Exploring The San Sebastian Church Of Manila

The moment I found out that Casa Consulado is just few blocks away from the San Sebastian Church, I made sure that I will visit this church before the day ends. I actually visited the church right after the first half of the lecture series (I was accompanied by Axl Guinto) but little did I know, part of our lecture series is a quick tour to San Sebastian church!IMG_0563wtAs far as the architecture is concerned, San Sebastian Church is truly special as it is the only  all-steel edifice in the country since its inauguration in 1891 and is the only prefabricated steel church in the world. It was even once nominated as a possible destination as a World Heritage site in 2006.IMG_0562tThis is also my first time to witness a Gothic inspired church and I was truly left is such great awe! The first church was actually made from wood established on a land donated by Bernardino Castillo, a San Sebastian devotee. The church however was burned during the Chinese invasion in 1651. The succeeding structure were made of stone and bricks but they were utterly destroyed by fire and earthquakes. So to prevent any more destruction, a parish priest approached a Spanish architect to build a church that is fire and earthquake resistant! The Architect Genaro Palacios completed an all steel design that fused Earthquake Baroque with the Neo-Gothic style, a design that is merely inspired from Burgos Cathedral of Spain. 
20160814_125212_Richtone(HDR)ttThe church’s breathtaking interior!  Even though the church is entirely made of steel, it is actually built without the use of welding but through fastened  rivets and bolts! Seven different countries actually collaborated for its construction and the church was assembled parts by parts (the pre-assembled parts are shipped and transported by 9 steamships in Manila).
20160814_125457_Richtone(HDR)rtThe main altar enshrines the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the first ever image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the given by Carmelite sisters from Mexico City in 1617. 20160814_125638tThe panoramic view of the main altar and the sanctuaries

IMG_0573tAlthough the church is made out of steel, the interiors were painted to look like they are made of stones. It was done by the students of Academia de Pintura, Dibujo y Grabado, a premier art school in the country.
IMG_0567tAn Intricately decorated pulpitIMG_0569wtSan Sebastian Church was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1973 by President Marcos. The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines on August 15, 2011, with unveiling of the marker on January 20, 2012.IMG_0565tA historical marker outside the church. You can see the rust leaks from the marker! In fact, San Sebastian Church has encountered threats to its structural integrity. The steel structure has been beset by rust and corrosion due to sea breezes from nearby Manila Bay. It was even included in biennial watchlist of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund in 1998. Decorated ceiling near the main door.

The San Sebastian Church Photo Exhibit

The images above were taken during our lunch break from Sulyap sa Quiapo Lecture Series but after the Baybayin workshop, we are grateful to be invited to join a quick tour to San Sebastian photo exhibit. The weather, however, is not really cooperating with us. We were all welcomed by strong winds and by the time we arrived in the church, the tornado passed by. You might have heard that from the news but God is so good that no one was hurt among us. Too bad, however, the power ran out so we had to explore the exhibit with limited visibility LOL.
IMG_0605ttThe first thin that you will noticed is this image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel enclosed in glass. I actually thought that it is the original image but I just learned that they called this the "Festajada." It is also the same image being displayed and shown during the "Dungaw" or "La Mirata" in the translacion of the Black Nazarene.IMG_0614tThe scaled replica of San Sebastian ChurchIMG_0615tThe image of San Sebastian.IMG_0618tSketches made my Architect Jesz "Bimbo" VergaraIMG_0623tSan Sebastian Basilica Final Conditions Assessment ReportIMG_0624tRoof Condition Plan IMG_0626tThe church just celebrated its 125th founding anniversary and there are plans to restore it back to its glory so the church could last longer.

Check out the rest of my Sulyap Sa Quiapo Entries
Exploring Casa Consulado
The Sulyap Sa Quiapo Lecture Series
The Basics of Baybayin By Mr Reimon Cosare
Exploring The San Sebastian Church Of Manila


3 thoughts on “Exploring The San Sebastian Church Of Manila

  • September 2, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Love this post. It’s good that you make this church visit a part of your itinerary. I haven’t been here so I guess I should schedule a trip here too! God bless you! 🙂

  • September 4, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I think I’ve been at this church 4yrs ago when I attended a friend’s wedding. I love the church’s photos in this post, for I remembered how enchanting it is when I first saw it. Thank you for including a short historical background, very informative. Good read! 🙂

  • September 6, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve been to this church a number of times. I love the structure of this church. It’s beautiful. We usually include it in our Visita Iglesias when we do it in Manila.


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