Cagayan de Oro Misamis Oriental

The bridges of Cagayan de Oro City

By on March 30, 2011
CW from top left: Kauswagan-Puntod Bridge, the Maharlika Bridge, the Gov. Ysalina Bridge, the Kagay-an Bridge and the Emmanuel Pelaez Bridge.

Cagayan de Oro City in Southern Philippines has now five bridges: the Kauswagan-Puntod Bridge, the Maharlika Bridge (formerly known as Marcos Bridge), the Gov. Ysalina Bridge (formerly known as Carmen Bridge), the Kagay-an Bridge and the Emmanuel Pelaez Bridge. I was unable to get an aerial photo of the latter because the plane I was riding on took a route that could not provide an unobstructed view of the said bridge.

I grew up with just the Marcos and the Carmen bridge. The other three are fairly recent additions to address the increasing traffic flow in the city. Although most of the infrastructure development can be found at the eastern side, it would just be a matter of time before the western portion would be buzzing with malls and high-rise buildings. This is due to fact that Cagayan de Oro City serves as a convenient gateway and an important trading hub of Northern Mindanao.

The oldest among the five is the Gov. Ysalina Bridge. But this was not the city’s first bridge. A suspension bridge was constructed under Governor Zanon’s orders back in the 1800s. It collapsed during its christening when the residents and the dignitaries present rushed towards the structure. The live load was apparently not considered in its design. It was then reconstructed and improved but also gave in to the great flood of 1902. During World War II, a bridge built by the Americans was intentionally destroyed by the same to immobilize the Japanese troops.

bridges - old bridge

Aside from old bridges getting destroyed or washed up, there are also new ones that are hounded with controversies. Perhaps the most famous of which is the Emmanuel Pelaez Bridge which connects Taguanao and Pueblo de Oro. Its construction was questioned because it apparently hit a significant portion of the Huluga open site. Previous archaeological excavations have yielded artifacts, metal tools at the site which suggest that the area could very well be the site of Cagayan de Oro’s predecessors.

A recent study conducted by the University of the Philippines and the National Museum, however concluded that Huluga could only be a habitation site or a temporary camp. I just learned about this in my recent conversation with Mrs. Agnes Roa from the City Museum of Cagayan de Oro. The findings of that group show that the site in question lack the minimum requirements such as portholes, berths and middens for it to be declared as a permanent settlement. She added that they would be holding seminars on the topic not only to address the controversy but also to better educate the public this year.

bridges - old cdo

This was Cagayan de Oro City before as imagined by a local artist. This painting can also be found at the Museo de Oro at Xavier University.

Whether it was built with or without strong engineering design, met with or without controversy, all these bridges serve as silent witnesses to Cagayan de oro City’s history and development. These would enable the city to flourish further in the present.

But for ordinary joes like me, the bridges are important because the other alternative for those who want to get to the other side of the Cagayan de Oro River is to swim or to ride rafts across it. I wouldn’t mind the latter but if you do that on a daily basis, it becomes a boring and tiring chore. Thankfully indeed, these structures are already in place for as long as I could remember.

  1. Reply

    Lino Juan

    May 4, 2011

    Thanks for posting this but Cagayan de Oro City had more than five bridges many, many years ago as the city has many rivers & creeks running through its territory (i.e. in Bulua-Iponan, Gusa-Cugman, Cugman-Baloy, Tablon-Agusan, Bugo-Tagoloan, Ugyaban-Talakag and Baungon (Bukidnon). What you are referring to as having five bridges must be the CAGAYAN RIVER in the area of the city proper. Two other bridges in the Cagayan River are already very old – those in Ugiagan and Baungon. And further upstream in the mountains, the Cagayan River which traverses the mountains of Talakag also has a number of bridges.

  2. Reply

    Lino Juan

    May 4, 2011

    Cagayan de Oro City had more than 5 bridges for many, many years! The city has more than one river, too (that in Iponan, also in the boundaries of Gusa-Cugman, Cugman-Baloy, Umalag-Tablon, Tablon-Agusan and Bugo-Tagoloan). You must be referring to the number of bridges of the CAGAYAN RIVER (not the whole of Cagayan de Oro City) but still there are two other bridges of the Cagayan River within Cagayan de Oro which you failed to mention: that in the Cagayan-Baungon and Cagayan-Talakag boundaries which span the CAGAYAN RIVER and are within Cagayan de Oro City. Even the portions of the Cagayan River in the mountains of and within the municipality of Talakag have bridges.

  3. Reply


    May 4, 2011

    Hi Lino Juan, welcome to Baktin Corporation!

    I actually meant the 5 existing bridges over the Cagayan de Oro River. But I must admit that this blog entry's title should be changed to avoid further confusion. Thank you also for pointing out the two bridges that I missed.

  4. Reply

    Lino Juan

    May 5, 2011

    Sir, I didn't realize I made a double post. I initially thought my 1st comment didn't get through so I made a second comment. My apologies for that and no offense meant really. But I do like your blog esp. the photos showing the historical markers and I do hope you have a clearer copy of those aerial shots of the bridges. Thanks for your reply.

  5. Reply


    May 5, 2011

    Hey Lino, I did not take your double post personally. 🙂

    I am looking at Cagayan de Oro City from another perspective in this series. There's not much written about these bridges and historical markers so any feedback/correction in that regard, is greatly appreciated.

  6. Reply

    Kriza @ cagayan de Oro Philippines

    June 1, 2011

    I really thought Cagayan de Oro have 6 bridges. Oh well, thanks for the information though. I better double check it! ^_^

  7. Reply


    November 14, 2015

    Just an update, we have another bridge in Cagayan de Oro it's located in Burgos st, it connects to Carmen. It's smaller compared to others but it's really helpful to ease the traffic flow.


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

Best of Cebu Blog Awards Best of Cebu Blog Awards
    Best Food Blog
    Best Creative Writing in a Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

    Finalist, Best Food Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

    Grand Winner, Visit Davao Tuloy ang Byahe Experience Blogging Competition.
    Winner, 2013 TLC Asia’s The Layover contest
Book your next travels here: