The controversial Polo Bridge in Tanjay was projected to be finished by end of April this year but from what I saw when I was there this week, it seems that the scope of work to be done will take more than a month to complete. Much more so because the temporary bridge that the engineers built was recently damaged so some of the workers on the new bridge had to be pulled out so they could attend to the urgent need to repair the temporary bridge.
The temporary bridge was made of cocolumber and some planks gave way under the very heavy weight of six- and ten-wheeler trucks fully loaded with sugar cane coming from all over the province en route to the Central Azucarrera de Bais for milling. The damaged bridge had become a major highway choke-point so a team of traffic aides, police, as well as rifle-toting military men had to come and put some order into the traffic chaos created by the semi-collapsed bridge.
Here are some links to news and blog accounts of the Polo Bridge Damage:
Negros Chronicle: Polo Bridge 16M and long overdue
Negros Chronicle: Polo Bridge Collapsed?
ABS-CBN: Bridge portion collapses in Negros Oriental
Stop over by Senses
Bad travel experience by Vir Antonio
A worker saws away part of the temporary bridge that gave way under the strain of big and heavy sugarcane-laden trucks crossing unrelentingly. There was a sign that said that trucks weighing 15 tons and above should not cross the temporary bridge. I wonder how many truck drivers followed this.
They're putting in the new coconut trunk as people (commuters, kargadors, drivers, usiseros) watch expectantly.
With the bridge closed to all types of vehicles, travelers eager to get home crossed the bridge on foot, lugging their precious bitbits.
If Dunkin Donuts is the pasalubong ng bayan in the lowlands, the de rigueur pasalubong in the hinterlands is a big rectangular can (called taro) full of assorted biscuits. No self-respecting taga-baryo will ever go home without bringing at least one colorful can of Rebisco or La Pacita for it is a sure sign that one had been to the big city, naka-tugbong, found gainful employment probably, and thus can now afford to splurge on the luxury of a taro-full of biscuits.
Even the young boys helped along. How many kids below ten can carry such a sack as this? With as much grace and nary a complaint?
But there were things just too heavy for even the most determined women and the most willing young boys. The muscled kargadors got busy transporting the big pieces of luggage across the bridge to the other end where all sorts of transportation awaited the sweaty and weary travelers.
Oki, Oki. Kargado na. Larga!
While all these activities were going on around and on the bridge, there was a lot of inaction, too, particularly among the dozens of six- and ten-wheelers parked mostly along the southside of the bridge. Some of them had been stranded there for two days already, their trucks not moving an inch.
So what's a guy to do when there's nothing to do?
Taking a leisurely swing on the hammock, while lunch was simmering. All under the shade of the good old tubo truck.