Puente de Malagonlong: The Longest Spanish Bridge in the Philippines
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Tayabas City, Philippines — Puente de Malagonlong or Malagonlong Bridge is a 445 foot-long five-span bridge built in 1841. As described in the National Historical Institute’s Historical marker, Malagonlong was the longest bridge ever made during the Spanish colonial era with approximately 100,000 adobe blocks used.
Considered as one of the most important heritage sites in this city, Malagonlong Bridge is now closed to traffic after the new bridge across Dumacaa river was completed. Among the eleven (11) stone masonry bridges that can be found in Tayabas City, Malogonlong Bridge is said to be one of the oldest and longest stone arched bridge. The bridge was built under the direction of the “Ministro del Pueblo,” Fray Antonio, a Franciscan priest between 1840 to 1850.
The bridge was made by the people of Tayabas through forced labor also known as “Polo” labor. It is estimated that 100, 000 adobe blocks was used to build the bridge. An inscription on the bridge indicates that it was inaugurated in 1850 under the term of Gobernadorcillo Don Julian S. Francisco.
The bridge was not included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites due to the existence of the newly constructed bridge located beside the old bridge. It was declared a National Cultural Treasure under the Historic Bridges of Tayabas on August 12, 2011.
The Malagonlong Bridge crosses the Dumaca River and connects Barangay Mateuna and Lakawan to the eastern side of Tayabas as well as the municipalities of Mauban and Pagbilao.
Tayabas City used to be the cabecera (capital) of then Tayabas Province (now known as Quezon). Founded in 1578, Tayabas City was the Cabecera or capital of Tayabas Province from 1749 to 1946. In 1946, the name of the province was changed from Tayabas to Quezon to honor Manuel Luis Aragon Quezon, the President of the Philippine Commonwealth.
The capital of Quezon was transferred to Lucena which used to be a coastal barangay of Tayabas. Tayabas City, located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw is known for its cool weather, its coconut vodka liquor called lambanog, a sweet cassava cake called Budin and a yearly festivity called Mayohan Festival. It is also known for its huge St. Michael the Archangel Minor Basilica – the longest church in the country.
In 2010, the local government of the municipality of Tayabas declared the eleven historical bridges of Tayabas, including Malagonlong Bridge, a historical bridge for protection purposes. The eleven bridges of Tayabas are:
|Puente de Alitao||Alitao River, Poblacion||1793|
|Puente de Isabel II||Iyam River, Brgy. Baguio||1853|
|Puente de Urbiztondo||Malao-a River, Barangay Malao-a||1854|
|Puente de Don Francisco de Asis||Domoit River, Brgy. Domoit||1854|
|Puente de Bai||Bai Creek, Brgy. Dapdap||n.d|
|Puente de las Despedidas||Malaking Ibiya, Brgy. Lalo||n.d|
|Puente de la Ese||Ibiyang Munti, Brgy. Camaysao||n.d|
|Puente de la Princesa||Ilayang Dumacaa (Upper Dumacaa), Brgy. Matuena||n.d|
|Puente del Malogonlong||Dumacaa River, Brgy Matuena||1850|
|Puente del Lakawan||Lakawan River, Brgy. Lakawan||n.d|
|Puente del Mate||Mate River, Brgy. Mate||n.d|
|Legend: n.d means No date|
How To Get There
Puente de Malagonlong in Tayabas City is a 4-5 hours drive from Manila.
- Take buses bound to Lucena Grand Central Terminal.
- From the Grand Central Terminal, take a jeepney ride to Tayabas.
- From Tayabas City, Malagonlong Bridge is about 15-20 minutes tricycle ride from the City Center.