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Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!

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    San Sebastian Church: Manila's Unique All-Steel Church and Gustav Eiffel

    So much has been posted and written on this unique structure, so many cameras clicked their shutters to capture the beauty that is San Sebastian Church, officially called Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, one of the Philippines' minor basilicas but many of them still doubt one thing: that the structure shares something in common with the famous tower in Paris as well the precursor of Ayala Bridge.

    san sebastian churchthe magnificent gothic facade of San Sebastian Church

    the lit up altar with a wedding taking place. It's such a popular wedding venue

    the dark interiors,taken without a tripod and a canon kitlens. The huge columns and interiors were made to look like marble but actually made of steel to make the structure resistant to earthquakes
    Stained glass windows were made by Germans

    Gothic look of the adjacent building part of Baste, colloquial term of students of the College of San Sebastian

    trompe l'oeilceiling paintings done using trompe l'oeil technique to make them look 3-dimensional similar to the ceiling paintings of San Agustin Church in Intramuros

    even the confessionals sported the Gothic look but designed by Filipinos

    San Sebastian was elevated to the status of a minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII in 1890.

    On the claim of Gustave Eiffel link, according to noted scholar and pop historian Ambeth Ocampo, San Sebastian Church was "bought from the Eiffel company. the handful of bridges--like the ayala bridge--built at the tail end of the Spanish period, were called "puente Eiffel." In Eiffels' list of work there is mention of an all steel-church in Manila...what else is that but San Sebastian?"

    There you go, friends, who still insist there's no link between Eiffel and San Sebastian Church.

    The basilica is a declared National Historical Landmark and tentatively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its heritage and historic value.

    Basilica Minore de San Sebastian-- commissioned by the Spaniards, structure designed by a French, constructed by Belgians, stained glass windows by Germans, interiors by Filipinos--a heritage landmark in the Philippines!


    Pope Leo XIII was also the pope during much of Jose Rizal's time and had no hand in Rizal's retraction and later death

    You may refer to Tutubi's post on Grand Bridges of Pasig River for Philippine history link with the famous builder of world-renowned Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

    How to get to San Sebastian Church, Quiapo, Manila

    Commute: MRT Shaw Blvd Station or Pasig Shaw Blvd, Quiapo-bound jeepneys pass by Legarda, cross Recto and Mendiola. Drop off on the first road after Recto i.e. San Rafael from where the Basilica can be seen with its spire towering over Plaza del Carmen.

    From LRT Doroteo Jose Station, board a jeep bound for Sta Mesa on C.M. Recto. Alight before reaching Mendiola then walk towards Ayala Bridge then turn right on San Rafael St.

    From Quiapo, Jeeps bound for San Miguel, Pasig, Bacood, Punta, Cubao (via Sta. Mesa) all pass near the place. Be careful with Lealtad and Balic-balic-bound jeeps. Not all of them pass Plaza del Carmen, only those with Bustillos signboards do.

    By Car: from Makati, make your way to Ayala Bridge drive past P. Casal then make a left turn at the corner of San Rafael St (the church's spire is too visible not to be seen)

    By Car from Quezon City, the easiest route is via C3 then Ramon Magsaysay heading to Nagtahan. Take J.P. Laurel St instead of Legarda to avoid usual heavy traffic, at the fork, choose right Concepcion Aguila then right turn to Mendiola, left to Legarda then right San Rafael St.

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by GingGoy @ 8:08 PM,


    At Jan 8, 2008, 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    San Sebastian is also the model of the Cathedral of Puerto Princesa. Of a much smaller scale though.

    At Jan 9, 2008, 5:51:00 AM, Blogger carlotta1924 said...

    did you try to go up the bell tower?

    At Jan 10, 2008, 2:32:00 PM, Blogger Oman said...

    That Church wass so memorable to me because it provided solace when I was stressed out. I took my law review class in Baste in 2006 and I happen to pass that Church at the back of Baste almost everyday. Thank you for posting this. It brought back very good memories.

    At Jan 10, 2008, 9:45:00 PM, Blogger GingGoy said...

    estan, yepI saw the puerto princesa cathedral and noticed the similarity :P

    carlotta, nope. ferdz and I only met there, took a few pictures and left for san miguel...

    lawstude, aha,so Baste is it for youlikemany students there use it as a term of endearment

    At Jan 11, 2008, 1:34:00 AM, Blogger Gypsy said...

    Wow, this can obviously rival the many old churches I see here in England! Very majestic!

    PS. Happy New Year, 22bi!! ;)

    At Jan 11, 2008, 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Sidney said...

    Happy New Year! I wish you all the best for 2008!

    My favorite church in the Philippines. Given that it was build by Belgians I have no other choice... ;-)

    I am happy you got your facts right. Ever since Ambeth Ocampo claimed it was designed by Eiffel everybody seems to believe this hoax.

    At Jan 11, 2008, 11:10:00 PM, Blogger GingGoy said...

    gypsy,i would love to those cathedrals there in the UK

    sidney, been communicating with ambeth these days.and oh, i just wish the builders coated the church with belgian choco :P


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