The scenic Old Quirino Bridge, also called Banaoang Bridge, is an old Parker-type (camelback) bridge named after the late former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, who hails from Vigan. Spread across the Abra River, it majestically connects the two beautiful, transcending rocky mountain slopes of the town of Santa and the tail end of Bantay, both in Ilocos Sur.
Considered as one of the country’s most beautiful bridges, this arch bridge, next to the Vigan Gap, is considered an iconic symbol of Ilocos Sur. Aside from its magnificent views, it is also widely praised for its marvelous engineering and grand architectural design. The approach to the bridge is as scenic as the bridge itself.
At the height of Super Typhoon Feria (which devastated the province from July 4-6, 2001), one of its steel spans was damaged and washed away. The old, 4-span bridge was reconstructed, with a different third quarter K-truss portion, and is still presently passable. However, on December 2007, Chinese engineers and a local construction company started to build a new, 456 m.-long replacement, a stone’s throw (350 m.) from the original bridge.
The new Quirino Bridge is a component of the Japan-funded Urgent Bridges Construction Project for Rural Development which plans to replace old bridges with new bridges, on national roads that lead to urban centers all over the country. On December 30, 2009, it was officially opened by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The old truss type bridge, currently preserved as a tourist attraction, doubles up as a backup in case the new main bridge is damaged by typhoons.
Old Quirino Bridge: Vigan Gap, Bantay, Ilocos Sur