10 ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects in Western Visayas 



Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

When I was still in elementary, my father Manuel and mother Elnora, would tell me about the San Juanico Bridge, a 2.16-km bridge connecting the island provinces of Samar and Leyte. Whenever we went home to Iloilo, I’d often wonder why we had to take boats or airplanes to travel to nearby Negros Occidental. There were not many bridges at that time.

The 2.1 km San Juanico Bridge, which was built in 1969, is still the longest bridge fifty years after. The Build, Build, Build team has worked since 2016 on a masterplan — the Mega Bridge Project — a series of short and long-span bridges linking island provinces to eventually connect Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao via land travel.

Rumors have circulated that the 32 km Panay Guimaras Negros Project has been shelved. Is this true? No. Has there been challenges? Yes. After all, the inter-island bridge is 15x the length of San Juanico Bridge.

Panay Guimaras Negros Bridge

Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge was never meant to be fully constructed within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. What we aimed from the beginning is a blueprint that would turn this dream into a reality.

Has the work on the project continued since 2016? Yes. In fact, the feasibility study which was completed in November 2019 was evaluated and approved by the Investment Coordination Committee and the NEDA Board for possible financing through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Detailed Engineering Design Cost Appraisal, which was initiated by Korea Eximbank  and completed in March 24, 2021, is now with NEDA.

If there was one thing I could attest from one Ilonggo to another — Mark Villar and the DPWH team worked hard to ensure this project doesn’t end up as lip service. Prior to his term, this project is not even on the table.

Today, we’ll explore 10 big ticket projects in Western Visayas — a region composed of five provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Since 2016, DPWH has completed a total of 1,984 km of roads, 435 bridges, 461 flood mitigation structures and 11,264 classrooms in Region 6 or Western Visayas.

  1. Iloilo River Esplanade
The 8.25 km Iloilo River Esplanade is a tide embankment project aimed to control sedimentation and erosion along riverbanks while providing much needed urban green space in the metro.
  1. Boracay Circumferential Road
BORACAY CIRCUMFERENTIAL ROAD – Before the six-month closure, coliform bacteria in Bolabog reached as high as one million most probable number (MPN) per 100 ml.

Heading to the best beach in the world? Walk, cycle, or ride through the newly widened 21.64 kilometers Boracay Circumferential Road. The new road has reduced travel time from Cagban Port or Tambisaan Port to Ilig-Iligan Beach by about 40 to 45 minutes.

  1. Panay East West Highway 
The 41 km Panay East West Highway will compliment the existing routes of the Strong Republic National Highway leading to Culasi Port in Ajuy in Iloilo. It traverses along existing national secondary road linking the Iloilo towns of Calinog, Passi, Lemery, Sara and Concepcion towards Culasi in Ajuy, thereby complimenting the Panay East-West Lateral Highway. It starts from Brgy Ilaures in Bugasong in Antique and ends at Valderrama in Antique and Lambunao in Iloilo.
  1. Iloilo Bypass Road
The 14.3 km Iloilo Radial Road 1 Bypass Road is an alternate route starting at C-1 Avenue and ends at Tigbauan - Cordova - Leon Junction Road.
  1. Aganan Bridge
AGANAN BRIDGE – The Aganan Bridge in Iloilo is one of 435 bridges completed in the Panay Island.

The Aganan Bridge will reduce travel time from the Municipality of Maasin to the Municipalities of Alimodian, San Miguel and the Southern part of Iloilo Province by about 15 minutes.

  1. Antique Esplanade 
ANTIQUE ESPLANADE – The Antique Esplanade controls sedimentation and erosion along the Antique River in San Jose de Buenavista.

Heading to Antique? Catch the sunset from the Antique Esplanade located in the coastline of barangays Comon and San Pedro in San Jose de Buenavista.

  1. Tumagbok Bridge 
The Tumagbok Bridge along Iloilo - Antique Road will ease traffic mobility to 5,807 motorists per day and provide better access along the main thoroughfare connecting the provinces of Iloilo and Antique.
  1. Kalibo Bridge in Aklan
KALIBO BRIDGE – Heading to Aklan? Drive thru the Kalibo Bridge along the Kalibo Circumferential Road.

Attending the Ati-atihan Festival? Explore the 770 meter Kalibo Bridge connecting Kalibo City and Caticlan. This is part of the 15.81 Kalibo Circumferential Road which will provide an alternate route from Aklan West Road and a direct link to Kalibo Airport.

  1. Bacolod Negros Occidental Economic Highway
The 49 kilometer Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway, which is now at 41%, will  reduce travel time from Victorias City to Bacolod-Silay Airport by 40 minutes.
  1. Negros Connector
The 33 km Candoni - Gatuslao - Basay Road will connect the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. It will link the municipalities of Candoni and Hinoba-an in Negros Occidental to the municipalities of Basay in Negros Oriental.