Standing Steel


Right in the heart of Manila, the Basilica Minore de San Sebastián commonly known as San Sebastian Church, the first and only all-steel church or basilica in Asia inaugurated on August 15, 1891. The 121-year-old church is located in the district of Quiapo, at Plaza del Cármen, at the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Avenue, west of Legarda Street and surrounded by old buildings and houses.

From LRT 2, inside the train, as it runs by, you simply can’t ignore it’s charm from a vantage.

Obviously, San Sebastian Church has a significantly unique style from other Roman Catholic Churches around Metro Manila, or in the Philippines. The Neo-Gothic Style for the church was done in 1883. The church was prefabricated in Belgium. It was shipped backed to the Philippines in six ships. It is said to weigh close to 50,000 tons. The church’s stained-glass windows were done in France.

 

GUSTAVE EIFFEL’S CONTRIBUTION

 

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, best known for his world famous Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 in Paris, France and and the steel structure within the Statue of Liberty in 1886, did the metal works for the first all-iron church in the world, the first iron edifice in Asia and the second in the world after Eiffle Tower.

Not known to many, not even apparently to the Recollect fathers who are its caretakers that the church was the handiwork of the famous builder. It was confirmed by Mr. Ambeth Ocampo, a historian. Eiffel had not designed the whole building but did design its metal structure, If you take a walk inside you can see Eiffel’s signature design.

 

Don Genaro Palacios, the Director of Public Works for the Spanish Insular government, the architect who recommended a new church be built of steel. The original wood building was burned down in 1651 and the following brick structures were destroyed by fires and earthquakes in 1859, 1863, and 1800. Within the church’s apple-green and white façade, flanked by massive spires, San Sebastian’s interior is faux-finished to simulate jasper and marble. Iconography painted by the Academy of Lorenzo Rocha, adorn its walls.

 

ENDANGERED TREASURE

In 1973, the San Sebastián Church is a declared National Historical Landmark per Presidential Decree No. 260. However, due to it’s location, the sea breeze from Manila Bay conveyed and rusting away San Sebastian Church, a major threat to its structural integrity. It was included in the Watch List of World Monuments Fund in 1998 and 2010 World’s Most Endangered Sites.

In May 2010, in New York, a fundraising event for the project and for the establishment of Bakás Pilipinas. In July 2011, the project received a $96,000 award from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation of the U.S. Department of …

A Piece Of Africa


In Madagascar Movie, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo escaped from New York City  to Madagascar and to Africa (Also, now into Europe) we also had an escapade of our own into a small island in Northern Palawan, called Calauit. One of the Calamian Group of Islands and a wildlife sanctuary created by the Philippine government.

In August 1976, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Calauit as a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary in response to an appeal by the International Union of Conservation of Nature for Kenya to help African animals be saved from civil strife.

The imported animals include 20 giraffes, dozens of zebra and antelopes. President Marcos ordered the locals to move other places and then he ordered to clear the bamboo forests to make the place similar to the savannahs of Kenya.

CALAUIT ISLAND TODAY

Today, the African animals still roaming around the island and the number of animals is roughly the same as the original number. What adds to the mystery is that it was all done without fanfare and with little public knowledge until the People’s Power revolution toppled the Marcos oligarchy in 1986.

The island is being promoted to tourists, where the animals and their habitation provide a glimpse of Africa in a remarkable tropical setting.

Calauit Island… Coron is really worth a visit!“ KrisAquino said via Webstagram. Her Calauit adventure was featured on show, KrisTV last March 9,2012.

All of the existing African wildlife are Philippine-born.

The best time to be in Calauit would be 7am-9am and around 4pm, because the animals are hiding if it’s too hot.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

You can reach the Calauit Island by air. There are daily flights offered by Cebu Pacific, AirphilExpress andZestAir from Manila to Busuanga (Francisco B. Reyes Airport). Travel time is 45 minutes.

So, we flew from Manila to Busuanga and from Busuanga Airport, we took a van to Coron town for an hour (P150.00/person 2012 rate).

When we got to Coron Town, we arranged our Calauit Trip for the following day. We stayed in Luis Bay Travellers Lodge, a newly built home-and-stress-free ambience located on Coron Boulevard. We took all the rest we can get as a preparation for the BIG DAY!

There are two ways on how to get to Calauit Safari Park. First, is a 3-hour travel by land and a 15-minute boat ride to the island. Second, is a 3 to 4-hour boat ride from Coron town straight to the park.

24th of February 2012, we woke-up early, Call Time was 4:00AM, We left Coron by boat at around 4:40AM. We were 11 in the group, including the 3 boatmen. We arrived in the island …