If you’re coming from Iloilo to visit the UNESCO World Heritage church of Miagao, there’s a strange-looking stone structure on the left of the National Highway, near the bend at Bgy.Guibongan. It’s actually a bridge. Many folks tend to call it a Spanish bridge. Correction please. It’s a Filipino bridge, specifically an Ilonggo-made bridge. Art historically-correct terms for it can be: “a Spanish-colonial period bridge”/ a stone bridge from the Spanish (colonial) period/ a Spanish-era (stone) bridge/ a heritage bridge/ an old stone bridge.”
The Spaniards did not build that bridge. Nor did they build those churches, convents, cemeteries, schools, houses, town halls. Those structures were built by our forefathers, by Filipinos. Thus, it is very inaccurate to label them as Spanish. Moreover, Spanish architecture has a style of its own. We did borrow certain features from Spanish and Mexican architecture (because the initiators of these building projects were usually the friars);however, our environmental conditions and our local cultural idioms transformed them into truly Philippine architectural pieces.
Going back to Taytay Boni: Iloilo’s best preserved Spanish- colonial stone bridge. Taytay of course means bridge. Why Boni? Short for Bonifacio Neular, the lead guy who built this bridge in 1854. That makes it 157 years old now. Wow!
Several bridges in Bohol have been given recognition by the National Museum. But mind you, our Taytay Boni is many times more beautiful I believe.
Draw a straight line from either end of Taytay Boni and that’s your colonial highway. Can you imagine yourself crossing this bridge on foot and walk all the way to Arevalo or the Punta (Iloilo City)? That was nothing unusual in the 19th century. Back then, people did a lot of walking.