Sunday, September 25, 2011


by MW Peter U. Lim Lo Suy, 33° IGH, Grand Master, 2009 - 2010

(Delivered at the Grand Lodge premises on June 12, 2009 on the occasion of the celebration of the 111th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence)

(note:  I personally attended the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal Park together with other brethren from other lodges before we proceeded to the Grand Lodge grounds where this speech was delivered by MW Peter Lim Lo Suy.  I was in Manila then for the Regional exhibit of the Department of Tourism at Intramuros during the month of June, 2009.  WB Francis Blanco of Jacques DeMolay Lodge invited me to join them during the said occasion.)

Mabuhay ang Araw ng Kalayaan ng Pilipinas!  Mabuhay ang Masonerya sa Pilipinas!

Those two exclamations suggest strongly that the history of Philippine Masonry is, to a very great extent, the story of our beloved country.  Let me validate this thesis.

In the second half of the 19th century, our forebears, many of whom were Masons, campaigned persistently and untiringly for the grant by Spain of much-needed reforms, such as representation of the country in the Spanish parliament, freedom of the press, competitive examinations for civil service posts, and restriction of the arbitrary behavior of certain groups.  The wanted democratic rights for the Philippines.  They believed that little by little autonomy would be achieved, and then independence in the course of time.  But they were disappointed because Spain turned deaf ears to their pleas for reforms.


In the last decade of the 19th century, our forebears, led by Masons, undertook the Philippine revolution agains Spain in two phases.  The first phase was led by Bro. Andres Bonifacio, and the second by WB Emilio Famy Aguinaldo.  Their burning desire was the eventual separation of the Philippines from Spain.

After a protracted armed struggle against Spanish forces, our revolutionaries, led by Gen. and WB Aguinaldo, President of the Revolutionary Government, established the First Philippine Republic and declared the independence of the Philippines from foreign rule.  The man who penned the text of the declaration of independence was a Mason, Bro. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista.  Many other participants in that historic event were also members of the Craft.

Yes, on June 12, a century and eleven years ago, as a people, we asserted our natural and inalienable claim to freedom and independence.  This is an inherent right of every people;  it is not dependent upon the will and discretion of another.

Masons are fond of symbolism, and I am no exception.  I like to think that the setting of the proclamation of Philippine Independence was a symbolic one because there was a torrential downpour in the afternoon of that day.  Then the downpour stopped, and with the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the sun of liberty brightly shone over the people in attendance.  On the historic balcony of his house on Calle Real in Kawit, Cavite, Gen. and WB Aguinaldo solemnly proclaimed the independence of the Philippines, and then proudly waved the Philippine flag, which was sewn in Hong Kong by Doña and Sister Marcela Agoncillo, the wife of Don and Bro. Felipe Agoncillo, who strongly recommended to Gen. and WB Aguinaldo that he should take Bro. Apolinario Mabini as his personal adviser.  As Gen. and WB Aguinaldo waved the flag, there were thunderous applause and shouts of Mabuhay ang Kalayaan ng Pilipinas!
Most of the people who witnessed the momentous event were revolutionaries - barefoot soldiers wearing shirts and red trousers, and wide-brimmed straw hats, and carrying rifles captured from the enemy, with their bolos hanging from their waists.  The score of civilian visitors wore ties and dark coats as befitting the solemn occasion.  There were a few American representatives.  But US Admiral George Dewey was conspicuously, suspiciously, and ominously absent.

The brass band from San Francisco de Malabon, which was stationed below the balcony, broke out into a stirring tune.  This was the National Anthem, called Marcha Filipina at that time, composed by Maestro Julian Felipe.  The crowd, which had never heard the tune before, did not know how to react at first.  But when they saw Gen. and WB Aguinaldo and the leading revolutionary leaders, most of whom were Masons, salute and other ranking civilians stand at attention, they realized that they were hearing the national anthem played for the first time in public.  So, they also saluted or stood at attention.

On September 29, 1898, the Malolos Congress, many members of which were Masons, formally ratified the Declaration of Independence, which had been adopted by the assembly of local officials in Bacoor, Cavite, on August 1 of the same year.  In that assembly, a resolution was adopted, calling upon the President of the Philippines to take steps to secure from foreign powers their recognition of the independence of the Philippines.

On August 6, 1898, in compliance with that resolution, the Revolutionary Government sent diplomatic notes to foreign nations, requesting them to accord formal recognition to the Philippines as a free and independent nation.

