Few places in Cebu compete with the activity that goes on atop the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge. Many cars, bikes and motorcycles fill the lanes to rush to their desired destinations. Since 1999, this marvel of engineering and architecture has made travelling from Mactan island and back much easier. The cool breeze paired with the city’s scenic view is enough to make this a great road trip spot whether on foot or inside a car.
This 1,237m structure, along with the first Mactan-Mandaue bridge across from it, is the only way for locals from Lapu Lapu City to go to the neighboring towns in Metro Cebu onland and vice versa. Tourists will be very familiar with this cable-stayed bridge as they travel to check in their hotels, or when they go to the airport to go home.
HISTORY OF THE MARCELO B. FERNAN BRIDGE
It was first made in order to lessen the traffic of the first bridge, and was named after Former Senator Marcelo Briones Fernan, one of the only Cebuanos to hold a Senate President position in the Philippine government. As a Cebuano landmark, it’s almost if not just as popular as the Magellan’s Cross or the Basilica del Sto. Niño.
There are four lanes for vehicles, while bikers and hikers can use the sides to cross it. The high altitude helps you feel the cool air, or grab a snapshot of the city. You might get the chance to see the sun set when you have a short hike or bike ride with your friends. It may not be the best place to unwind in Cebu because of all the cars, but the air will still bring a soothing sensation.
Being that this is the only way to get in and out of Mactan on land, chances are you will be passing this bridge to and from your hotel. Rush hour is particularly buzzing with many workers and students rushing to get to their workplaces and campuses. Others are travellers looking to visit some of Lapu Lapu’s biggest tourist attractions like their historic resorts or their guitar making industry.
There are multiple things happening around this bridge however. One is the busy highway where all the cars pile up, the sides where locals travel on foot, and the quiet little nature park under it.
The Millenium Park, sometimes called the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge Park can be found right below the Mactan side of the bridge. This seaside hangout spot is a perfect spot for physical activities, sightseeing or taking some time for yourself. Though it is further away from more popular hangout spots, there isn’t an entrance fee, making this one of the fun and cheap things to do in Cebu.
Whatever time you plan to go, always prepare for the heat or rain. If you are a fan of architecture photography, you will love taking photos of the bridge from below, or the graffiti sprayed around the park. The space is also ideal for a light workout. There are also some huts for those who just want to chat or relax with your friends, or some benches to have a seat in front of the ocean.
There are also a few food stalls and karaoke houses along the way there, and there are also some courts for those sports enthusiasts looking to sweat out all the calories.
While a great place to hang out, it isn’t the nearest to get to. There is also no parking area so you might have a problem finding a spot for your private vehicle. The location may also make it hard for public vehicles to bring you there, but luckily it’s only a few meters away from the highway, so expect a short walk to get there.
If you are looking for tourist spots to visit nearby, you can go to Cebu’s biggest waterpark, Waterworld in Mandaue City. Before you enter the bridge, you will see the waterpark on the right side of the road. On the Lapu Lapu side, there is the Cebu Yacht Club, which will allow you to have a fancy cruise passing by the Mactan Channel.
The Marcelo B. Fernan bridge is a classic structure that is Cebuano through and through. It may be one of the busiest places around, but it is also home to one of the most relaxing, photogenic and budget friendly parks out there. This bridge is definitely one of the most marvelous man-made attractions in Cebu not only because of its structure, but also its importance to the locals and travellers alike.