San Juanico Bridge is a 2.16 kilometer (1.34 mi) bridge that links the two islands of Leyte and Samar as it stretches from barangay Cabalawan, Tacloban City on the Leyte side and Santa Rita Municipality on the Samar side across the San Juanico Strait in the Philippines. It is considered as the country’s longest bridge spanning a body of seawater.
I went here around 5pm on July 17, 2013. This was during my first time in Leyte and Samar, the 21st and and 22nd provinces on my list.
San Juanico Bridge’s is made of a steel girder viaduct built on reinforced concrete piers, and its main span is of an arch-shaped truss design. It has 43 spans and its large main arch rises 41 meters above the sea level. It is considered one of the most beautifully designed bridges in Philippines.
San Juanico Bridge was once called Marcos Bridge because the decision to build the bridge over San San Juanico Strait was made during the Marcos administration. (It is said to have been presented by the late president to his wife as a gift and testimonial of love.)
Completed in 1973, construction of the 21.9 million-dollar bridge commenced in 1969 over San Juanico Strait from Cabalawan, Tacloban City to the municipality of Santa Rita, Samar, by the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now the Philippine National Construction Corporation) together with Japanese engineers when the two was awarded the contract to design, finance, and construct the bridge in 1968.
Part of the Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway), San Juanico Bridge serves as a major gateway for trade and commerce between Leyte and Samar provinces. Through this bridge, it is now possible to travel by land straight from Luzon in the north of the Philippines to Mindanao in the south.
Looking at an elevated view of Samar and Leyte, including the San Juanico Strait below the bridge that has numerous islands (Read: Kabalawan Island) and whirlpools, the bridge offers picturesque views.
How to go to San Juanico Bridge
San Juanico Bridge is approximately 10 KM away from the city proper (downtown). From downtown, it is accessible by passenger jeepney, bus, motorcab, or private vehicle. You can ride a jeepney in front of the Public Market to Barangay Cabalawan.