Join cultural experts as they take a close look at San Sebastian Basilica

Why old things matter

San Sebastian Basilica (Photo from San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc.)

In line with the 400th founding anniversary of San Sebastian Basilica, a National Cultural Treasure, cultural practitioners from diverse disciplines will discuss its continuing preservation and its current state in the country in a free public webinar.

Dubbed as “Beyond the Basilica: Heritage Conservation and Appreciation,” the webinar will provide an in-depth understanding, scrutinization, and diverse perspectives on the subject.

Educator Brenson Andres, who handled Social Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP) Integrated School for nine years, will share his insights on teaching heritage appreciation in K-12 as well as a glimpse into its curriculum and pedagogy. A top-notcher in the April 2011 Licensure Examination for Teachers, he is currently a research student at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Architect and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Architecture program chairperson Harvey Vasquez will impart the best practices in heritage architecture and conservation. His talk encompasses 16 years of experience from renowned local and international firms. Together with interior designer Joanne Vasquez, he set up Kalamaam Design Studio, which is currently in the pre-restoration process of the Architectural Heritage Conservation of The Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat-San Beda Church on Mendiola Street.

San Sebastian Basilica's central nave, lateral aisles, vaulted ceiling, and stained-glass windows of the Church of San Sebastian in Quiapo, Manila, 2013 (Photo by Betty Lalana and Lino Arboleda, Ortigas Foundation Library Collection)

San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc. (SSBCDFI) communications and fundraising officer Samantha Pacardo will introduce the #SaveSanSebastian Campaign and the mission of the foundation to champion its restoration and all of its original features following the international standards. Pacardo oversees the organization’s social networks and programs to make their advocacy more accessible, approachable, and sustainable.

The webinar will conclude with an online tour of San Sebastian Basilica, Asia’s lone all-steel metal Gothic Revival church, to be facilitated by SSBCDFI Education head Ysabel de Dios. Audiences will be transported into an accurate 3D model of the church created through photogrammetry. Complete with historical facts and videos of a Recollect friar, the project aims bring the beauty of the Basilica to the people even amid the social distancing protocols due to the pandemic.

It was crafted in collaboration with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Philippines and CyArk, a California-based non-profit organization that specializes in digitally recording some of the world’s most significant cultural sites.

The webinar, hosted by the Arts Management Program of the DLS-CSB, will be conducted in partnership with the SSBCDFI with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The talk will be moderated by Benilde Arts Management Program chairperson Alain Zedrick Camiling, whose vast experience includes pioneering Bank of the Philippine Island’s Art Education Program and managing collections, museums, and public workshops.

Beyond the Basilica: Heritage Conservation and Appreciation is scheduled on Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Interested participants may register through