AURORA | Hanging on for Dear Life at Baler’s Tibag-Sabang Bridge

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

After a day of shooting rocks and smashing into enormous waves, we decided to cap our second day in Baler by risking our lives and cross the rickety hanging bridge traversing the Tibag-Sabang River.

Heights really don’t scare me and hanging bridges are supposed to be fun. So I was not worried one bit when our good host, V, told us that we’re gonna cross one; I thought to myself, no problem, piece of cake.

We arrived at a rather remote place in Baler, parked our car, and headed up the concrete steps to our next rendezvous; I gazed up from the stone steps and came into full view of the bridge we’re gonna cross. It is the longest freaking hanging bridge I’d ever seen.

Let me make this clear, this is not gonna be a walk in the park. This bridge is not the fancy ones I’m used to seeing; this one’s made for the local folks for real-life use to cross the span of the river below.

The bridge floats through rusty steel cables usually used as reinforcement bars on concrete construction. More rusty cables hold the floor of the bridge where old wood planks are haphazardly laid down over a thin metal mesh to carry a crosser’s weight.

I asked one of the kids hanging around the area if there had been cases of people falling off the bridge, he told me not to worry as there were only a few he says. Only a few! Holy smokes.

A couple of our friends backed off, totally daunted by this uncute hanging bridge; but I wasn’t about to join them, I will cross this bridge. So we carried on, one careful step at a time.
The first third of the way was quite a challenge, the wind sways the bridge, the floor was barely a foot wide and we were having a hard time holding on to the railings (if you can call it that) since they were too far apart and we had to completely let go, balance ourselves, walk a few steps more before we can again hold on to the comfort of those rusty cables.

It was doubly hard for me as I’m lugging my heavy camera around with me, and snapping a few photos while holding on tightly with my left hand (I was thinking the whole time that I should not fall off or my camera would be destroyed, camera first before everything else haha).

I looked ahead and saw my friends ahead literally crawling on their hands and knees on the walkboards for fear of getting thrown off. The kids watching from the far end must be having a ball laughing at our expense.
I at last reached the middle of the bridge without resorting to crawling. I got to relax a bit as the handholds are closer at this part and I can walk continuously without fear of falling off.

Then came the hardest part; the last third of the way, the cables again began to widen in gap and the wind seemed to grow much stronger. I was having trouble walking as vertigo sets in and the bridge seemed moving leftwards without stopping.

My mind was already playing tricks on me and the only thing that kept me from being eaten up by dizziness was the green land mass ahead of me. I kept trying to focus on it to reverse the effects of vertigo, succeeding for a few seconds and lapsing into it again.
About fifteen feet from the other side of the bridge, I finally gave up. I cannot do this without risking dunking myself and my camera down the waters below. The cables for support were really now too wide apart, and it takes intense concentration to keep off the vertigo that’s now sweeping my brain.

I turned back, to the disappointment of my friends who were now on the other side and well, to my dismay as well.

But ever since I reached my physical limits on a trip up north years ago, I decided that adventurous I may be, I have to know and set my limitations lest those adventures end prematurely. I had reached my limits this time, I know it.

Now I have to face the problem of going back the way I came. Why oh why did I ever put myself in this position. Dang.

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  1. Monkey bridges are fun to cross, only if you dont fall off :)

  2. ahahaha.. "few only"

    tingin pa lang parang nagshe-shake na yung utak ko.. nakakatakot nga ito sobra.

  3. aw, and here i thought you crossed it all the way! looks fun though :D

  4. hindi ko kaya to, takot ako sa hanging bridge.

  5. wow, I remember this one. You were one scaredy cat back then, kuya Macs... hehehe

  6. nakakatawa na nakakainis naman ang experience mo dito. and you're right! ang haba ng hanging bridge na yan...

  7. napanis yung Sevilla hanging bridge dito ah!

    I love the bridge with mother nature sa background!

  8. crossing that bridge must be insane... just looking at your photos, kinakabahan na ako. but i guess, i'll go through with it as well. hmmm, but i'll bring my waterproof / shockproof cam and not my DSLR, just in case. safety first, diba? LOL

  9. @vince:

    the railings were TOO FAR APART! mygash! kalokang bridge!

  10. kung ako yan , kanina pa ako nagsuka , malululula ko kahit hindi masyadong mataas

  11. BUWIS BUHAY!!!!
    Sayang I thought you were able to cross the entire thing. Konti na lang yung 15 feet kesa bumalik pa all the way. Hahahaha!

  12. nakakalula pre. hindi ko cguro kayang tumawid dito...:-). Di ba ito yong may nadisgrasyang mga bata? nag collapse ang bridge.?

  13. love your Aurora posts! and the photos, surreal! i've only been to Baler once and i instantly fell in love with the place. can't wait to go back!

  14. i love jumping up and down on this type of bridge! hahaha...

  15. Ay sayang few steps na lang pala dapat tinuloy mo na para nakarest ka before u go back.

  16. Markyramone
    Haha totally correct

    Batang Lakwatsero
    Feeling ko kayang kaya mo yan Ivan :P

    Haha try mo Romz

    Eto lang talaga di ko kinaya na hanging bridge hehe

    Haha parang ikaw hindi ah, ikaw kaya gumapang nang gumapang jan! haha

    Napuntahan nyo ba yan Jerome?

    Saan yun sir Joni?

    Haha oo nga diba, yung camera ko talaga inaalala ko :P

    Kayang kaya naman daw gapangin ni Vince eh :P

    Haha oa naman

    Nahihilo na kasi talaga ako eh hehe

    Not sure Bonz, pero may mga nahulog na daw jan :O

    Me too, gusto ko rin bumalik :)

    Lakbay Philippines
    Haha I don't think you'd be able to pag nakita mo to in person :P

    Baka mahulog po kasi ako eh :P

  17. Wow! This looks scary and exciting at the same time. I could feel the adrenalin rush. :D

    1. It is scary Pang! I heard that they already put up railings on the bridge now though

  18. Recently went to Baler for the first time and was researching about the hanging bridge when I read this. Wow, there used to be no railings at all? At least when we visited there were a couple of bamboo poles tied to the sides, so at least we had something to cling to. Still the weathered wood, rusted wire and wide open gaps on the bridge were pretty scary. :)

    1. Buti may railings na talaga, ang hirap sobra tawirin nyan! :P

    2. How long ang how wide is the baler hanging bridge?

  19. ang laki na po ng pinagbago ng hanging bridge na yan, mas safe na daanan kaso nakakatakot pa rin:)

    1. That's good to know! Crossing this hanging bridge in Baler really scared the heck out of me haha


    1. Hi Madeline, I also can't seem to find it on the map! I guess you can ask the tricycles around Baler to simply drop you there

  21. How long ang how wide is the baler hanging bridge?

    1. Hi JayR, it is about a meter and a half wide. About it's length, it is very very very long. :D

  22. Nice post, I enjoyed reading it. Haha. Thanks for sharing. :D