The first three bridges that spanned across the Pasig River were the Puente Grande, Puente de Colgante and Puente de Ayala.
Built in 1632, The Puente Grande was the first bridge across Pasig River. It was built to connect Intramuros and Binondo. The bridge was renovated several times after its stone foundations were heavily damaged by earthquakes. It was renamed Puente de España after the earthquake of 1863. Today, the bridge is known as the Jones Bridge.
Pre-war Jones Bridge was stylish with three flattened arches and much ornamentation. A masterpiece of Juan Arellano, the bridge was completed in 1922. Paolo Alcazaren describes, “the piers of the bridge were festooned with statuary of mermen on dolphins. The bridge balustrades were ornately molded in pre-cast faux stone and lighting was generously provided from electric globes on eleborate cast-iron poles… large plinths marked the foot of the structure at both ends. The four rusticated plinths bore allegorical sculptures in classical compositions.”
The Juan Arellano-designed bridge was heavilty damaged during the Liberation for Manila. The bridge was rebuilt in spartan steel and concrete. None of the statuary of mermen on dolphin and allegorical sculptures are present in today’s Jones Bridge.
Puente de Colgante
The construction of the Puente Colgante was completed in 1852. The bridge linked the district of Arroceros (the area surrounding the Metropolitan Theater and Manila City Hall) to the Quinta Market in Quiapo. Probably the first toll-way, authorities charged a toll fee for both pedestrians and vehicles.
The name colgante came form the root word colgar which in Spanish means to suspend. As the name suggest, Puente Colgante was the first suspension bridge to be built in the country. It is known today as the Quezon Bridge.
Puente de Ayala
Named after a prominent Creole family, the Puente de Ayala was opened to traffic in 1880. It connected the San Miguel district to Malate and Ermita.
The bridge also served Isla de Convalescencia, the island in the Pasig River where the orphanage of Hospicio de San Jose is located.
Information sources: Pasig: River of Life