Monday, November 12, 2007


(Note: The following article is herein presented to give readers a birds-eye-view of how Masonry and the lodge system have influenced the life of this writer As he is scheduled to board the plane bound for Manila today, November 25 for his scheduled medical check-up and to visit their children and grandchildren for the Christmas holidays, this column will temporarily cease printing but hopefully will be back after the advent of the New Year)

Short to delivered to the brethren of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 on August 11,2007

First, allow me to express my appreciation for the concern of the lodge members on the tragedy that befell me very recently as shown in the minutes of our July’s stated meeting.

Second, it pleases me to meet and fraternize with VW Urso Penalosa of the Grand Lodge of Arizona who is with us tonight. Although this is the first time that I have rubbed elbows with him, I feel I have met him already so many times in the past. We, after all, have communicated with each other on matters Masonic over the Internet.

And now for the task at hand.

Fifteen years ago this month, the aging lion, still robust then, first attended the stated meeting of this lodge inside what was then the old Masonic Temple at the heart of the city as a sojourning brother on a visit to his wife’s hometown in Guindulman. The Worshipful Master then was VW Francisco “Noning” Pamaran, Jr.

` Almost ten years later or in April 2002, he again attended its stated meeting at the same Masonic Temple but this time as a new resident of Guindulman town; and its master then was WB David B. Tirol ..

That second meeting was later followed by successive fraternal visits that would be interrupted only whenever he and the lion tamer would return home to the metropolis to visit their children and grandchildren for the holidays. Until finally in January 2004 when he was elected dual member of this lodge as he and the lion tamer have already permanently established residence to the scenic and peaceful town which is some eighty five kilometers away from this Masonic lodge.

In April of this year however, he and the lion tamer boarded the plane for the metropolis wondering if they would be able to return to their adopted place again. And for good reason, when he boarded the plane he was already gasping for precious breath !!

Soon after their arrival in the big city, he was subjected to rigid medical tests and was found to be seriously afflicted with a weak heart, kidneys that were already in the verge of qualifying for dialysis treatment, his lungs full of water he could no longer sleep unless in a sitting position and worse, his right foot was afflicted with poisonous gangrene an immediate amputation had to be scheduled. Dr. Billy del Rosario, a fraternal brother from Laong Laan Lodge No. 185, a noted surgeon at St. Luke’s advised that immediate amputation of his right leg is necessary otherwise the aging cat may exit to the Great Beyond sooner than later, which most likely would also automatically earn for him the Masonic Last Rites..

There is no need retelling what happened next, some of you may already heard of it through juicy gossip and brethren with access to the Internet can easily browse upon his most recent articles and read whatever the heck happened, and so let him continue narrating his story on what was not told yet.

It took him and the lion tamer four whole months to recuperate and rehabilitate himself in the big city. It was on April 11 when they boarded the plane at Tagbilaran airport and it’s now August 11 as this tale is being narrated..

In that span of time, many things transpired. Among those are:

** His right leg was amputated by Dr. Billy del Rosario at St. Luke;s gratis et amore,

** His bills at the hospital and the medicines for maintenance were all paid for courtesy of the so many kind hearted relatives, brethren and friends,

** He learned that WB’s Niceto “Boy” Doron and Andrew Namucatcat had already gone to the Great Beyond never to return,

** He was visited by WB Jack Galbreath while still in the metropolis and solicitously gave US$100 to help finance his maintenance medicines,

**VW John Teng of Laong Laan Lodge No. 185 would not allow the aging lion to return home unless he has an artificial right leg to stand on,

** His eldest son also joined the Craft and vowed to idiomatically follow his Masonic footsteps but with both feet still intact, of course..

Against the solicitous advise of many concerned brethren and most especially his three children, he decided to return home to his adopted place and there spend his remaining days. They calculated and argued that the limping cat have better chances of extending his remaining life in the big city because medical and professional care are readily available should the need for these arise. Stubbornly however, he countered that the additional days, months or even years, cannot compensate for the joys of watching the sun rise and set at the horizon daily and enjoy the rustic and bucolic atmosphere of his adopted hometown. He no longer added that his passion for writing is being curtailed by the unruly noise and bustle of the big city also the various small charities that he and the lion tamer perform for the indigent members of society in that part of the globe. Ever heard of “operation tule” which is nothing but circumcision performed of these young kids living near the beach?!

