One of the many landmarks which I have always wanted to see is the San Juanico Bridge which links Samar in the north with Leyte in the south. On occasion, I have seen pictures of the bridge in magazines and more recently in blogs. While I was randomly trying to decide where to go for this weekend, I opened up Google Maps and decided to head to Tacloban City. In conjunction with browsing the PAL and Cebu Pacific websites, I found the right flights.

This particular Lakwatsa would be one of my shortest by-air trips I have ever made. This had me coming and going in one afternoon. I landed in Tacloban at 1:10pm and left at 6:00pm giving me roughly 4 hours to go around the Tacloban City area. I also just booked my flight day before… so this would now be my most impulsive trip to date (even more impulsive than my day trip to Zamboanga City earlier this year).

View San Juanico Bridge in a larger map

I arrived at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport at around 1:10pm.  When I got out, my pre-arranged transportation, Mang Pat was waiting for me. From the airport we headed directly to the bridge which was around 17 km north of the airport.

The bridge has an interesting history. Construction of the bridge happened during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. Construction began in 1969 and was completed in 1973. According to lore, the birdge was a symbol of Ferdinand Marcos’ love to First Lady Imelda Marcos. Tacloban20100711 021

The bridge is is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the Philippines. It definitely is quite a majestic bridge. Measuring a length of 2.16 kilometers it is the longest over-the-water bridge in the Philippines (Pampangas Candaba Viaduct is technically longer, but it is a land-bridge).

With a big “hump” on one end and a flatter opposite end, it kinda reminds me of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Bay Bridge or Dumbarton Bridge… except this one is curved into an “S”.

Standing at the high point of the bridge, it is actually quite disconcerting at first. You feel the bridge moving. I wasn’t sure if it was bouncing up and down or swaying left to right, but it was moving.

The bridge is actually quite narrow. It’s just a two lane road. However unlike most other northern Luzon thoroughfares, the traffic was very… very light.

The “S”-ness of the bridge.

We got to the Samar side then made a U-turn at a round-a-bout and headed back to Leyte. At least for a few minutes… I crossed into another province Smile.

The view of the bridge from the Samar side is definitely more majestic because you the big hump at the end.

Welcome back to Leyte…

One thing is for sure, the bridge itself is a marvel to see. It’s a long bridge… shaped as an “S”… crossing the San Juanico straight over Islets… with lush greeneries on both sides.

While the pictures above are ok… I made two panoramic stitches to give you an idea of the full majesty of the bride.

Leyte to Samar (click on the picture to load the bigger picture)

Samar to Leyte (click on the picture to load the bigger picture)

Here’s a PhotoSynth of the bridge…

From the bridge… we proceeded to the center of Tacloban City. One the Bucket List Item fulfilled!