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Friday, February 4, 2022

Urban Legend Surrounding The San Juanico Bridge

Built during the late President Ferdinand Marcos' administration, the San Juanico Bridge is also dubbed as the Marcos Bridge. The bridge stretches from Samar to Leyte across the narrowest strait in the Philippines, the San Juanico Strait. It was a gift of love given to her First lady at that time who is now the Ilocos Norte Representative, Imelda Marcos, a native of the Leyte province.

San Juanico Bridge Urban Legend
San Juanico Bridge is a four-year project that costs $21,000,000 approximately PHP 140,000,000 unadjusted for inflation. It is a collaborative project made by the Philippine National Construction Corporation and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The bridge shows an initial letter L and S that symbolizes the initial of the two provinces connected by the bridge. Looking at the aerial or the bird's-eye view, the shape of the initial letter L is can be seen in the part near Leyte while the letter S initial is on the part going to Samar.

On November 2013, the strongest typhoon of that year, typhoon Yolanda devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. Amidst being near the bridge on the most damaged province, Tacloban City, Leyte, San Juanico Bridge only experience mild damage that soon repaired and reopened in just a month. In 2002, a PHP 25 million damage was recorded after a barge rammed into a concrete foundation of the bridge. But these occurrences will never be enough to bring down the 51-year-old bridge. Because of the unbelievably strong attribute of the bridge, it arouses rumors that soon become the urban legends of the region.

Here are the three most famous stories that explain the sturdy nature of the bridge:

San Juanico Bridge Urban Legend
Image: Attractour
It is said that the bloodless bodies of children and babies were put together with the cement in the mixer by the construction workers. This belief was aroused due to the unsolved cases of numerous missing children living near the site. The cement mixed with the young bodies will be used and become officially part of the San Juanico Bridge.

"Padugo" or blood-spilling is a tradition performed since the peak of deities and 'anitos' beliefs. It is a belief performed that the blood spilled on the site will strengthen the foundation of the structure being built. Usually, the blood of animals was used for this tradition. But others believed that human blood will be more effective in larger construction projects such as bridges and skyscrapers.

The woman and the river fairy. Last but not the least, but the most controversial urban legend ever told that is connected to San Juanico Bridge is the story of a woman and the river fairy. This legend starts when a high lady-official was told by a fortune-teller that the bridge will nit stand for a long period of time it is not poured by blood. But the required blood is never ordinary. Instead of animal blood, it must come from children and babies.

San Juanico Bridge Urban Legend
Image: Amino Apps
Due to the woman's eagerness to make the bridge strong and sturdy, she ordered her workers to kidnap children and spill their blood to the entire bridge. The river fairy got mad and cursed the lady. Soon her legs grew scales and emitted a foul and fishy smell. Since then the lady did not dare to wear anything except long skirts. Urban legends will forever remain a legend, hence proven. People still believe that these stories were only used to scare children.

Written by Yna Marie Barcia, IFY Books

"A person who always want to familiarize herself to any skill that seems to be amusing and a student dreaming to learn more".

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