The simplest question that many of us may ask therefore is:

“How many more signatures can the aging lion affix at the logbook of this lodge that he now calls his own? In a span of five full years since 2002 when he set forth his footprints in Guindulman as a resident, he estimates he must have affixed no less than fifty signatures. Can he therefore manage to sign at least a dozen more considering that his movements are now restricted because of the right leg that he has lost?!

Ah, but only Father Time can tell!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


As continuation to last Sunday’s issue of this paper, here are some more questions and answers as compiled by the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, the national organization unto which Dagohoy Lodge No 84 is beholden.. But before these questions, it is providential to note that the new edifice that proudly stands beside the Masonic cemetery which was inaugurated last year coincided exactly on the 84th year of the lodge’ checkered existence in the province of Bohol (2006 less 1922= 84)
And now to the questions and answers.
Why do people join and remain members?
People become Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition, others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is all about. Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers. There is more to it, however, than just enjoyment. Participation in the dramatic representation of moral lessons and in the working of a lodge provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself and encourages him to live in such a way that he will always be in search of becoming a better man, not better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be, and therefore an exemplary member of society.
Each Freemason is required to learn and show humility through initiation. Then, by progression through a series of degrees he gains insight into increasingly complex moral and philosophical concepts, and accepts a variety of challenges and responsibilities that are both stimulating and rewarding. The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.
What promises do Freemasons take?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and in society. These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering the armed services or many other organizations. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word. Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.
.What are the requirements for membership?
The doors of Freemasonry are open to all men who seek harmony with their fellow creatures, who feel the need for self-improvement, and wish to participate in the adventure of making this world a more congenial place in which to live.
The prescribed requirements for membership are being a man at least 21 years of age, having a belief in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul, being capable of reading and writing, being of good moral character, having been a resident of the county in which he resides for at least one year preceding the presentation of his petition, and being recommended by two Master Mason members of the Lodge to which he desires to apply.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from lodge to lodge. It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many lodges as his time and pocket can allow as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities. Annual dues are paid normally at the start of the fiscal year and donation to Charity can be paid anytime.
What is the joining process?
If you live in or around the town area, and are interested in joining, we suggest you approach one of our Lodge members that you know. If everything seems to be in order you will be invited down to one of our Fellowship events and meet some of the members. If there is a social on at this time, you will be invited along with your wife, where appropriate. This is to ensure that you are comfortable with the members of the Lodge and the Lodge members are comfortable with you. After this you will be asked to attend an interview with senior members of the Lodge and your name will be read out in the Lodges in the districts in which you live and work, and in the area, to verify you are a man of good repute.
When people join they are asked to make the following declarations on their membership forms:
My application is entirely voluntary.
I do not expect, anticipate or seek any pecuniary benefit as a consequence of my being a member of Freemasonry.
I have never been convicted by a Court of any offence. *
I have never been the subject of a finding of dishonest or disgraceful conduct.
I have never been disciplined by any professional, trade or other tribunal.
I am not awaiting the outcome of proceedings against me before a criminal court or a professional, trade or other tribunal.
I am not, to the best of my knowledge, the subject of any criminal, professional, trade or other investigation.
What can be considered as a minor traffic offence or a "youthful indiscretion" do not normally count against an application to join.
When the reports come back favorably you will be proposed into the Lodge and balloted for by the members. The whole process can take from three to six months, assuming there is no waiting list. If at any time you have any misgivings or reservations you should discuss these with your Proposer or Seconder and you may withdraw your application at any point in the process. It is natural to have doubts about joining Freemasonry because you do not know the nature of the ceremony, though it is better for everyone if an application is withdrawn than if somebody feels they are joining out of a sense of responsibility. Please note that "blackballing" or denying a candidate is extremely rare as we take a lot of care to ensure that any problems are taken care of at an earlier time.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Over the past nine issues of this paper starting September 9 when this column came into being, readers were informed in progressive sequence of the existence of Freemasonry in the province Bohol from its inception, its growth and its role in the community.
But the previous narrations should not be construed as the official mouthpiece of the Craft for the narrations of the writer, no matter how well meaning these were intended to be, are solely his own interpretations of how he views the Craft. A more credible mouthpiece is therefore needed for more authoritative impact. And for this purpose the following questions and answers which were lifted verbatim from the website of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines are herein presented to summarize to the readers the most common questions and the corresponding answers that relate to the Fraternity on a national scale and will be printed in two installments starting this issue.
What does it mean to be a Master Mason
Being a Master Mason is a lot of responsibility. You must be true to yourself and be reminded everyday that being a Master Mason you reflect on all of Masonry. You must not just receive brotherly love, but give it and show it towards everyone. You are in a chain of brothers and sisters, which starts in your heart and through hands, but which spreads around the globe. Be careful you are not the weakest link, so that this chain won't break because of you.
What is the difference between Freemasonry and Masonry?
Masonry refers to builders in stone or Operative Masonry , Freemasonry refers to builders in character or Speculative Masonry, but there is no difference in their usage today.
How can I understand Masonry?
How can I make you understand a song without you hearing it, a fragrance without you smelling it, or a thought without you thinking it. You can learn about Masonry, but the only way you can understand Masonry, is to join.
What do Freemasons aim for?
They strive to be good citizens, to practice the highest moral and social standards, and to be men of friendship, charitable disposition, and integrity. It is often said that Freemasonry makes good men better.
Why is Freemasonry a Unique Institution? In many ways it is not. There are other organizations in existence that also value their privacy. It may be because Freemasonry is so popular that it attracts a greater degree of attention than these other organizations. Historically Freemasonry was but one institution among many. For instance there were the Free Gardeners, Free Shepherds, Free Carpenters, Free Colliers, etc. which were organized along similar lines to Freemasonry and taught morality by way of their own ritual plays and symbolism. Most of these organizations no longer exist leaving Freemasonry as the only example of this once common form of society or association.
Who are the Freemasons?
The Freemasons, the Masons, or the “Free & Accepted Masons (F&AM)”, is a world-wide fraternal organization composed of men of high integrity, who join together, under the fatherhood of God, to further the practice of a moral code; proven by a long distinguished history; relevant to the complexities of the world today and founded on the highest standards of ethics, honesty and character.
Do the Freemasons still build cathedrals and churches?
Freemasons do not practice the “operative” skills of the craft masons, or stonemasons, who built the great cathedrals of Europe during the Middle Ages. Freemasons practice “speculative” Masonry, which symbolically applies the tools of the craftsman as lessons in personal growth and morality, thereby “building” a better life for the individual in his roles as a son, a brother, a father, a citizen, and a friend.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of the three 'Craft' degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason). There are many other Masonic degrees and Orders which are called 'appendant' because they add to the basis of the Craft. They are not basic to Freemasonry but add to it by further expounding and illustrating the principles stated in the Craft. Some additional degrees are numerically superior to the third degree but this does not affect the fact that they are additional to and not in anyway superior to or higher than the Craft. The ranks that these additional degrees carry have no standing with the Craft. In short, the Master Mason degree is the highest.
How many Freemasons are there?
Under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, there are about 15,000 active Freemasons, meeting in more than 350 lodges. Worldwide there are probably 5 rnillion members.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting is in two parts. As in any association there is a certain amount of administrative procedure - minutes of last meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, discussing and voting on financial matters, election of officers, news and correspondence. Then there are the ceremonies for admitting new Masons and the annual installation of the Master and appointment of officers. The three ceremonies for admitting a new Mason are in two parts - a slight dramatic instruction in the principles and lessons taught in the Craft followed by a lecture in which the candidate's various duties are spelled out.
We tend not to talk too much about the content of the ceremonies themselves, as it will lessen the impact on the candidate, just as someone telling you about a film before you've had a chance to see it!

Monday, October 29, 2007


The Logo on the Upper Left Corner of this Page

Regular readers of this column must, by now, have noticed the logo that has adorned the upper left corner of this page and may have wondered what the Square, the Compasses and the letter G at the middle stand for. For those not in the know, it may be worthwhile restating that “Masonry is a system of morality illustrated by symbols”, and that the three are symbols that are sacred to Masonry.

Two of the three are builders’ tools, as represented by the Square and the Compasses. But these symbols will not be discussed at this time, this issue will instead focus on the letter “G”.

