Butuan's Newbridge (The Macapagal Bridge)


People who are not from Butuan City might wonder and ask: “Why is the Newbridge a place to see?” or “What’s with the bridge?”

Same thing a Butuanon would ask. But the Macapagal bridge, called Newbridge by a lot of people, has became a place for a lot of people to go to, either to breathe fresh air, to kill time with friends, to flirt, or simply to use it as a venue for fun and drinking. And well, a dating place.

The bridge itself could boast a bunch of distinctive features. It is the first and only cable stayed bridge with steel deck and single tower in Mindanao, and its length, height and structure exude nothing but an unmistakable and undeniable aura of majesty and grandeur. Its regal stature is magnified multiple times when you get out of the car and walk by its railings, where from below, its H-tower would seem to reach out to the heavens like a pleading devotee.

There too one could experience a chilling sense of spirituality as one realizes his smallness in the scheme of things. Under such giant, or enormity, one could not help but feel a fleeting sense of humility and vulnerability, right in the middle of elements.

There too, one could have the moment to contemplate the philosophical drama and enigma of life and living.

On a more reality-based approach, the Newbridge is being touted as the longest bridge in Mindanao, which is a dubious claim. It
serves as an alternate route across the Agusan River to connect Butuan City to Surigao and Agusan del Sur to decongest the ailing Magsaysay bridge. If you are a bridge choking everyday, you would really be ill. The new bridge was being claimed to have a total length of 10.3 kilometers, which somehow supports its “longest-bridge” claim, but any soul who has fleeted over that bridge knows that it is hardly one kilometer. (Where the fudge did that figure come from?)

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved the project and left her tiny fingerprint there identifiable as “Diosdado Macapagal,” a name which the Newbridge now bears.

At the moment, the Newbridge is now serving the function it is envisioned to be and to undertake when it was constructed under a 2.2 billion budget, though with all the questionable projects under President Arroyo, even that figure is now very very doubtful. While there are attempts to hype the idea that it is of a modern and sophisticated design, and of a reliable built, its literally depressing, sinking bridge-approach is refuting that hype. Seriously, something must be done about it before it sinks too low to become a ramp for speeding motorists.

Despite those downside, however, the romantic appeal of Newbridge is undeniable. Its compelling draw to those who have marveled at her simplistic, yet royal and dignified quality only mirrors the regality of Butuan as a Kingdom, and now, as a city.

It is just a bridge, it is true. But for Butuanons, it is not just a bridge. It stands for Butuanons’ aspirations. It stands for Butuanons’ soul.

Location map              

Butuan's Newbridge