I have photographed San Sebastian Minor Basilica in Quiapo, Manila starting around 2010 thru a good friend, Tina Paterno, then head of the foundation who was studying the all metal church for its restoration. This edifice was built in 1891 by the Augustinian Recollects, in place of a much earlier church in stone destroyed by a series of earthquakes in 1859, 1863 and 1880. It was designed by Genaro Palacios in the neo gothic architectural style. The steel parts were fabricated in Belgium and assembled in Manila when it arrived. It is the only steel church in the Philippines.
I volunteered to photograph the church, especially its interior to support the restoration team then assessing the structure. I did this as I have been documenting churches since 2005 and have gone around the country photographing the different colonial era churches. This also landed me my first book collaboration, Philippine Church Facades, published in 2007 by San Agustin Museum. A year earlier prior to volunteering, I documented the dome ceiling paintings of Gapan Church before it was restored.
Tina wrote a piece on the basilica for Bluprint magazine, the premiere architecture magazine in the country. My photos, together with those contributed by Andrew Chester Ong, eminent Hong Kong based photographer who also volunteered were used. When the magazine was published, I was quite surprised, and happy too that my photo of the interior of the right belfry made it to the cover. Over the years, I have returned to San Sebastian photo documenting the structure for the restoration work.