On January 233, 1899, the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated, with Gen. and WB Aguinaldo as President and with many Masons on his Cabinet.  But the Republic was no to last long;  for on February 5 of that year, hostilities broke out between Filipino and American troops around Manila.

Because the Americans had vastly superior weaponry, the Philippine government evacuated from Malolos and began its odyssey, moving northward, from one capital to another, and finally hiding in the forests of Northern Luzon.

On July 4, 1901, the United States, under President McKinley, a Mason, established a civilian colonial government in Manila.  Many officials of this government were Masons.

In the year following, US President Theodore Roosevelt, also a Mason, declared the Philippine-American War ended.

On December 19, 1912, American Masons established the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands.  In 1917, Filipino Lodges under the Grande Oriente Español fused with the Lodges under the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands, and the fusion resulted in the formation of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines.

Clearly, Filipino and American Masons worked together in close harmony for the welfare and progress of the Philippines.  They worked together, for instance, toward the regaining of Philippine Independence.

Many of the delegates to the 1935 Constitutional Convention were Masons.  MW Manuel Luis Quezon eventually became President of the Philippine Commonwealth.  He too, appointed brother Masons to Cabinet posts and other dignified positions in government.

Then came World War II.  During the Japanese occupation, WB Jose P. Laurel accepted the Presidency of the Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic.  Many brother Masons joined the Americans in fighting against the Japanese invaders.

Next Gen. and Bro. Douglas MacArthur led his forces in liberating the country from the Japanese.
On July 4, 1946, the United States recognized the independence of the Philippines in ceremonies held in front of the Legislative Building.  Ill. Bro. Paul McNutt lowered the American flag, and WB Manuel A. Roxas raised the Philippine flag.

As first President of the Third Philippine Republic, WB Manuel A. Roxas concluded his inaugural address with this paragraph:

"We should resolve to maintain our sovereignty in all its integrity, whatever the cost, so that we may continue to enjoy it to the fullest measure and bequeath it to our children, undiminished and unsullied.  In this resolve and in the task ahead to achieve the enduring happiness of the Filipino people, I call upon the whole nation to lend me its continued confidence and support.  Given that, with the help of Almighty God, this Republic will, I am sure, rapidly grow in stature, wealth and power, loved and revered by its citizens, honored and respected abroad, the haven of liberty and justice, the cherished home of contented, free men."

Through all those years, Philippine Masonry exerted a deciding influence on the affairs of our local and national communities.

July 4 was celebrated as Philippine Independence Day.  In 1962, however, President Diosdado Macapagal decided to commemorate June 12, 1898 as "Araw ng Kalayaan" because, according to him, the historical fact was that the Filipinos proclaimed their independence from foreign rule in June 12, 1898.  On that date, the National Anthem was played, and the Filipino flag displayed.  These are essential features in the birth of a nation.

President Ferdinand Marcos, who succeeded Macapagal, later proclaimed July 4 as "Philippine-American Friendship Day."

For me, it does not really matter whether we celebrate Independence Day on June 12 or on July 4.  What matters is that we all work together in close harmony to bring about a meaningful development of our nation, so that it will be able to participate on free and equal terms with other independent nations in the world in the all-important task of attaining haman solidarity or universal peace and harmony among God's creatures.  In Masonic terms, human solidarity is establishing upon earth a true Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.

We cannot, however, bring about a meaningful development of our nation unless we help the duly constituted authorities to erect the real edifice of our social regeneration.  This requires us, as a people, to establish our moral education on more solid bases and to abjure the vices most of which we inherited from the Spaniards.  Experience has shown that we Filipinos have got to radically change not only our institutions, but our way of being and thinking as well.

This is where we come in.  We should set the example of high ethical living; for, as the late Chief Justice and Worshipful Brother Manuel V. Moran stated, "The purpose of Masonry is to create in the world a band of men to whom others may look for example and inspiration - men who others will say are men of honor, virtue and charitable feelings."

But Masonry has for its object not only the consistent practice of all the virtues in daily life, but also the wide dissemination among our fellowmen, particularly our countrymen, of the moral, political, philosophical, and religious truths which it teaches.

To be adequately motivated to disseminate the precepts and principles of Masonry as widely as we can among our countrymen, let us weigh and consider this statement of Ill. Bro. Albert Pike:  "If men were all Masons and strictly obeyed with all their heart the mild and gentle teachings of Masonry, this world would be paradise, while ignorance, superstition, persecution, intolerance, fanaticism, and other moral evils make of it a hell."

