Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Old Bridges of Romblon, Romblon

Out of all the provinces of Luzon Island Group, Romblon was the last one I was able to visit. Just this year (2016), in the month of August, I finally was able to see it and many of its fine beaches, and rich cultural heritage. 

Puente de Romblon. One of the still existing old bridges in the town.

Being a heritage enthusiast as I am, I was very delighted to discover while researching for our Romblon itinerary that a number of old bridges built during the Spanish and American era are still standing and intact in the small capital town of Romblon. It made me feel too much excitement because I am such a huge fan of old bridges (which prompted me to create a Facebook Group specifically focusing on the said topic, the Old Bridges of the Philippines FB Group).  

The town of Romblon boasts of not one, not two, but 3 Spanish era bridges. Aside from that, it also has 2 American era-bridges. All of these bridges are still standing and being used. They are located in the busy part of the town especially Puente de la Paz, Puente de Romblon, and Puente de Belen which stands parallel to each other, over a single river that course through the center of the town.


PUENTE DE RIO CASALOGAN

Puente de Rio Casalogan
This bridge stands over a small river called Casalogan which is now dry. According to the Philippine Heritage Map, it was built in the 1860's, more than three decades before the Independence of the Philippines was declared. It is in the southern section of Rizal St., Poblacion.  

The deck and parapets of Puente de Rio Casalogan.

PUENTE DE BELEN

Puente de Belen
This bridge is the one closest to the center of the town. It can be found in front of the old as well as new municipal building of Romblon. It is the first of the three bridges that crosses a single river which is now also unfortunately dry. This bridge is also built during the 1860's and can be found along P. Mayor St., Poblacion.

The deck and parapets of Puente de Belen.
One unique characteristic of this bridge is the existence of benches on either side of its deck. The benches are built as part of the bridge's parapet. It is said that those were for "cocheros" who used to bring their horses to the stream below to drink. While their horses are drinking and resting, they would wait for them in the bench.


PUENTE DE ROMBLON

Puente de Romblon
In my own opinion, this bridge is the most beautiful among the 3 Spanish colonial bridges of Romblon. Its parapet is one of a kind, imposing and impactful to anyone who looks at it. It can be found at the middle of Puente de Belen and Puente de la Paz and is located at Bagong Lipunan St., Poblacion. It was also built in the 1860's.

Puente de Romblon's deck and parapet.

PUENTE DE LA PAZ

Deck of Puente de la Paz.
This bridge is one of the 2 American-era bridges of the town. It can be found immediately at the back of the town's wet and dry market, at Fetalvero St., Poblacion. Its exact date of construction is inscribed in its parapet: July 23, 1934. But if one checks the bottom part of the bridge, there is an arch which can be considered a part of an older bridge. There could be a possibility that this bridge was originally a Spanish-era bridge that was just reconstructed in the American period just like what happened in Puente de Tampoy of Malolos. 

Puente de la Paz

PUENTE PROGRESO

Puente Progreso
This bridge can be found at the southern section of Quezon St., Poblacion, parallel to Puente de Rio Casalogan, thus can be said as over the same river as the latter. This bridge is undoubtedly built in the American period because of the absence of the arching deck which is a characteristic of a Spanish era bridge. Its exact date of construction is also inscribed in its parapet: November 27, 1925. 

Parapet of Puente Progreso.
On March 19, 2013, the 3 Spanish Colonial Era bridges (Puentes de Rio Casalogan, Belen and Romblon) was declared as "Important Cultural Properties" by the National Museum of the Philippines, thereby increasing its chances of survival for the years to come (I fervently hope!). 

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