Decaying San Sebastian church: What’s being done?

The San Sebastian Basilica interior

Paint conservator Christine Leggio will give an update on the restoration of the 121-year-old San Sebastian Basilica in Manila in a presentation organized by Bakas Pilipinas. The talk will be held on October 17th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Office of Superstructures’13th Floor at 32 Avenue of the Americas (one block south of Canal Street).

The historic landmark with a Gothic-style architecture has been in a state of decay for years, according to the Bakas Pilipinas website. Built in 1891, San Sebastian Basilica is the only all-metal church in the country and one of a few in Asia. The structure has gathered rust, and water seepage has contributed to further corrosion. Although the interior is built of metal it was given a paint finish that simulates the look of stone. Leggio will provide an update and new research and what is being done to halt the church’s deteriorating condition.

“The church interior was painted by notable Filipino artists of the period,” said Roz Li, president of Bakas Pilipinas. “Corroding metal threatens the future of the trompe l’oeil interior finishes.”

Bakás Pilipinas is a U.S.-based organization dedicated to ensuring the preservation of historic architecture and sites in the Philippines for future generations. “Bakás” in Pilipino means “evidence” or “trace.” Its members include architects, conservators, architectural historians, artists, photographers, planners and many others.

The presentation will include an update on the investigation phase of the restoration project. Tickets are $25. Student tickets are $10. A large part of the ticket amount is a tax-deductible contribution. Bakas Pilipinas is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. Ticket proceeds will fund a research project to determine how the restoration project
may be of benefit to the community surrounding the Basilica. Please send checks to Bakas Pilipinas, Inc. and mail by October 10th to:

Bakas Pilipinas
PO Box 2706
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008

Email for additional information.

The metal interior shows rusting condition and water seepage. Photos: Bakas Pilipinas

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: