Conservation of the 19th-Century San Sebastian Basilica in Manila

Program Theme: Cultural/Historic Buildings and Sites

Program Year: 2011

Awarding Agency: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program)

Partner: San Sebastian Basilica Conservation & Development Foundation, Inc.            

Amount: US$96,789

Status: Completed

Project Summary: The Project involved the documentation and diagnosis of deteriorative conditions of the only all-steel building in the Philippines, San Sebastian Basilica, Manila. Primarily visual in nature but supplemented by materials testing, the work was conducted by a team of architectural conservators, architects, structural engineers, corrosion scientists, and the basilica’s maintenance men in accordance with internationally accepted scientific conservation principles. The team assessed conditions not only of the visually accessible areas of the roof, structural systems and building envelope but also surfaces that have never before been assessed, such as interiors of column and cavity walls. This work became the team’s foundation from which to develop future treatments and repairs.

Citation: The San Sebastian Basilica is listed as a National Cultural Treasure in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Properties, and has been identified by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as an Endangered Site.