Latest Stories

After 35 years and 6 presidents, Ilocos Sur bridge finally opens


PHOTO shows the panoramic view of the 180-meter Aluling Bridge that connects the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Mt. Province. Richard Balonglong / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

CERVANTES, Ilocos Sur—Francisca Aluaro, 69, was a witness to how residents of Barangay Aluling here would brave rampaging waters each time they crossed the Abra River in the 1970s.

Aluaro had also seen all modes of transport as residents crossed between this town and Tadian town in Mt. Province before the Aluling Bridge was finally constructed.

She said people first used “bangsal” or water raft to navigate the river. Then came the “galong-galong” or wooden box similar to the cable car where a road worker posted on opposite ends of the river would pull the wooden ride.

“During those days, four people could be accommodated in this wooden box and we were transported for free by government workers,” she said.

Transport further improved when officials put up a foot bridge so residents could trade products to the neighboring provinces of Benguet and La Union.

After nearly four decades and six presidents, Cervantes residents finally saw the bridge open on Thursday. It was under President Aquino’s term that the 180-meter Aluling Bridge was completed after 35 years of work since 1978 when the project was conceptualized.

The structure earned the moniker “longest bridge in the Philippines” because of the years it took for the project to be completed.

Mr. Aquino, who was originally set to open the bridge on Thursday, was represented by his sister, Viel Aquino-Dee. In a statement sent through text before the event started, Undersecretary Abigail Valte said the President was unable to attend as “he was feeling under the weather.”

Dee, accompanied by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, instead represented the President.

In the speech read by his sister, Mr. Aquino said the long wait for Ilocanos had ended. “Sa wakas, tapos na po ang paghihintay at pagtitiis ng mga taga-Cervantes. Nalpas met laengen, Apo (It is finally finished),” he said.

Mr. Aquino said residents would “no longer dance with death each time they crossed the Abra River.”

In more than 30 years, people have been moving and trading with great difficulty even though Cervantes is only 6 kilometers away from Tadian town.

“Products, which could have been sold fresh, would turn wilted or spoiled upon reaching the other end [of the river],”

Mr. Aquino said.

He said tourists would now be encouraged to go to Cervantes and visit tourist spots such as the Gambang Falls and the Yamashita Cave.

He said the bridge took more than 30 years to finish because of neglect by those who were in power.

The Aluling Bridge was among the completed infrastructure projects that the

President presented during his State of the Nation Address last month.

Initial construction began in 1978 as a five-span reinforced concrete deck girder-type bridge that was funded on a multiyear basis by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In 1990, however, the bridge was damaged by floods. In 1999, the DPWH restarted work with a plan to construct the bridge on another portion of the Abra River.

The bridge was finally completed on March 25 this year.

DPWH officials said the bridge allowed faster and safer transport of people and goods between the Ilocos and the Cordillera regions.

Once the bridge is opened, more than 1,000 motorists are expected to ply the stretch with a reduced travel time of

30 minutes between Cervantes and Tadian. Before the bridge was completed, motorists used to negotiate the route in an hour.

The bridge will enable faster trading of farm, fish and quarry products for residents in  downstream towns of Ilocos Sur and neighboring provinces of La Union, Benguet and Mt. Province.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ilocos Sur , News , public infrastructures , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace