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The Minor Basilica of San Sebastian, or widely known as the San Sebastian Basilica, is named among the National Historical Landmarks, and National Cultural Treasures in the country. Its unique façade is mainly inspired by Gothic revival architecture. It is also known as the only church in the country that is made up of steel.
In the year 1621, Bernardo Castillo, a wealthy devotee of the Roman Martyr Saint Sebastian, donated the land where the church is currently constructed. The first church structure was destroyed in fire during a Chinese Filipino Uprising in 1651.
Eventually, the church was reconstructed but fire and earthquake in 1859, 1863 and 1880 once again debunked its resilience. But those series of unfortunate events did not stop Father Esteban Martinez from rebuilding the church, which is why in the 1880s, he went to a Spanish Architect Genaro Palacios and suggested his plan to rebuild a church that is resilient and indestructible from any natural calamities. Palacios came up with a structural plan that is almost entirely made up of steel with a design that is inspired by Neo Gothic Style. The earthquake baroque architecture was originally patterned from the famous Burgos Cathedral in Spain.
For over for centuries since the church was built, the San Sebastian Basilica has proven its timeless beauty with its gothic inspired architectural design. As you enter the church, you will see its majestic foundations: its pillars, ceilings and antique chandeliers. The church carries a unique identity. Its intricately fabricated metal designs, customized tiles, and stained-glass windows and ceiling paintings can be considered as a horizon of varieties of cultures. The San Sebastian Basilica was recognized as one of the country’s significant structures even at the time of its construction. With intricate beauty, the San Sebastian Basilica serves as both a cultural site and a place for devotion, a place that you will surely wouldn’t want to miss.