Another unplanned getaway that I had last December was to visit the longest bridge in the Philippines. With a long stretch of 2.2 kilometers, San Juanico Bridge connects the towns of Tacloban, Leyte and Santa Rita, Samar.It was never a part of my plan to go and visit the bridge but due to some changes of the itinerary of my group on our main activity in Jaro, Leyte I have to go a day earlier than them and have nothing to do so the bridge came in mind.
It was a four hour ride from Cebu City to Ormoc City on a ferry boat. It was late when I arrived at Ormoc that I have to hurry for me to catch the last van that leaves for Tacloban since its where I will be staying for the night and yes I already booked a place to stay since I have forseen that I will be very tired upon arrival to still look for a place to stay for the night. Good thing i was able to book a room with Zpad Residences, a modern hotel with style for only 700 pesos.
It took me 2 hours from Ormoc to Tacloban. Upon my arrival, it was already past 10 in the evening and it was raining hard that night. Good thing I already advised the hotel for a late check-in so they were really expecting me. The lady at the entrance greeted me and was holding my check-in papers and told me that the room I booked was not available anymore and I almost freaked out. But there was some good news in it, my accomodation was upgraded with a queen sized bed with no fee at all. At this point, I can already recommend there place for you to visit.
I only had a few hours sleep, got up early and started my day. I still couldnt figure out how to get to the bridge and by looking at my map, its still very far from my location. So I hurriedly had breakfast, checked out and went on with my adventure.
How to get to San Juanico Bridge the cheaper way.
1. Ride a motorcycle with a sidecar going to Mcdonalds Avenida Rizal. (around Php 50 if your alone)
2. From there, ride a multicab going to Robinsons North (Php 10)
3. In front of Robinsons will be the bus terminal
4. From there, you have 2 options :
A. Rent a motorcycle with sidecar which will bring you to the bridge entrance. Price will be around Php 150-200 one way. It can fit around 5 people.
B. Ride a bus going to Samar (but you will have to wait for it)
Upon arrival at the entrance of the bridge, you will need to log your name for documentation. No entrance fee. And then you can start your exploring the bridge.
A word of caution, you need to be careful since the railings are way too low for it to hold you from falling off the bridge. Second is that you will need to walk against the flow of the cars for you to see if there are vehicles coming your way. Another one is that the bridge shakes like literally it shakes everytime a bus or a big truck passes by and that gets exciting when your at the center part of the bridge.
Apart from that, everything is safe and you can walk the bridge from one side to the other while enjoying a breathtaking view of the nearby mountains and small islands. Most of the people would just stop either coming from Tacloban or from Samar at the center and take pictures but trust me, its way much better if you walk from side to side.
After a long 2.2 kilometer walk, I endulged myself with a not so cold beverage at a nearby sari-sari store at the other side of the bridge in Santa Rita Samar. It was noon when I arrived so i took another 400 meter walk on bamboo pathways to get to my next destination, San Juan by the bay which will give you a nice view of the bridge from afar.
From the main highway, you can just wait for a bus to take you back to Tacloban. Bus fare is around Php 30 to Tacloban City.
Thanks for reading!