To Masons, the letter G has two meanings, (1) it represents the initial of Geometry, the basis on which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected, and (2).it is the initial of the Omnipotent God, creator of all things. contained in the universe.

The All Seeing Eye

There is yet another emblem that also represents God, and that is the All Seeing Eye. So the question that readers are therefore wont to ask is “What is the All Seeing Eye and how did it come about?

Well, the most popular depiction of the All Seeing Eye may be found at the back of the one-dollar bill when Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Freemason, approved its design in 1935. More importantly, it was used in 1776 when the Great Seal of the United States was designed by the framers of the United States Constitution.

But this symbol can be traced back to ancient times, more specifically, as the Eye of Ra, chief deity of the ancient Egyptians, also called the Eye of Horus. (wordings copied verbatim from the wonderful pages of the Internet-JG)

Symbolisms of the All Seeing Eye in the province of Bohol

This now squarely puts the issue of whether Freemasons do not believe in God or at the very least, are non-believers of the Christian God as Horus obviously is a pagan deity. But is this really so??

Now look!

The Equilateral Triangle at Duero Church

Readers who travel the eastern route going to Tqgbilaran and who have passed the town of Duero (this means he must have come from Guindulman, Anda, Alicia or Ubay), may have noticed the town’s Catholic church. that displayed in the awning of its rooftop a curious symbol that showed an engraved circle and inside it was an equilateral triangle. Outside the circle are rays painted with resplendent rainbow colors that could easily remind the viewer of the rays that adorn the Philippine flag. But the question as to whether it indeed represents the All Seeing Eye since the equilateral triangle was substituted for the eye, this writer was not able to validate.

The architectural design of this church is of more current or cosmopolitan vintage and rightly so because construction was said to have started in 1908 and was completed two years later.

Curious to ascertain whether anybody in town knew of its significance, this amateur sleuth alighted from the van that he was riding on and inquired from the students who were then relaxing at the adjacent Catholic school building. Unfortunately, none of the students knew and the school administrator is nowhere to be found. Neither was the parish priest. The caretaker of the curio shop at the other side of the street facing the church that displayed some of the town’s mementos is also totally ignorant on what the symbol was all about.

The Equilateral Triangle at Loay Church

There is another equilateral triangle inside a circle that appeared at the upper part of the church door but this time at Loay town, some nineteen kilometers away from Tagbilaran City that surely can attract foreign tourists who visit the island if only it is properly advertised as a tourist destination. Let this chronicler explain.

Loay church, unless visited on purpose, is difficult to find as it is virtually hidden from public view. Nestled atop a small plateau, the church is covered with verdant foliage to the extent passersby that traverse the eastern route will likely miss it unless informed beforehand how to get there. And assuming he indeed locates the church, it will still take considerable time to find out on what part of the church the symbol actually was carved. Previous to our visit, the church personnel who helped us look for it themselves did not know what we were looking for and where to look for it. We no longer solicited the assistance of the town’s parish priest as we learned he was newly assigned in the parish when we made our visit and therefore cannot be of help.

To cut a long story short, the said equilateral triangle was carved inside a circle the same way it was depicted in the awning of the Duero church but instead of the resplendent rays that adorned the outer part of the circle, two seraphims were holding it which would easily remind the Filipino Masons of the Grand Lodge Seal of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines except that the seraphims are sitting whereas these seraphims were standing as the Grand Lodge Seal depicted.

According to the historical marker that was planted there by the National Historical Commission, this church was constructed in 1812, or a full century ahead that of Duero Church. Its design followed the Gothic type of architecture that was prevalent during the Middle Ages that the Knights Templar made popular in Europe with its circular or rotund buttress design.

The church interior is also something for tourists to behold. The ceiling was painted with life size replicas of patron saints while at one side of the wall was show an antique although unserviceable bamboo organ that could easily remind a tourist of a similar musical instrument at the famed city of Las Pinas.

And why is this writer certain that the equilateral triangle on these two churches represent the All Seeing Eye??

