)
I thought walking over it would be easy but it occurred to me a rather daunting experience especially that I was pacing against strong winds the San Juanico Strait brought that day and had to hold on to the beams due to vibrations and movements I could feel every time buses, jeepneys and vans passed by. When I reached the middle of the bridge, I let out a sigh of relief, I have to say less panicky there were lesser winds at those altitudes. There I met Mr. Base, one of the only two bridge sweepers who are employees of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Well, thanks to him for allowing me to bother him for just a minute or two of chitchat. He’s been working there for almost 2 years now.

I should have crossed the bridge to the Samar side. But as I said, it was daunting taking a walk over the bridge against strong winds besides being all alone. But I’m telling you this, I realize I missed getting a better perspective of the bridge that you could only get when you’re standing on Samar side (how could I forget the arch!). Well, that’s regret right there but I'm already thinking of redoing the experience. Hmm...

Walking down from the middle of the bridge to its Leyte end would take you about 10 minutes.

grazing sheep beside the bridge
San Juanico Strait (pic 2)

San Juanico Strait (pic 3)
San Juanico Strait (pic 4)
San Juanico Strait (pic 5)
San Juanico Strait (pic 6)
forming an "L" which stands for Leyte
a picturesque view
that's an "S" which stands for Samar

Mr. Base, thanks!

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