FD Jul 2023
𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐧: 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐈𝐥𝐨𝐢𝐥𝐨 𝐑𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫
𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐞 𝐮𝐧 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐨: 𝐏𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐛𝐫𝐞 𝐝𝐞 𝐥𝐚 𝐑í𝐚 𝐝𝐞 𝐈𝐥𝐨𝐢𝐥𝐨
𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟏, 𝟏𝟖𝟕𝟒
Spain established the Inspector General de Obras Publicas (IGOP) in 1866. This public works office approved the plans for the construction of new edifices, roads, bridges and wharfs in Spain and her colonies. The office appointed either civilian or military engineers to supervise the constructions at chosen areas. District offices were also established in far-flung places.
Approved by the District Public Works officer, this illustration, showing details of a bridge section, was created by the local chief engineer based in Iloilo on Auqust 1, 1874. Included in the plan are designs of bridge planks, beams and cross-section foundations.
The bridge was finished in 1875. An illustration of a new bridge over the Iloilo estuary was published in an issue of the magazine, La Ilustracion Española y American in 1875. This likely the envisioned bridge based on the 1874 plan. However, the name of the bridge was not mentioned and it would be good for current historians from Iloilo to look into this matter.
Iloilo, from a marshy fishing settlement to a principal seaport of the region and seat of government of the province, opened its port to international trade in 1855, later becoming the “Queen City” of the south. Nickolas Loney arrived a year later and introduced sugar planting in the island, which began Iloilo’s sugar industry. He then imported sugar mill equipment and opened sugar financing in 1866.
In 1872, during the tenure of Governor Enrique Fajardo (1872-79), two iron and wooden bridges were constructed, one near the capital, then crossing the river, leading to Lapuz, and the other towards Jaro. The local government finally granted permission to local businessmen to build their own wharfs and warehouses in 1874 under specific instructions.
As Iloilo became a prosperous town, residents and traders alike, needed better conveyances. Bridges crossing Iloilo River and roads networks were constructed in neighboring towns to connect to the booming central business section of the town proper. The Iloilo Ayuntamiento (City Hall) was built in 1890. Today, seven major bridges are located in Iloilo City.
References: Blas Sierra de la Calle. Flipinas 1870-1898. Images de La Ilustracion Española y Americana. Valladolid, 1998.
Hernandez, Policarpo F. Iloilo: the most noble city: history and development, 1566-1898. Quezon City, New Day Publishers, 2008.