I’ve passed by this park many times but never really thought about stopping to walk through it…until recently. Located in the center of Agana, the San Antonio Bridge is directly across the street from the beach. Unlike most of Guam’s parks and historical sites, this park has minimal litter and is in relatively good condition. I thought it was really cool to be able to see such an old landmark from when the Spanish landed in Guam. According to the plaque describing the bridge’s history, it was constructed by the Spanish in 1800 to cross the Hagatna River. The bridge survived WWII and was moved when the river was diverted.
In addition to the bridge there’s a mermaid statue next to it that represents one of Guam’s many legends. The story of the Sirena (Mermaid) is that she was once a young girl who loved to be near or in the water. One day her mother was looking for her but couldn’t find her. The mother knew that the daughter was down by the river and in a usual motherly way, she cursed her daughter and said she might as well be a fish. Not knowing that her curse had come true, the mother never saw her daughter again because the daughter turned into a half girl half fish creature. Some people have said that they have seen her in the river.
After visiting the San Antonio Bridge and seeing all the pretty tropical flowers and learning a little more about Guam’s history, I walked to the park next to the large cathedral. The Plaza de España has many histories to it. First the Spanish built structures and after WWII, when the Americans took over, much of it was destroyed. Only a few structures are left. As you can see in the pictures there is a small white structure with the typical Spanish red roof. This was known as the Chocolate House, which is where the Spanish would have their afternoon cup of hot chocolate. Within this structure were two Spanish plaques that I couldn’t believe were just left out in the open! I was both in awe and disappointed with the park. It always makes me sad when historical things are forgotten and left to rot. I can see so much potential in this park if only it was better taken care of. I just hope that someone steps up and tries to salvage what’s left of this magnificent park before it’s too late!
This is a nice place to visit in the late afternoon-evening because it can be very hot outside and you might get to catch the sun setting across the ocean. Both parks are within walking distance of each other and provide a lot of good information regarding Guam’s history. A Must See!