When I was little, I heard my grandmother say that someday, a bridge will traverse the mighty Bicol river connecting the barangays of Balongay (Calabanga) and Barcelonita (town of Cabusao). I didn’t know then the importance and ramifications of her prediction. I brushed aside her comment then.
Later, my uncle had his first motor bike. I took the back seat and off we went to Balongay for that run called breaking-in the machine. It was also the first time ever I had a glimpse of the Bicol river. My young mind never forget that experience since.
Fast forward this year, I visited the rural village again. So far, it is the nth time I had been there. Always, I look forward to finding a bridge connecting our towns so I could for once set foot on the other side of the river bank.
Always, I get that frustrated feeling that maybe, it may not happen on my lifetime. My grandmother’s prediction may never come true.
Then I heard about the skyway bridges that will span the river, connecting the towns of Libmanan and Canaman. The structure will be built much farther inside and farther from Balongay, brushing aside the aspirations of many folks who looked forward to the same that I do.
The loss of Calabanga and Cabusao became the gain of Libmanan and Canaman. Lucky folks of these towns. Apparently, the Japanese firm that did the research and study found and validated that it is much easier to construct the bridge in there. So goodbye, bridge.
The current construction, once completed, will consist of two structures, bridge 1 and 2, both bridges meeting on a small islet geologically formed on the neighborhood of Libmanan-Canaman portion of the river.
Anyway, the infrastructure once operational is expected to shorten the link between the municipalities of Libmanan and Canaman, Camarines Sur and Naga City. Travel time becomes 15 minutes between endpoints.
The bridge has a vital role in economic and social development of the area. Had it been located in Balongay, passenger bus that departs Metro Manila will traverse the bridge and find its destination end point in Naga. What a great boon for small business and commerce in the town. Many and unlimited opportunities will open up. Now, all these gone into thin air before it ever materialized.
Grandmother could have been thinking all along about those opportunities, too. Or perhaps, so that she could simply travel faster and with convenience in visiting relatives in Cabusao and Libmanan.
(This is part 1, to be
(This link leads to part 2: Stepping Into the Real Balongay.