San Sebastian Basilica - Manila

Located at Pasaje del Carmen Street, Quiapo in the City of Manila, the San Sebastian Basilica is known as the only all-steel church or basilica in Asia and is claimed to be the only prefabricated steel church in the world.

San Sebastian Basilica

San Sebastian Basilica details

San Sebastian Basilica is also known as 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.

San Sebastian Basilica - Manila

San Sebastian Basilica facade
 San Sebastian Basilica History Marker

San Sebastian Basilica NHI Marker

San Sebastian Basilica was designed by Spanish architect Genaro Palacios. It was constructed on September 11, 1890, and was completed in 1891. The basilica has a Gothic architectural design. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973 and was also included in the Tentative List of possible designation as a World Heritage Site in 2006. 

San Sebastian Basilica Interior

A beautiful stained windows crafted in 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.

Offered a prayer inside San Sebastian Basilica

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 the San Sebastian Basilica

Rust and corrosion is evident from the inside

San Sebastian Basilica altar

In recent years, San Sebastian Basilica encountered threats to its structural integrity. Being a steel structure, the basilica has been beset by rust and corrosion. In 1998, it was placed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund. It is now maintained by the Recollect community.

Team Nicerio visits San Sebastian Basilica

During our 2013 Las Pinas, Pasay, Manila Visita Iglesia, we made sure that we add the San Sebastian Basilica to our itinerary since our trip would be around Manila. 

Once we reached the basilica 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 page containing a 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!


Here's the LINK page containing the list of churches that I have visited so far.

San Sebastian Basilica Entrance Fee

It's FREE to enter San Sebastian Basilica and explore its grounds.

San Sebastian Basilica Mass Schedule

Monday - Saturday: 6AM - 7AM / 7AM - 8AM
Sunday: 6AM - 7AM / 7:30AM - 8:30AM / 9AM - 10AM / 10:30AM - 11:30AM (FB Live) / 3PM - 4PM / 4:30PM - 5:30PM

Why visit San Sebastian Basilica?

San Sebastian Basilica is the very first steel church in the Philippines. This historic basilica is a must-visit when you are on a pilgrimage or Visita Iglesia around Metro Manila

Getting to San Sebastian Basilica:

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.

Overall rating


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