Sunday, May 11, 2014

A CHURCH OF STEEL: BASILICA OF SAN SEBASTIAN, MANILA


Expressions of love fill the air of one afternoon in Manila.  Wedding vows as the church bells ring from time to time became a music to everyone's ears.  As I arrived at the church vicinity, a newly-wed couple had their picture taken at the church facade as passers-by smile and greet them, and on the same instance, a couple exchanges their wedding vows before the altar.

This Gothic inspired architectural landmark in Manila has been the constant choice of most wedding ceremonies in Manila.  The Basilica of San Sebastian, Manila is the only all-steel church in Asia and claimed as the only prefabricated steel church in the world.



The imposing twin spires of the Basilica is what makes the church visible even at varied vantage points in the City of Manila.  The grandeur of the church is truly remarkable, even more enhanced by the classy chandeliers that surrounds the interiors of the church.


The San Sebastian Church was included in the tentative list for possible designation as a World Heritage Site and designated by the Philippine government in 1973 as a National Historical Landmark.


While Palacios completed the actual design of the church, there are records which revealed that Gustave Eiffel designed the metal structure of the church.  A known historian Ambeth Ocampo confirmed while doing research in Paris that there is indeed a connection between Gustave Eiffel and the San Sebastian church. While others claim the same to be a myth and lacking of records, once inside the church and scrutinizing every detail of the church interiors, one can be lead to believe that Gustave Eiffel must have had a hand in the architectural design of the basilica.  His famed works like the Eiffel tower is indeed comparable to the majestic and intricate design of the only church steel in Asia, the Basilica of San Sebastian.




The San Sebastian church is located at Plaza del Carmen at the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Street, in Quiapo, Manila.

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