The Renovated Jones Bridge at Night | Manila

My not-so-fond memories of passing through Jones Bridge was always associated with grinding traffic, that I never appreciated the bridge’s neo-classical design by architect Juan M. Arellano, nor the three arches resting on the two piers. First constructed in 1920 spanning the Pasig River to connect  Binondo district to Padre Burgos Avenue in Ermita, the bridge has undergone numerous reconstruction. The most tedious of them all was in the aftermath of the Liberation of Manila during the tail end of WWII. Another restoration was done in 1998 but still, the bridge remained an afterthought to most pedestrians. It was only in 2019 when Manila Mayor Isko Moreno injected 20 Million pesos for a redevelopment of the Jones Bridge.

Sky Gavin

The outcome became a hit on social media as the former darkly-lit bridge became a picture teeming of 50's film-noir vibe—thanks to the beaux-arts-styled lamp posts installed on both sides of the bridge. Apart from a new paint job and the lamp posts, there were also other fine details added—or were returned—to the revamped look Jones Bridge.

La Madre Filipina Sculptures

Originally, the Jones Bridge had four statues positioned on the four plinths of the bridge standing as the 'guard of the bridge", These sculptures were called La Madre Filipina. Each statue symbolizes the journey of the Philippines from a US colony to gaining independence. Of the original four statues, one was destroyed during WWII and the other three were relocated to save them from the ruins of the war.

Desa Tayting
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The statues were called Gratitude, Democracy, Progress and Justice. Democracy was the one destroyed during the war and was replicated during the 2019 redevelopment of the Jones Bridge. Gratitude, which was transferred to Rizal Park following World War II, was returned to its original location in 2019.

Valian Urag

The other two La Madre Filipinas are still at the location where they were transferred. The Justice and Progress statues can be seen guarding the entrance of the Court of Appeals. There were plans for these two statues to be returned to bridge soon.

Neo-Classical Bridge with a Touch of Beaux-Arts

The man tasked to lead the make-over the Jones Bridge was Jose Acuzar, the owner of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. As a controversial figure among the heritage circle (because of his method of uprooting old and historic houses from their original locations and transferring it to Las Casas), Acuzar designed the beaux-arts lamp posts that now adorn the both sides of the Jones Bridge. 

Ariadne Jolejole

Not only it illuminated the bridge and waving off all prior fears of walking over it at night, it also gave the bridge a cinematic appearance that proved to be a hit on social media.

Inconspicuous no more

For the younger generation, the Jones Bridge’s significance may have been lost due to several factors such as the toxic hurried lifestyle in the city. How many of us who pass by this bridge in the past never for a moment took a second look at it? It took a high-profile redevelopment project before we noticed it again: it’s history, architecture and symbolism.

Audrey Trinidad

As the night unfolded past dinner time, I still saw scores of people taking pictures on the bridge. Some motorists even stopped their cars in the middle, so they could get off and snap some images. As I walked to the other end in search of a good perspective to frame a photograph, I marveled at the other details of the bridge. The dolphin structures, its arching shape and even the reflection of it over the murky waters of the Pasig River.

Joni Lopez

It was like a scene straight from a cinematographer’ dream. Even the Post Office Building provides a perfect background to the captivating new look of the Jones Bridge. How I wish we could preserve more historical structures in Manila, so more people will not only be enticed to capture it for postings on their social media accounts but also to study the many historical anecdotes that are ingrained to each heritage edifices.

Hannah Villasis