San Sebastian: More than just a pretty church

San Sebastian Church is so beautiful that it’s always included in the lists of the most picture-perfect churches in the Philippines. It’s also been a favorite among soon-to-weds. For me, though, it’s more than just a pretty structure. It always reminds me of my mother.

It was her who first told me about this basilica. While on a jeepney bound for Quiapo one afternoon in 1997, she called my attention to its light-blue spires, the only parts of the basilica that could be seen from where we were. According to her, they belonged to that spectacular church called San Sebastian. She even bragged about it being an architectural gem.

From then on, I’d always check out the basilica in textbooks, marveling at its architecture. When I finally learned to commute alone, I always delighted to see its spires from the LRT, which I had also loved taking.

However, during the time my mother and I weren’t talking, I suddenly had a different perception of the basilica. The sight of its spires would often make me feel uneasy. No wonder, all plans to visit it were put on hold.

Good thing, though, we were already okay when my friend told me about the tour. Finally ready for it, I immediately said yes to my friend’s invitation. I even agreed to write about it and the initiatives focused on its restoration.

The tour was truly memorable. Apart from being a dream come true for me, it allowed me to see some parts of the church that weren’t usually accessible to churchgoers. In fact, we climbed one of the belfries of the basilica, from which we could see one of its spires up-close. I also learned a lot about its history.

Of course, that experience meant a lot to me, not only as a fan of beautiful churches but also as a daughter of my mother. The said experience moved me so much that it inspired me to write an essay about the San Sebastian Church and Mama.

Actually, it was one of the essays that I submitted to UST for their national writers workshop. And, guess what? I got in.


To learn more about San Sebastian Church and its restoration, check out my When In Manila article here.

Published by Mina Deocareza

Writer from the Philippines

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