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Manila: Basilica of San Sebastian

Located at Plaza del Carmen in Quiapo, Manila, Basilica of San Sebastian is known as the only all-steel church or basilica in Asia and is claimed to be as the only prefabricated steel church in the world.
Basilica of San Sebastian 
The Basilica of San Sebastian is better known as San Sebastian Church or Basilica Minore de San Sebastian. It is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Church facade
 National Historical Landmark
Church history
The church was constructed on September 11, 1890, and was completed in 1891. The church has a Gothic architectural design. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973 and was also included in the Tentative List of possible designation as a World Heritage Site on 2006.
Church interior (all metal)
beautiful stained windows from Germany
Another stained window
one of the six marble holy water fonts
The prefabricated steel sections were ordered from Societe Anonyme des Enterprises de Travaux Publiques in Brussels and were manufactured in Binche, Belgium. In all, 52 tons of steel sections were transported in eight separate shipments from Belgium to the Philippines. The first of these shipments arrived in 1888. The beautiful stained glass windows were imported from the Henri Oidtmann Company, a German stained glass firm. While the six marble holy water fonts were crafted from the province of Romblon.

The altar
During construction, Belgian engineers supervised the assembly of the church while local artisans assisted in applying the finishing touches of the steel church. It was also believed that Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer behind the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty, was involved in the design and construction of San Sebastian Church. 

Rust and corrosion is evident from the inside
In recent years, the church encountered threats to its structural integrity. Being a steel structure, the church has been beset by rust and corrosion. In 1998, it was placed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund. The church is now maintained by the Recollect community.
My wife and brother pose for the cam
During our annual Visita Iglesia, we made sure that we add the Basilica of San Sebastian to our itinerary since our trip would be around Manila. 

A closer look at the church altar
Once we reached the church grounds, the towering facade of the church and its unique beauty gave me an idea for my next blog. Since I have been to numerous historical churches, it would be great to produce a Top 10 List of the churches that I have visited. By the time you're reading this blog, I have probably created a draft of it. See you on my next blog!

Getting there:
Once you're in Manila, board a jeepney with the Lawton-Taft signboard. Board down near the city hall and walk towards SM Manila. There is a jeep terminal that has jeepneys going to Legarda. Board one and it will drop you off right in front of the church.

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