CATBALOGAN, Philippines — There will be no “light show” for a while at the iconic San Juanico Bridge.
Samar information officer Golda Meir Tabao told Rappler that investigation and assessment of safety conditions on the country’s second-longest bridge was on-going as of Monday, February 27.
The temporary postponement of the program, which was created to improve tourist flow in one of the country’s poorest regions, followed an accident on Friday, February 24 when a sports utility vehicle (SUV) rammed the bridge’s sidings.
Tabao said traffic investigators indicate the accident was caused by mechanical failure, and that the light show was not the cause.
“However, the light show will be temporarily suspended to assess the extent of damage, and to ensure everyone’s safety,” she said.
Tabao also cautioned motorists to exercise extra care when passing the bridge.
The police on-duty said the car in the mishap came from Basey town Samar and was heading for Tacloban City when the driver lost control of the steering wheel.
“I hit the brake, yes, but I also lost control of the vehicle. It swerved into the gutter and railings before it turned turtle,” said driver and Barangay Amandayehan council member Richard Malbas in the local Waray language.
He and his two passengers suffered minor bruises and pains. They were brought by rescuers to a nearby Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) for medical attention.
Social media favorite
When President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. inaugurated the Spark San Juanico Aesthetic Lights and Sound in October 2022, it immediately captured social-media attention.
Travelers and tourists have been posting photos and videos of the three big laser beams that move to the rhythm of music,
Motorists crossing the 2.16-kilometers bridge glue their phone cameras on the LED streaks that bathe in colors the bridge’s railings and spans, and the surrounding night sky.
“Selfies are really inevitable on this bridge,” said Laarni, 22, who passes the bridge to and on her way home from work.
Residents of nearby towns track the schedules of the light shows and bring families to the banks to enjoy the banks of the bay to enjoy the sight.
The P80-million light show represents the new facelift of the bridge, 49 years after it opened in July 1973, linking Samar and Leyte in commerce and tourism.
“It is a beacon of hope” for all of Samar, escalating the Spark Samar Development Agenda’s main asset – tourism,” Samar gov. Sharee Ann Tan said during the launch.
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