Touted as the longest bridge in Mindanao with a length of 907 meters, the Diosdado Macapagal Bridge is one of the top tourist attractions in Butuan City with its raw and elegant design. Similar to the previously-featured Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge in Cebu, the Diosdado Macapagal Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge except that it has a single tower instead of Fernan Bridge’s pair. I’m also guessing that Diosdado Macapagal Bridge is also the tallest bridge in Mindanao, if not the whole country.
Before Diosdado Macapagal Bridge was built, the mighty Agusan River was only crossed by one bridge in Butuan: Magsaysay Bridge. This old bridge, located about 3 kilometers downstream from Macapagal Bridge, connected the city center of Butuan on the west bank with the eastern portion of the city and is a major link between the cities of Surigao and Cagayan de Oro, and between Butuan and Davao. As you can imagine, Magsaysay Bridge is a transportation bottleneck in northeastern Mindanao and so the need for a second bridge and a route the bypasses the city core was proposed in the late 1990s.
Construction for the new bridge and an attached diversion road started in 2004 with financial assistance from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and was completed and inaugurated in May 2007 at a cost of 2.195 billion pesos.
The bridge was originally given a temporary name of 2nd Magsaysay Bridge but political allies of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo proposed to name the bridge after Arroyo’s father, over the objections of a vocal segment of the city’s residents that wanted the bridge to be named “Butuan Bridge” in honor of the city’s rich history. On March 19, 2010, President Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 10051 into law which conferred to the bridge the official name of “Pres. Diosdado P. Macapagal Bridge”.
Nowadays, residents simply call the bridge “Newbridge”.