Philippines History Of The Bridges Part 3

The third to be built spanning the Pasig was the Puente de Convalecencia or better known as the Ayala Bridge, originally composed of two separate spans connected by the Isla de Convalecencia, which is home to Hospisio de San Jose, dropping point for abandoned babies, the bridge over this island was originally made of wooden arched trusses.

Military unit on civilian boat in Manila Military Precession Crossing Ayala Bridge. Manila, Philippines


Completed in 1880, it suffered major structural damage and completely collapsed 10 years later. This was subsequently replaced with a simple metal saw trussed bridge in the last decade of the 19th century, though not significant for its design, its engineer nevertheless is important in the annals of Philippine history, for it was the only bridge that the famed French Engineer by the name of Gustave Eiffel built in the country. This bridge, famous for its engineer or otherwise, similarly didn’t last long and was subsequently replaced.


The fourth significant span to be erected in the islands is small in comparison to those that crossed the mighty rivers of our country. Covering only a small distance, roughly about 15 meters, the bridge over the Estero de Binondo in Manila is unique due to its ability to lift its platform from the ground to accommodate passing boats or cascos.


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The Lift Bridge inaugurated in 1913 was the only one of its kind in the country. Spared from the destruction that befell most of colonial Manila during the Liberation, the Lift Bridge of Estero de Binondo was until recently the only link to both banks of the estero along Calle Dasmariñas until, its subsequent replacement by the most beautiful of all DPWH bridges, the standard concrete bridge.
During the American Commonwealth Period, a frenzy of bridge building was experienced throughout the whole archipelago. Great engineers and builders as they were, the American Master proved that what could be linked by a bridge was indeed connected. Only immense distances hampered the erection of a bridge and it was only long after independence that a bridge would connect major island groups.
Other bridges as well crossed the various spans that litter our country. With the arrival of the trains, railroad bridges became increasingly important. Though uniform in nature, these bridges especially those built along the northern and southern lines bear witness to the growth and prosperity of the communities that the railroads passed.


Though a majority of these bridges were destroyed during the Second World War, its eventual reconstruction heralded a new dawn to a war ravaged country. Today these rail bridges that connect Manila to the north and south are still standing, though the north line has been abandoned, the ghosts of its past still haunt the familiar landscape with its bridges standing isolated and unused. The south line on the other hand is very much in use and its bridges constantly being inspected and repaired for the safe journey of not only the locomotives that pass above her but the make shift trolleys that ply her rails.