Northern Mindanao

Excitement builds as Mindanao’s longest sea-crossing bridge nears completion

Franck Dick Rosete

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Excitement builds as Mindanao’s longest sea-crossing bridge nears completion

BIRD’S EYEVIEW. The aerial view of the nearly finished 3.17-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge, connecting Tubod in Lanao del Norte to Tangub City in Misamis Occidental.

Screengrab from Lanao del Norte capitol’s video

The 3.17-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge will soon be the longest water-spanning bridge on the country's second largest island this year, but will be surpassed by the 3.98-kilometer Samal Island-Davao City Connector

LANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – A teacher in Sultan Naga Dimaporo town, Lanao del Norte, is eagerly anticipating the opening of the Panguil Bay Bridge before year-end. Set to become Mindanao’s longest sea-crossing bridge, it will substantially cut down her travel time to Tangub City in Misamis Occidental.

The 3.17-kilometer bridge will soon be the longest water-spanning bridge on the country’s second largest island starting this year. However, it would be surpassed by the 3.98-kilometer Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC).

Sajarah Mae Roxas Elian, a grade school teacher at Sultan Ali Dimaporo Memorial Integrated School, often travels to Tangub to visit her grandmother, relatives, and for business. She described the tiring journey from her province, which requires three separate rides.

When traveling, she takes a bus from Barangay Maranding in Lala town to Mukas Port in Kolambugan town for a barge trip to Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental. From there, she boards another bus to Tangub City, a journey that takes at least three hours including waiting times at ports and terminals.

With the completion of the Panguil Bay Bridge, Elian anticipates reaching Tangub in less than an hour, allowing her more time with her loved ones.

“Ang travel time mas ma-reduce gyud sya. You just imagine, ang three hours nga biyahe nako sauna, pinaka mubo nana ha, karon if mahuman na ang bridge mahimo na siyang pinakadugay 30 minutes,” Elian told Rappler in an interview.

(The travel time will really be reduced. Just imagine, my three-hour journey before, that was the shortest, but once the bridge is completed, it could be as short as 30 minutes.)

Motorists from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan also said it would be faster to reach Misamis Occidental via the Panguil Bay Bridge than waiting for a barge trip at Mukas Port.

The bridge, which is approximately 90% complete as of May according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), will reduce travel time from Tubod in Lanao del Norte to Tangub City in Misamis Occidental to just seven minutes, compared to the current two and a half hours via barge or over 100 kilometers of land travel.

Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza Dimaporo announced during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Thursday, July 4, that the bridge construction is expected to be completed by the end of August, based on consultations with the project contractor and DPWH Northern Mindanao.

However, Dimaporo clarified that the 3.17-kilometer bridge will only be opened to the public after its inauguration ceremony, scheduled for September.

“With the bridge’s opening, we anticipate new opportunities for faster travel and improved access to different areas, fostering rapid economic growth and boosting tourism,” said Dimaporo, who chairs the Regional Development Council of Northern Mindanao.

Currently, workers are focusing on installing railings, asphalt overlay, electricity, and access roads on the bridge.

The Panguil Bay Bridge, whose civil works began in 2020, is listed as one of the infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program of former president Rodrigo Duterte, which has continued under the Marcos Jr. administration.

However, the loan agreement for the project between the government and the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEXIM-EDCF) was secured on April 28, 2016, during the presidency of the late former president Benigno Aquino III.

The elementary school teacher hopes that the bridge will be open for vehicular traffic this year.

“Nganong excited ko ma open? Because kato atong mga negosyante mapadali ang pag-delivery sa ilang mga produkto sa duha ka probinsya. Dayon maka-attract pud ni og more investors and ma-open pud ang tourism development ani,” Elian said.

(Why am I excited to see its opening? It’s because it would hasten the delivery of the products of our business sector. It would also attract more investors and open up opportunities for tourism development.) – Rappler.com

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