Finding Puente de Boac

puente de boac, boac, boac marinduque

I just came from barrio Laylay where I went looking for the ruins of a fabled watchtower. I found it and crossed it out on my itinerary, next was Puente de Boac.

My clothes were damp and muddied from the morning hike. With my soaked clothes (it rained again on my back to the town) I found myself in the Mugallon barrio hall. I asked the staff inside if I could use their bathroom. They’re OK with it, so I took a bath and came out fresh as a daisy.

While drying my hair just outside the building and eating biscuits I was looking at this bridge right in front of me when it struck me that it was the bridge I came to see!

There it was—the historic bridge of Mugallon, Boac!

I came back inside and asked if there’s a way I could go down the tributary so I could take a photo of the bridge. I explained to them that the bridge is reputed to be among the finest Spanish era bridge that’s still in perfect form. Unfortunately, the only way down is through a terrace of a private home at the other end of the bridge.

I asked the Capitana if she could facilitate this but she said the owners of the house would not consent to it at this time. They usually ask for access so they could go down the river to clean it. Whatever the reason was, I decided to just take photos of the bridge from the barrio hall.

Here’s the entry dedicated to Puente de Boac in the book “Puentes de Espana en las Filipinas,” by Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo – Noche (I wonder what this guy’s school ID looked like):

“Situated near the Catholic cemetery of Boac in Barangay Murallon, Puente de Boac is a single arched masonry bridge that spans one of the numerous tributaries of the Boac river. The bridge has been modified during the 1930’s, resulting in its road deck, particularly its supporting parapet wall, being finished in a row of concrete balusters. Only upon close inspection of the bridge can its Spanish period origin be evidently seen.

Unfortunately, nothing is mentioned about the bridge aside what little details the construction of the span provides. The bridge is 22.20 meters long with a 4.00 meter wide central arch. The semi-circular arch rises 2.70 meters above the creek and another 1.80 meters to the road deck. The width of the bridge is 6.50 meters with 0.30 meters, additional on both ends for the baluster railing.

The most interesting feature of Puente de Boac are probably its visible voussoir that line the other edge of the bridge’s arch. Compared to other bridges whose arch appears integrated with the overall masonry construction of the bridge, there is a distinct defining of the voussoirs in this bridge as opposed to the spandrel and abutment walls that line its edge. This definition show the distinct process of arch-making and the various elements that make up a sign, with the voussoirs showing the arch’s main structural framework and the spandrels and abutment providing filling and support.”

According to the tourism officer that I met in the province’s capitol, under the bridge are ladder steps that appears to have been used in the past when people traveled the tributary by boat. I’m not sure if the river was navigable before because it is shallow now and it was raining all morning. But I would not be surprised if cascos used to navigate it either.

I observed people pass by Puente de Boac from the barrio hall and wondered if they’re aware that beneath the smooth pavement is a Spanish era bridge. It is believed to be one, and there’s not a lot of them left, of the bridges from that epoch that’s still in excellent condition.

I hope no one from DPWH ever finds out about this bridge.

The barricades (or are these the original baluster?) and concrete were additions made in the 30’s when the bridge was expanded. The original road is where the vegetation, mostly ferns, grows. Above it is cement which what was used to increase its level.

Here’s a better shot. The arch and romanesque form still in fine state. This has to be one of the best extant example of Spanish period bridges. Form and artistic value was considered in making these types of bridges, this defers from the Americans who prioritized function and economy.

Thanks to the barangay chairwoman, the capitana, of Mugallon for the warm accommodation. I later found out that she’s the cousin of that tourism officer I spoke with in the provincial capitol. How rude I am to have forgotten these wonderful peoples names.


One response to “Finding Puente de Boac

  • Anonymous

    Thank you very much for featuring our beloved hometown. Let me correct that name of the barangay where you found puente de boac is murallon not mugallon. For your information I came from that barangay. Thank you

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