On the Philippine islands of Bohol and Cebu more than thirty-four churches experienced significant damage and partial or complete collapse from ground shaking during a Mw 7.2 earthquake on October 15, 2013. The churches affected by the earthquake include 18th and 19th century Spanish colonial-era churches, largely constructed of unreinforced coral stone-faced rubble walls, with timber truss roof structures, and early 20th century American colonial-era and post-World War II reinforced concrete churches.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the National Museum (NM) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP), the Philippine government agencies in charge of heritage sites under the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), took on the task of recovery and preparation of restoration plans for the older Spanish colonial-era churches.


The NCCA  intervention to restore the damaged churches excluded the restoration of the 20th century American colonial-era and post-colonial churches; hence, they have been nicknamed “The Orphan Churches of Bohol.”

At the request of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Bohol, under whose jurisdiction the churches belong, Bakás Pilipinas, Inc., prepared a Preliminary Survey on the condition of three of these “Orphan” Churches:

• Nuestra Señora Del Rosario Church, Antequera

• La Purisima Concepcion Church, Catigbian

• San Antonio de Padua Church, Sikatuna


On January 13-14, 2016, an International Symposium on the Seismic Retrofit of Unreinforced Masonry Heritage Churches in the Philippines was organized by BAKAS PILIPINAS, in partnership with the NCCA, the UST Graduate School’s Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics, and ICOMOS Philippines.

International and local heritage engineering and architectural experts gave technical presentations to an audience of Filipino structural engineers, architects, conservators and students about the best and most advanced practices in the field of historic preservation. 

The event was attended by 180 professionals.


Here is the link to the Getty Conservation Institute's Spring 2015 Issue on Seismic Retrofitting, featuring articles by several of the experts who presented at the recent International Symposium on Seismic Retrofit of Unreinforced Masonry Heritage Churches of the Philippines, at the National Museum, on January 13 & 14, 2016. Copies of this publication were handed out during the Symposium.  (Our thanks to the Getty Conservation Institute for providing the copies).

For those who did not get a copy, go to this link:


Join us on October 17, 2012 at 6 PM Superstructures, 32 Sixth Avenue, 13th Floor, New York, NY

UPDATE ON THE RESTORATION OF SAN SEBASTIAN BASILICA, MANILA Investigation of Interior Finishes by Christine Leggio, Paint Conservator

Built in 1891, San Sebastian Basilica is the only all-metal church in the Philippines and one of a few in Asia. The church interior is painted to simulate stone, the work of important Filipino artists of the time. Corroding metal threatens the future of the trompe l'oeil interior finishes. Conservation of the painted finishes is one of the major challenges in the restoration of the Basilica.

Tickets are $25 each/ Students $10. Seating is limited. Ticket amount is tax-deductible. Proceeds will fund a research project to determine how the restoration may be of benefit to the economically disadvantaged community surrounding the Basilica.

learn more


For questions and more information, email: or call: 212 677-9842

Exterior view of San Sebastian Basilica, Manila

Front Facade of the Basilica

The metal interior of the church was painted to simulate stone.

Water penetration is corroding the metal and damaging the painted finishes.

Corrosion of the metal panels

Severe corrosion at the base of the metal fluted column cover

Bakas Pilipinas' Fundraising Event-May 13, 2010

Bakas Pilipinas held its fundraiser event on May 13, 2010 at the Philippine Consulate. The event was attended by approximately 150 guests, who listened to presentations about the organization and its first project, the restoration of San Sebastian Basilica in Manila, which is the beneficiary of the funds raised. The event featured welcome remarks by Consul General Cecile Rebong, presentations by Bakas Pilipinas President Roz Li, and Vice President Tina Paterno. A Silent Art Auction featuring donated artworks by Filipino and Western artists contributed to the funds raised.

Silent Art Auction – May 13, 2010

Bakás Pilipinas/Philippine Historic Preservation Society is having a celebration and fundraising event on May 13, 2010, at 6pm, to be held at the Philippine Consulate at 556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. The event will feature a Silent Art Auction of works by Filipino & American artists, as displayed in this blog.  Proceeds will go towards the restoration of San Sebastian Basilica in Manila, Philippines. Please see below for a brief history of San Sebastian Basilica.

For more information, see the invitation below, email or call 212.677.9842

Bakás Pilipinas is a qualifying tax exempt organization according to the IRS 501( c)3 code.