Friday, March 18, 2011

Quiapo Stroll: San Sebastian Church

Alright… we accidentally walked all the way from Quiapo church to reach this place WHICH we did not even know was doable. None of us expected to see this and none of us even thought it is still in Quiapo. Yeah, we all know and knew that there is a San Sebastian Church and all of us in this stroll pack have been there one time or another during our lives. But by chance we had this unanimous misconception that this church is only approached from the Legarda-Recto area, since that is how we have seen and passed-by in previous situations. Call it “dayuhan sa sariling bayan” haha, one of us in the group even spent college life at a nearby university and she was as surprised when we spotted the spires while still at Hidalgo St.

Ah we did not stay long and were not able to ‘explore’ this edifice lengthily. Thanks to a wedding ceremony of a whoever and whoever where every nook of the church compound seemed to have been installed two or three policemen. They did not bother us though. We just gave ourselves more restraint lest them men with long rifles start doubting our intentions. Of course too, we did not linger or wander inside the church as the ceremony progressed. Military men aside, we know that a wedding is one special day for a pair of hearts, so we did not want to be any distraction. I may not have many things to say now, BUT and YET, I believe I still have a story to tell…

I knew that San Sebastian Church is supposed to be an “all steel” church and the only one of its kind in Asia. So, on this brief visit, as I was not attending any religious ceremony, I took an effort to look around as to where is steel and where is not. All I could say was, OMG and real OMG. This is one of a kind really. Probably the first and only steel church I have been to – at least as far as my consciousness is concerned hehe. Yeah I have been to many similar looking churches in Europe and they probably were steel too. But I think I did not know, was not listening or was not interested then hehe. Times change y’know.

Have you seen a ‘steel wall’? A building wall I mean, not ‘steel wool’ for I know the latter is used to clean the good old kalderos. Tin sheet or corrugated tin sheets, yes I have seen, but thick steel that looked and felt like concrete for the wall of a building, I have never seen yet. And that is just exactly how I found the walls of San Sebastian Church. OMG, really. And this church is not small ha? It is big. And knowing that everything is steel, I might dare say, it is enormous. Here’s the best analogy I can think of at the moment: we of course have seen in many a road repair or construction that authorities lay down wide steel sheets on the ground to cover a hole, crevice or ditch, right? And we know that those steel sheets they use are real thick to be able to sustain the weight of passing vehicles and trucks, right? Now imagine yourself making a beautiful building out of those steel sheets… in the 1800s. Golly! Am not even sure ‘welding’ technology was already available in those days. But we don’t have to talk about it much, right? Howsoever they did so, our forbears made steel into what it is now. A tall church with a fantasy look like you plucked it out from a fairytale book. Wow really!

Well, well, there is the funny part – at least as far as my imagination can muster hehe. With my face inches away from a part of the wall, I looked closely at a portion where paint was already chipping off. It revealed thick previous coatings of white, pink and different shades of blue. And the colors started to play in my mind. How would this church have looked if it were totally white or totally pink than its present totally blue appearance? Probably cute or probably unsightly hehe. One companion commented, “what if they did not paint this”? Hmm, we all stood there imagining, but I said it would have been eerily ugly hehe. Then another loudly imagined “what if they painted this gray or black”? Then I said “you better stop reading those Harry Potter books” hahaha. Here’s more: we kept literally knocking on parts of the wall where we doubted if it really was steel or concrete – for it felt many times like painted cement. And when I looked at the other end, I saw one of them police officers who was earlier looking at us do the same. He casually got near part of the exterior wall, ogled at it a bit and also knocked hehe.

And then the not so beautiful part… in many areas of this whole structure from ground level to as high up as we could see, this building is bleeding rust. So, isn’t that proof enough for me that everything is really steel? But that makes us worry a bit, right? If rust is slowly eating this thing up, that probably means this thing might just crumble anytime. Duuu! But we know it does not come easily. Yes I hear that paint on a building or steel structure is not just so much as to make them look appealing but more on to minimizing or delaying the onset of rust. Hmm, we joked that the church should probably start using anzahl polyurethane hehe. And after painting it should be “baked”. And when they repaint it should be “scrape to metal”! Whahahaha, and the topic went into rust-proofing and anti-rust chemicals. We even went to naming names on which “casa” should do the job. Hehe, ginawang kotse!

Anyway, from the looks of it, this building may still be standing there way past our generations. Unless a big shaker crumbles it down to metal pieces. Ah, that probably won’t be easy. I like to imagine something strong (okay, include that earthquake thing) would shake and deform it. But being steel, it should not easily crumble to pieces but probably just be deformed as metal is malleable, right? Then we will have a new and unique attraction - - the first and only deformed steel church in the world hahaha. See what roaming this country can do? It exercises many parts of your brain, including ‘creative thinking’ and ‘analytical ability’ and ‘foresight’ – not necessarily in that order hehe.

Ah we did have another look inside even if the wedding was still in progress. We contained ourselves to the back pews. Oh no no, don’t even ask… the pews are all wood and the floor is the ‘beauty parlor’ kind of checkered black and white. Gosh, you can check all my articles about churches and that usually black and white checkerboard effect has been a constant objection. I so hate it. Well, what can we do hehe, probably some priests have their own little beauty parlor tendencies and the nearest they could do to performing said ‘dream’ is make their church floors like that of a beauty parlor hehe. Of course I am joking, but then again, maybe not hehe. Di va la mga ineng?! Hey, as I said in earlier blogs too, these checkered floors were already there even with very old church floors all over the globe. Ah, the most plausible point of view might be that these beauty parlor owners copied the checkered effect to their floors from churches, in the effort to making their shops look immaculate. Immaculate daw o! Yea yeah, ang mga hitad gusto maging madre na lumuluhod ng walang belo aaaahehehe!

Anyway, and seriously, I looked at the posts (or are they called pillars?). Hard to tell if they are all-steel, but the glistening portions seem to indicate to me they indeed all are. And I could just imagine the grueling task the makers must have endured to form and erect those. In the 1800s remember?! And good for this church, its walls won’t surely be peppered with nail holes to hang just about any d├ęcor or announcement, since you can’t easily drive them nails on thick steel walls!

Ah, this San Sebastian Church is telling me I should be back for more. Promise I will!

1 comment :

  1. Sana ayusin 'to para naman hindi tuluyang masira... 'luv your site! it's very informative... keep it up!