There are two bridges that span the Mactan Channel between Cebu Island and Mactan Island and connecting the two islands. The first is the First Mandaue-Mactan Bridge and the second is the Second Mandaue-Mactan Bridge or more popularly known as the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. Both bridges have become major landmarks of Cebu and they directly connect Mandaue City in Cebu Island to Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island.
The First Mandaue-Mactan Bridge is a box truss type of bridge that is 846 meters long (2,775 feet) and 9 meters wide (29 feet), and was constructed during the term of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. The bridge was wholly designed and created by Filipino engineers. The construction of the bridge began in 1970 and it was inaugurated in 1972 at a cost of 65 million pesos.
The Mandaue-Mactan Bridge initially had toll booths on both sides of the approaches to the bridge collecting fees from vehicles until the late 1980s when the toll fee collection was stopped. Afterward, the toll booths were demolished and removed.
The Marcelo Fernan Bridge is named after the late Marcelo B. Fernan, a former senator and Chief Justice of the Philippine’s Supreme Court. Construction of the bridge began in 1998 and was inaugurated in August 1999 during the term of former President Joseph Estrada. The bridge has a total length of 1,237 meters (4,058.40 feet) with a center span of 185 meters (606.96 feet).
The bridge is an extra-dosed cable-stayed type of bridge and is one of the widest and longest bridge spans in the Philippines. The bridge was primarily funded from the Japanese Government and was constructed as a symbol of friendship between the Republic of the Philippines and Japan. The bridge has also decongested traffic from the First Mandaue-Mactan Bridge. Underneath the Marcelo Fernan Bridge on the side of Lapu-Lapu City is a mini-park that has benches and some walkways. The mini-park is visited by both local and foreign tourists since they can take pictures and enjoy the sea breeze at the same time while they are in the park.
It is important to note that the two bridges have immensely contributed to the economic development of Cebu. Before the First Mandaue-Mactan Bridge was constructed, the only travel connection between Mactan Island to the mainland was through ferries and boats, which took some time and were subject to the sea conditions of the Mactan Channel.
Both bridges have facilitated the travel of goods and services between Mactan Island and the mainland and greatly contributed to the economic development of Cebu. This is signified by the presence in Mactan Island of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the two export processing facilities of the Mactan Economic Zones 1 and 2, and numerous tourist destinations like hotels and resorts, beaches, bars and restaurants, shopping malls, historical landmarks, and other tourist destinations.