Guess Where The Philippines’ Longest Bridge Is?
History is written by the victors, not the victims—this story will try to rewrite that. On 27th April 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish-funded Portuguese explorer and his contingent, on a mission to circumnavigate the earth, wanted to invade the island of Cebu (Central Philippines). They were bravely opposed and fought by the native Filipinos (they were not called Filipinos yet at that time) led by Lapulapu. The native Filipinos courageously defeated the invading European forces, killing Magellan and some of his men, causing his remaining contingent to move away. Lapulapu then became the Philippine’s first national hero. The irony is that Philippine history books depict Magellan as the person who discovered the Philippines. Truth is: he was lost in the Pacific Ocean trying to find a place to stay and was discovered and killed by Lapulapu in this historic place of Mactan.
Fast forward 501 years to 2022, on this historic island of Mactan, an infrastructure history was built: the Philippines’ longest bridge called The Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), an 8.9-kilometer toll bridge expressway in Metro Cebu. The bridge connects the South Road Properties in Cebu City in mainland Cebu Island and the town of Cordova on the historic Mactan island.
It is the longest sea-crossing and cable-stayed bridge in the Philippines, surpassing the Imelda Marcos-built 2-kilometer San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte, as well as the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, which also crosses the Mactan Channel. It also surpassed the 5-kilometer Candaba Viaduct of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connecting Pampanga and Bulacan. This bridge was inaugurated by then-Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on April 27, 2022, coinciding with the 501st anniversary of the Battle of Mactan. It is the first expressway and toll road in the Philippines outside of Luzon.
This bridge will hasten the flow of commerce, trade and commuters between Metro Cebu (Philippines’ second largest metropolis) and the tourism-driven Mactan Island, where the most beautiful international airport in the Philippines, the Cebu International Airport, and over twenty 5-star resort hotels and hundreds of other tourist venues are located.
It took the country’s leading tollways construction firm, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, 6 years to complete this P19-billion bridge, which started in 2016 but was delayed by the 2-year Covid pandemic. Underneath portions of this bridge is one of the country’s largest mangrove propagation and ecotourism development projects. This historic infrastructure now stands as a picture of environmental harmony and human ingenuity creating a vibrant lifeline between touristic Mactan Island and the economic capital of Central Philippines-Cebu Island.