ILOILO CITY: The Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office here is opening up the tourism capability of the seven bridges in Iloilo City as a major component of the city tour package for tourists.
To be known as the 7 Bridges of Blessings, each city bridge has its own story to tell, including the year it was built and the people involved in setting up the bridges. Iloilo City has a total of 20 bridges with seven bridges crossing the Iloilo River, while the rest cross the Jaro River, Dungon and Calajunan creeks.
A project consultation and brainstorming with local stakeholders was spearheaded by DOT regional director Helen Catalbas on Thursday in a hotel here for stakeholders composed of travel and tour operators, representatives of the private sector, media, city tourism office, environment and natural resources office, local government and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
DOT has identified the seven bridges including the six bridges crossing the Iloilo River as the Jalandoni Bridge built in 2004, Iloilo (diversion) Bridge built in 1982, Muelle Loney (railway) Bridge built in 1995, Forbes Bridge built in 1910, Carpenter Bridge built in 2010 and Quirino Lopez Bridge built in 1967. The Jaro Bridge built in 1982 over the Jaro River is at the Jaro spur road going to Leganes, Iloilo.
Dr. Kristin Treñas, chair of the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, said the Iloilo River is a heritage and historical site. The Forbes Bridge was the main connection to Iloilo City proper used by the forces of revolutionary Gen. Martin Delgado to subdue the Spanish forces.
Formerly made of bamboo poles, the concrete Forbes Bridge was constructed in 1920 and rehabilitated and expanded in 1975. The river used to be the main livelihood area of families living in the upstream going to Molo and Arevalo where fishpens, algae, seashells, shrimps and crustaceans abound.