Urban Legend: The Bloody Secret of the Longest Bridge in the Philippines

Have you ever wondered why the San Juanico Bridge has stood the test of time?

The San Juanico Bridge is said to be the longest bridge in the Philippines. The bridge is also known as a symbol of love by Waraynons which connects the sister islands of Samar and Leyte. It is a gift of Ferdinand Marcos, former President of the Philippines, to his spouse Imelda who is a native of Leyte Province.

The 4-year construction of San Juanico Bridge started in 1969 and costs $21.9 million.

San Juanico Bridge; photo by Dustin Mijares

But did you know that there’s a story about what the secret mixture in its foundation is? An urban legend or not, the story how the San Juanico Bridge was built will make you shiver.


The Urban Legend

Imelda Marcos was in-charge in building the bridge. During its construction, many children coincidentally disappeared in Samar and Leyte. The vanishing of children only stopped after the bridge was completely finished.

There are many versions of the story but one thing in common– it all involves children.

Strong Foundation and Blood of Babies

The foundations of the bridge were made stronger by mixing the blood of babies and street children. The ritual was performed to strengthen the structure.

The Cement Mixer

Just like the first story instead of just mixing the blood, the bodies of children were added inside the cement mixer by construction workers while preparing the cement to be used.

But the more popular version is about…

The Woman and The River Fairy

It was said that the woman in-charged to oversee the building of the bridge, consulted a fortune teller. It was believed that the bridge will never be completed unless blood of children is mixed in its foundation. Believing the fortune teller, the workers were ordered to kidnap street children and slit their throats, splattering the blood on the bridge’s site. The bodies of the children were just then thrown away in the river. It was all seen by the “river fairy.” Feeling troubled and was greatly affected of the children’s fate, the river fairy cursed the woman. The legs of the woman grew scales and emit a foul fishy smell— this is why she always wears long skirts and gowns to hide her legs and frequently takes a bath to remove the smell.


San Juanico Bridge; photo by Dustin Mijares

These are just among the versions of the San Juanico Bridge construction. True or not, the bridge has stood the test of time. It has stand witness to different events, happy or sad, of Samar and Leyte. The bridge was even operational during and after the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) last November 2013. It remains tough and sturdy despite the damages it acquired.

READ: 10 Reasons to Choose Tacloban: The Gateway of Eastern Visayas (Its Beauty After the Storm + More)

The San Juanico Bridge is the main route for Waraynons in the Leyte and Samar provinces to connect with their relatives and love ones. The bridge connects Tacloban City on the Leyte side and the town of Santa Rita on the Samar side.

How to Get There

The San Juanico Bridge is just about 10 minutes away from Tacloban City.

From Manila, you can easily fly to “The Gateway to Eastern Visayas,” Tacloban, as all major airlines service the city. (Estimated cost: Php 2,700++, round trip, 1 hour and 15 minutes).

By ferry, it will take approximately 36 hours. And it will take almost a day if by bus.

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