Cebu and Bohol are apart from Boracay and Manila maybe the most valuable assets for the tourism industry in the Philippines.
Cebu has the second biggest international airport in the country and is a great hub for island-hopping, entertainment options or simply coming back to Civilization after having successfully toured the surrounding islands or provinces. Bohol is an interesting island which features beautiful nature, wildlife and friendly people.
So far, it was only possible to get from one of these islands to the other via ferry services, which takes anything from 2-4 hours, depending on weather conditions. But hear me out, what seems to be in store for the near future:
Bridges or underpasses have long been the fantasies for visionaries in all past centuries. Just remember the underpass the Napoleon wanted to build through the English Channel to invade Great Britain.
Since back then, many impressive structures have been build around the world to overcome distances between islands or even continents. Also the English Channel had finally seen a 50.5 km long tunnel through which cars and trains can go, making the slow and weather-dependent trip via ferries almost obsolete.
In the Philippines there are currently not only rumors but newspaper articles circulating, that point to a similar plan to connect Cebu and Bohol islands even better, which might come true earlier than most people think.
For Cebu that would mean easier access to Bohol’s interesting features, better power supply for Bohol from Cebu’s abundance of coal power plants and even the introduction of modern telecommunications like fiberoptics for Bohol. Bohol could deliver water for Cebu. Tourism would benefit massively, as would the faster and more reliable transport of goods and other services between the 2 provinces.
Probably also more industry would find its way to Bohol – which is of course a double-edged sword – as especially the north-east corridor of Cebu City doesn’t have any room for expansion anymore and daily traffic congestion and pollution are already an accepted situation.
The project is dubbed “Bohol-Cebu Multi-Access Friendship Bridge” and was a brainchild of Bohol’s former governor.
The project now seems already in advanced planning stages, with feasibilities studies done as far back as 2008 by a Korean Company. Now even the funding seems to be close to 100% secured with the Korea Export-Import Bank (Economic Development Cooperation Fund, EDCF), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a group of Chinese Investors and the International Bridge Construction Company of California being interested in financing the project. As it looks now, the Philippine government would have to cough up not even a single Peso to get the project going under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.
So far it seems, the only delay for a construction start within the next 2-3 years could come from politics. The initial project was originally endorsed already in 2009, but delayed due to the economical and financial crisis and – you guessed it – politics. In a country riddled by corruption, those kind of mega projects can mean the difference of being a poor joker or a millionaire for a local politician. Currently the ball is with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to give the final ‘Go ahead!’.
The bridge’s end points or anchors would be Cordova on Cebu Island and Getafe in Bohol, not far from the capitol Tagbilaran, spanning a total distance of 17.5 kilometers across the Olango and Hilotongan Channels with some small islets, shoals and shallow seawaters in between. That is already a cut-down version from the original planning of a bridge with more than 90 kilometers in length. Other sources talk about a total length of 40 kilometers due to feeder and highway access connectors.
Still, this bridge would by no means be a small feat, as the currently longest bridge in the Philippines, the arch or ‘s’-shaped San Juanico bridge between the islands of Samar and Leyte across the San Juanico Straight is ‘only’ 2.16 kms long.
I drove over this island in 2009, on my Tricycle trip around the Philippines and it’s really one of the most beautifully designed bridges in the Philippines.
A new bridge between Cebu and Bohol with a length of anything between 17.5-40 kilometers would automatically be in the Top 30 of the longest bridges in the world, following this list of longest bridges. The world’s 3 longest bridges are currently all in China, with the winner – the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge, High-Speed Railway bridge from Beijing–Shanghai spanning a length of almost 165 kilometers!
It seems, the Philippines Government doesn’t even want to stop with building just this one ‘Super Bridge’, as there are even talks of building one more from Cebu to Negros, the largest island in the West and just another from Ilo-ilo on Panay Island to Negros via Guimaras, the Mango Island of the Philippines. Okay, those last 2 are only early plans yet, but for economic development let’s hope those plans work out in the end.
What do you think?
Will a bridge between Cebu and Bohol improve or destroy Bohol’s fragile tourism infrastructure?
or save article to your Facebook with 1 simple click: