THROWBACK: Manila's San Sebastian Church

San Sebastian Church is one of the most enthralling churches in the Philippines. Its gothic architecture makes it very noticeable from the rest of the churches in Manila. The fact that it is also the only metal church in the Philippines makes it as an inimitable architectural feat, not to mention its colorful and challenging past.

It has been submitted to UNESCO World Heritage Site but the Philippines is still waiting for its confirmation.

Dome details

San Sebastian redux

These photos were taken back in the days when Flickr was the photography site to reckon with. I consider photographing San Sebastian Church a very challenging one. With all the intricate details and the many features of its architecture, plus the low-lighting condition, I could spend more than one day just to photograph every nook and cranny.

Using a standard lens could make it awfully difficult! I was comforted when they turned on the altar lights which illuminated the dome a bit, and the sun rays began peeking behind the clouds. So I knelt before the altar looking like a devotee and took this photo with my camera mounted only on a monopod.

The original photo was a bit dark, so I pulled up the levels, tweaked the shadows, increased a bit of the saturation, and I was surprised to see, finally, the great work of the Filipino artist Lorenzo Rocha and his students on the ceilings to give that faux-marble and jasper appearance.

After looking at it intently, I was simply in total admiration. You cannot see this with your bare eyes by merely looking up above the ceiling. Indeed a remarkable and elaborate work of art!

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.

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