Biliran Bridge

After the Manila and Baguio trip, my next destination was Biliran, the island province belonging to the Eastern Visayas region located 123 kilometers from Tacloban City. My wife and I managed the trip in 2 and a half hours last January 16 and made our first stop at the Biliran Bridge to take pictures.

Biliran, one of the the smallest provinces in the Philippines, is linked to the province of Leyte and to the rest of the country via the Biliran Bridge. It spans the narrow 100-meter Biliran Channel where small ships pass by for a short cut route to Cebu and the rest of the Visayas.

Here’s a brief flashback about this bridge. A section of this vital link collapsed on June 27, 1996 reportedly under the weight of two heavily-loaded trucks.

For a few months, a temporary Bailey Bridge was set up over the collapsed section of the bridge allowing light vehicles to cross over. This was discontinued, however, and closed to traffic in September of that year as repair work started. A barge then provided ferry service to buses and other vehicles at 30-minute intervals through a five-minute cruise across the narrow channel.

The closure of Biliran Bridge to land traffic threw back commuters to the past when the main form of transportation to and from the island was via the sea – thru commercial ships, pump boats and bancas. Needless to say, it dislocated the island province’s economy and way of life for months.

Full repair work of the Biliran Bridge took almost two years. It was finally reopened to vehicular traffic sometime in February of 1998.

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The town of Biliran on the horizon as viewed from the foot of the bridge at the Leyte side.

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The 100-meter narrow but deep Biliran Channel.

Below, the view from up in the air.

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I took the last three photos above last October on board a PAL flight from Manila on its final descent preparatory to landing in Tacloban City. I was only guessing it was the Biliran Bridge when I took the photos then. I only got confirmation after comparing the photos to a Google Earth view. :)

~ by gerryruiz on 27 January 2008.

10 Responses to “Biliran Bridge”

  1. Hello Gerry!
    Your Biliran pictures have given me a resolve to re-visit the town where I spent so many glorious summers of childhood. We (my sister and I) were houseguests of the Tranis. Their residence was just a few minutes walk from the wharf on what I think was the main street of the town then. I don’t know if any of the Trani family are still there. The house right after the plaza next to them belonged to the Nierras family. The place was so small and rustic then – the whole town could be done on foot. We spent hot afternoons swimming by the wharf – sea traffic was rare; and in the near dusk, at low tide, we’d comb the nearby shore for shells. It was from this point where I got to visit Bato (then a barrio of Biliran), from there, Naval and Almeria and the other towns.
    Maybe when I do that ‘visit’ and can afford it, I’ll do it via Leyte Gulf….(when kaya, ‘no?)
    Just a bit of unsolicited advice – promoting tourism for the place might be very good for business – but please, don’t let it lose its quiet charm.

  2. Development of a place need not clash with the preservation of a locale’s charm when done properly. Tragedy happens when those who “develop” potential tourism sites have an askew notion of tourism and development. :(

  3. Actually it’s only the 4th smallest province of the Philippines.
    But besides that, it is one of the most historic places in the country, being the first largest sea port of the Spanish before settling in what is today Intramuros and other major ports.

  4. You are right, Solo Galura; I stand corrected. Biliran is among the smallest provinces of the country, the other three being Batanes, Camiguin & Guimaras. I have updated & corrected my main entry, thanks to you! :)

  5. I am doing research on a bridge built in Tacloban around 1904-05. The civil engineer was an Englishman named W.D. Buxton. I have not been able to locate the city the bridge was built in. I’m sure I have the incorrect spelling: Calookog City. If you are familiar with this area would you please respond. Thanks, Marlene.

  6. Hi Marlene, I’m only guessing here but perhaps Calookog City refers to Calbayog City which is in Samar (western part of Samar island).

  7. although i can’t personally visit biliran, i’m completely happy to see these pictures.

  8. Gerry,
    My family came from Biliran. My Grandparents are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Sad to say after 5 generations from Rudolfo Nierras to the latest Great Great Grandaughter Kyana, we know nothing of the origins of my family. I was wondering if you have any information you could share with me. I feel so empty not being able to trace our roots in BIliran. My Great Grandfather is Blas Nierras and my Great Great Grandfather is Manuel Nierras.

    Thanks
    Ernest Nierras Jr.

  9. Thank you for posting my family legacy…

    BG Nierras

  10. Biliran is truly an undiscovered paradise… I hope na sana marami maka-visit sa Biliran… I’m proud to be a Biliranon.

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