We can make a lot of difference in our society if, in addition to living our Masonry consistently 24 hours a day, we exert a little more effort than before to induce others, by precept or instruction, to learn and live by the ideals, principles and values which our Fraternity teaches.

If we do that, then we may be sure that the Third Philippine Republic will, as the late Pres. and WB Manuel A. Roxas put it, "rapidly grow in stature, wealth and power, loved and revered by its citizens, honored and respected abroad, the haven of liberty and justice, the cherished home of contented, free men."

If we contribute to the attainment of that end, then we can proudly say that we have helped make a difference in Philippine society.  Together, brethren, let us make that difference toward a more peaceful, juster Philippines!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Message from the Worshipful Master - September 17, 2011

 Message from the Worshipful Master - WB Jaime P. Magnetico

I would like to thank and recognize the members of the conferral team who labored to confer the 1st degree of Masonry upon Bro. Ivan Banaag last August 13, 2011.  We anticipate the same degree of dedication and proficiency when we shall pass Bro. Ivan Banaag to the 2nd degree of Masonry hopefully on October 15.  Due to his hectic schedule, Bro. Banaag is not yet ready to take his proficiency examinations for the 1st Degree.

WB Kharis Maranda, Worshipful Master of JVVR Memorial Lodge No. 259, district chairman of Sagip Kalikasan project, invited the brethren of the district to a tree planting activity on September 17, 2011 at the Barangay Pugaan, and assembly time is 6:00 a.m. at the UDLM Temple.

Although the Iligan Lodge No. 207 has identified area for our tree planting and chaired by Bro. Ali Bari, I encourage the brethren of Iligan Lodge No. 207 to join and support this district wide activity.

Iligan City as a tradition is celebrating it's fiesta coming September 29.  We will be witnessing again "Dyandi" (ritual dance) perform during this festivity.  Other curious dance-forms, also performed during the San Miguel Fiesta, include the Eskrima and etc.

The name Diyandi has different meanings among the Muslims and the lumads but the word "Diyandi" in itself stands for the celebration as a whole.  The ritual was done to pay respect to the patron saint who is said to be the defender among those who are attacked and the healer among those who are ill.

It is because of these legendary folk oral traditions and beliefs that the Muslims, the lumads, and the coastal people celebrate as one in welcoming St. Michael's feast.  Until this day, the oral traditions of Iligan's folk continuously speak of St. Michael's heroism through folk stories and beliefs.

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Greetings to our SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY celebrants:

Bro. Boyd F. Siao  -  September 10
Bro. Lowell D. Chiong  -  September 10
Bro. Mark Stanley K. Siao  -  September 15
VW Eufemio L. Calio  - September 16
Bro. Alberto V. Espejo  - September 17
VW Datumanong D. Sarangani  - September 17
Bro. Miguel T. Valbuena  -  September 18
WB Melanio D. Siao  -  September 19
WB Ferdinand P. Bartolome  -  September 27
Bro. Rene A. Tan  -  September 30

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Best Wishes to our lovebirds for the month of September:

VW Edwin & Sis Annie Co  -  September 8
VW Robert & Sis Joy Co  -  September 15

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                     *Recitation in unison of Opening Prayer*

                     *Reading & Approval of the Minutes of the Last Stated Meeting.
                     *Reading & Approval of Secretary's Financial Report
                     *Reading & Approval of Treasurer's Report
                     *Reading of Communication.

                     *WesMinCon & MinCon  -  Bro. Abel Gomez
                     *Let's Go Green  -  Bro. Ali Bari
                     *Sunshine  -  VW Edwin S. Co, PDDGM

                     Topic:  "Ornaments of a Lodge"
                     VW Eufemio L. Calio, PGL


6:45 P.M.  -  Messages / Commentaries from the visiting WMs, GLI, DGLs and DDGM.

                     *Recitation in unison of Closing Prayer*

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"We Masons have what it takes to bring PEACE to our land.  But we must start by maintaining the PEACE within and outside the Portals of our Temples.  We can set the example by being more tolerant and forgiving of the faults of others; by showing more humility and kindness;  by believing that sometimes SILENCE IS GOLDEN." - RW Peter U. Lim Lo Suy, 33° IGH, delivered on March 14, 2009 during the 59th Annual Session of the Supreme Council