When one speaks of Leyte, one thing that comes to mind is San Juanico Bridge. And for those who like action movies of the eighties, who would ever forget the stunt pulled-off by Dante Varona who jumped from that bridge into the sea below.
So when I visited Leyte, I made sure to see this bridge which is the longest bridge in the Philippines that connects the Province of Leyte and Samar.
San Juanico is considered one of the most beautifully-designed bridges in Philippines. It is supported by 43 spans rising 41 meters above the sea and has a large arch beneath which allows boats to pass. View from the top will reveal the letters L and S shape of the bridge which stands for Leyte and Samar. It was previously known as Marcos Bridge because it was built during the term of President Ferdinand Marcos.
Although the bridge is long, it is quite narrow and consist only of two-lanes. Vehicles are not allowed to stop at any point within the bridge so you really cannot go down there and took pics. However, I told our driver to drive slowly so that I could take some pics of the San Juanico Strait. However, the cars at our rear keeps on signaling us to speed-up so I was not able to take the shots that I like.
The San Juanico Strait presents some of the most beautiful landscape that you will ever see from groups of islets to passing boats to fishing structures. Too bad, we are not allowed to walk on the side rails because it is just too narrow and dangerous.
We passed by the bridge four times just to maximize our viewing experience, so literally, I have been though Samar twice already. Santa Rita is the first municipality you will arrive at in Samar.
I was hoping to have at least a decent shot of the structure but I was utterly disappointed because there isn't a viewing deck where you could see the bridge entirely. There is a small square/park at the beginning of the Leyte side of the bridge but you can't have a good look at the bridge because there are lots of trees and structures blocking the view. Hopefully, the Local Government there could construct a viewing deck because that bridge is one of the country's best.
By the way, stories have it that San Juanico Bridge was offered by President Marcos to his wife Imelda as a gift because she has difficulty going to her hometown in Leyte. But whether the story is true or not, this bridge in reality is a gift to all people in the Eastern Visayas area because it literally bridged the gap between those islands.
And speaking of Imelda Marcos, everyone in Leyte seem to love her because of the developments and the progress she had brought to the province. In fact, of the people I have talked to there, they are still very grateful of hat she has done for them. One of the projects she has made in Leyte is the Sto. Nino Shrine which served as the first Family's residence in Leyte. More of this Shrine which have turned now into a Heritage Museum on my next post.
Look Back Friday. Originally posted on June 19, 2009.