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.
The town of Biliran on the horizon as viewed from the foot of the bridge at the Leyte side.
The 100-meter narrow but deep Biliran Channel.
Below, the view from up in the air.
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. 🙂