Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crossing the San Juanico Bridge (Leyte - Samar)

A beautiful sight to behold and an experience in 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. I was feeling the whole experience. 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 jeepney ride 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 as 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 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!


  1. awesome scenery, thanks for sharing

  2. @theBluesman: Thanks! Hope you can visit the place!

  3. amazing joems... :)

    reminds me of the movie "The Bridges of Madison County"

  4. It was raining when my fellow-OJTs and I crossed that bridge almost 6 years ago. I did not have good captures back then but your vivid photos remind me of that event.

    Samar and Negros Occidental have eluded me for quite a long time. I should force myself to visit these provinces soon. Kim, are you in for a backpacking adventure with Joe? :)

  5. @baktin: And you're all welcome to do so especially Samar, such an adventure-packed place. I'm looking forward to visit its other numerous offerings. Thanks Bren!

  6. crossing the bridge, either walking or by vehicle, is always an awesome experience but difficult to take pictures when on a bus. However, there's a point in the bridge that has a beautiful scenery near the Samar side.

    by the way, can you call this a suspension bridge?

  7. @estan: that's what i was supposed to do to get to the Samar side but i thought i couldn't cross the bridge anymore. i was overcome by fear. haha.

    thanks for the question. it made me do more research. :)

  8. bai, good example of a suspension bridge is the marcelo fernan bridge. ang san juanico is an arch truss bridge :)

  9. For a moment I wanted to travel to Leyte and stop at San Juanico bridge and just take pics.

  10. it's refreshing to hear a blog like this from someone who's not from samar or leyte...becuase us, who grew up crossing this bridge does not swoon anymore...we only feel a sigh of relief that the 90 km ride from catbalogan has come to an end...

  11. i'm actually a native of leyte and it was my first time to be in samar. i love samar! :) there's more to explore yet! :)

  12. Beautiful photos! I'll be in Leyte this coming week.

  13. I passed the bridge when I went to Calicoan Eastern Samar from Tacloban but I got no to stop and take some beautiful shots.:D

  14. @Keeh Jhay: Undoubtedly, the most beautiful bridge in the country. Thanks! Share your pix. :)

  15. By composing and publishing this blog complete with superb pictures about your visit to this bridge, you've done young man a great service to humanity. You've exposed its beauty and grandeur to tempt and invite peoples the world over to see for themselves this engineering marvel. Laurels and keep up the good work.

  16. @nick071438: Sir, thank you so much for the wonderful words. you inspire me to write even more and to continue this lifetime journey undaunted. :) God bless you!

  17. i cant just imagine the beauty of that bridge.. all the shots are nice, hope I do that soon.. hahaha I just love nature that gives more adventure

  18. sure you can do that! stop at the bridge and take the best shots!
    thanks, daniela! :)