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!


  1. All of our Heroes saw the light of Masonry under the Gran Orient all of them are Scotish Rite Mason or Rito Escoses Antigou y Aceptado. it means that they are not Free and Accepted Masons or American York Rite Mason... Tinatanggap nyo ba sila na mga kapatid? kahit in a sense na clandestine o irregular ang pinanggalingan ng ating mga bayani? kung sakaling buhay sila ngayon pwede ba silang pumasok sa inyong lodge? or because mga bayani sila at mga prominenteng tao? nagtatanong lang po at nagsasaliksik.thank you po

  2. Dear Anonymous...
    Ang gusto ko lang pong malaman ay kung ikaw ay manlalakbay. Dahilan lang po ay para malaman ko rin kung papaano kita sasagutin sa inyong maganda ngunit medyo malalim na katanungan. Pero sisikapin ko pong bigyang kasagutan ang iyong mga katanungan, lahat po ng mga bayaning naging myember ng masonerya ay pare-pareho. Ang pagkakaiba lang siguro ay kung ano ang kanilang loheya. Nung kapanahunan ng ating mga bayani, ang karamihan ng mga mason dito ay pumasok sa españa. ngunit ng bumoklod na ang pilipinas, ang sinunod po nating mga pagtuturo ay mula po sa grand lodge of california.
    para po sa mas matinding pag-aaral, pwede po ninyong hanapin dito sa aking blog ang mga topic na merong kinalaman sa inyong mga katanungan. Maraming Salamat po at magandang araw sa inyo. Patnubayan po tayo nawa ng ating Panginoon.

  3. maraming salamat po sa iyong maagap na pagsagot, ako po manlalakbay at nagsasaliksik patungkol sa ating nakaraan. Ang kasaysayan ng Masonerya sa ating bansa noong wala pa ang mga Amerikano noong panahon na yaon. Pero naniniwala ka po ba na Clandestine o irregular ang Kamasonan na hinde sumama sa Fusion noong panahon ni Manuel L Quezon ayun po sa aking nabasa sa aking nabasa galing po kay MW PACIFICO B. ANIAG
    Grand Master
    (Delivered during the Grand Lodge of the Philippines
    Independence Day Program on June 12, 2008)
    "So many of them were Masons that Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo had to declare that the 1898 revolution was masonically inspired, masonically led, and masonically executed.
    And this might lead us to thinking why we have not been paying homage to the heroes who were also Masons, in the grand tradition that Masonry is known for; until it occurs to us that perhaps we'd rather not. They belonged to Masonic lodges which would be considered "irregular" under the current dispensation. There still exist irritants in our Masonic relationship that need to be resolved before we can truly call our heroes and martyrs as "our very own."
    As we can gather from these historical accounts, it was that while the National Anthem was yet being sung in the Spanish version when most lodges of the Gran Consejo Regional de Filipinas, under the Grande Oriente Espanol, affiliated with the American-sponsored Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. Truly, a supreme irony, if there ever was one.
    Inevitably, this led to the formation of the Gran Logia Regional del Archipelago Filipino. And by 1924, further rift within their ranks had caused another split. The Gran Logia Nacional de Filipinas was formed. This move was countered by the Grande Oriente Espanol when, in 1925, it chartered a "sovereign and independent" Gran Logia del Archipelago Filipino, or what we now colloquially call the "soberana lodges."
    And so it could be that there are some who must be wondering why our heroes whom we proudly claim to be masons seemed to have no affinity with us insofar as Masonic relationships are concerned; that they seem to have learned their lessons of masonry from Lodges not even recognized by our jurisdiction"... ang tanong ko lang po kinikilala nyo po ba na mga kapatid ang kamasonan na hinde sumama sa fusion na pinangunahan ni Manuel Quezon? sa sarili po ninyong opinyon clandestine po ba silang ayaw sumama sa fusion ng gran regional at ng GLPi? salamat po at dagdag kaalaman po eto sa aking paglalakbay tungo sa hinahanap nating katotohan...

  4. ang nakakalungkot ang mga lohiya na nasa ilalim ng gran oriente espanol na ang rito nila ay rito escoses na hinde sumama sa fusion na ginawa at pinangunahan ni manuel quezon at ng mga amerikanong mason ay mga Clandestine o irregular na ngayon... subalit kung ating susuriin lahat ng Lohiya na matatagal at matatanda na nalatag sa ibat ibang kapuluan ay nasa ilalim ng Gran Oriente.. pamula ng yakapin ng mga Pilipino ang isang klaseng masonerya na bigay ng mga amerikano eh pinaratangan na nila ang kanilang pinanggalingan na mga peke at hinde totoo na Mason... Nakakapag taka? pero binibigyan ng Masonikong parangal ang mga martir at mga bayaning Mason na nakahimlay na....

  5. The Backbone of Filipino-Spanish War and Filipino- American War are all Masons under Gran Oriente Espanol... Divide and Conquer yan ang taktikang ginamit ng mga amerikano upang pagwatak watakin ang mga Mason na lumalaban sa mga mananakop na Amerikano... Hinde po ako galit sa amerikano ito po ang kasaysayan ng Masonerya sa ating bansa na daladala hanggang ngayun. noong panahon ng kastila at prayle eto ang sabi ni Apolinario mabini “…Since celericalism has made a prey of this country and it’sinhabitants, binding them to superstition, ignorance and fanaticism..the need for liberation of the mind is obvious.. ang masonerya ngayon ay wlang pinagkaiba sa Religion nagtatalo kung sino tunay na kapatid at maliligtas pag dumating ang araw ng paghuhukom... ang Panatismo pag napa ukol sa Masonerya ay nakakasira ng pagtitinginan ng mga magkakapatid anu man ang kanyang pinanggalingan nawawala ang Limang panuntunan ng Pagkakapatiran.. tama si mabini hanggang ngayon the need for liberation of the mind is 'still" obvious.... maraming salamat po sir pat sa ating kaunting kuro kurong napag usapan.... Pagpalawain nawa ang inyong hanay ng Dakilang Patnugot ng Sanlibutan.... mabuhay ang Masonerya sa Pilipinas... salamat po sa oras at pag sagot mo po.