On the quieter and less busy side of Quiapo in Manila stands a church that catches one’s eyes with its mint green facade—the San Sebastian Church or the Basílica Menor de San Sebastián.
Home of the revered Marian image, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel, San Sebastian Church has a rich history behind its beautiful and complex steel structure that dates back to the 1800s. The original church, constructed in 1621, was made of wood. Fire destroyed the church and, subsequently, the other churches built in the same place. According to records, in 1880, a sturdier fire and earthquake resistant church was planned with no less than Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer behind the iconic tower in France, as its designer.
Recognizing both its religious and historical importance, a movement, called the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Inc., has rolled out a 10-year restoration program to preserve the basilica and to engage the public to learn more about the church’s story.