Well, because Wikepeda Dictionary said so saying it is the:

Christian version of the Eye of Providence, emphasizing triangle representing the Trinity” (words copied verbatim from Wikepeda Dictionary)

Monday, October 22, 2007



Readers must have heard of “The Golden Rule”’ no, not the one that had the corrupted meaning that says: “he who has the gold, rules!”, but the real connotation that it is supposed to convey. For those who may have forgotten, read what Christopher Hodapp in page 56 of his book titled “Freemasons for Dummies” had to say and is herein quoted verbatim.

“Simply put Masons believe in the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is
part of every great world religion, so it qualifies as the single unifying theme of all faiths. Its basic concept is the cornerstone of Freemasonry no matter how it is phrased.

** Buddhism: “In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and families, by generosity, courtesy and bemevolence, by treating them as he treats himself and by being as good as his word.”
**Christianity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
**Cunfucianism: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
**Hinduism:” Men gifted with intelligence . . . should always treat others as they would wish themselves to be treated.”
**Islam: “No one is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
**Judaism: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
**Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”:

What then is the relevance of the Golden Rule to Masonry??

But of course! Freemasons are taught “to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, created by one Almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support and protect each other. On this principle, Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion and causes true friendship to exist among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.”

Or, stated simply, humanity is our neighbor, which, although eons apart, eloquently douse cold water to Cain’s quizzical reply to God when the latter asked about Abel and who, the former replied : “Am I my brother’s keeper??”


The beliefs of Freemasonry can be grouped into three simple concepts; (1) brotherly love, (2) relief and (3) truth. In simplest terms, Masons are taught to exercise brotherly love, charity to others and mutual assistance to members, and the search for answers to the universal question of morality while here on earth.


Readers have already read in the previous issues the unique definition of a lodge both as a building and the members comprising it. Although unique in itself, it may still be considered basically similar to the other fraternal organizations that exist in the vicinity, among them, the Lions, the Rotarians, the Jaycees, the Kiwanis, etc. But one aspect in Freemasonry where it radically differs from all others is the existence of what is called as the Grand Lodge system. Let this feature be explained, albeit superficially.

The Grand Lodge System

The Grand Lodge system is what holds the individual lodges as a common mass with rules and regulations that are basically similar to each other. Thus, one member of a lodge that visits another lodge does not feel alienated specifically because what he does in his own lodge is being done at another. The same obligations and benefits occur and are shared even in distant places. For example, a brother in Bohol who visits a lodge in Mindanao will find the same warmth and camaraderie in much similar breadth as he would be enjoying it in his own lodge.

A Brief History of the Grand Lodge System

The first Grand Lodge was created on June 24, 1717 when the members of four old lodges in London, England, met and organized themselves as a coherent group of Masons in that part of the globe. Compared to Operative Masonry that then existed, this Grand Lodge transformed itself into Speculative Freemasonry and thus started what would then be the mother Grand Lodge of the world. Soon, other Grand Lodges, especially in Europe, among them in Spain, France, Germany and in Italy were created.. In the Americas it also sprouted as mushrooms would spontaneously in a rice field.

This Grand Lodge system that operated world-wide recognizes, with certain exceptions, the Masons of the Philippines and conversely, the local Grand Lodge also recognizes masons of other countries.

The Grand Lodge in the Philippines

The Grand Lodge in the Philippines unto which Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 is beholden is comparatively of a more recent origin. Lodges were already operating in the islands when it was organized at the turn of the 20th century but because the Americans were then occupying the country, it was able to organize under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of California and since that time it practically gobbled the lodges that were previously existing under the authority of the Spanish Grand Lodge called “Gran Oriente Espanol”This Grand Lodge that was organized in 1912 would become the Grand Lodge where Dagohoy Lodge No.84 and all other lodges that now number more than 350 would be subservient to all of its activities.

A concrete example on how the mystic camaraderie works happened last October 13 when some 30 attendees of the Government Association of Certified Public Accountants (GACPA) conference at Cebu City led by the Commissioner Juanito G. Espino, Jr. of the Commission on Audit took a side trip to Bohol to see the famed Chocolate Hills and some of the island’s scenic spots. They were treated to a hastily-prepared breakfast by the lodge care of Mark Noel Mende and were assisted by his biological father Emmanuel and Moises Millanar, transportation was furnished by Congressman Adam Jala, Greggy Gatal served as tourist guide and so absorbed the various entrance fees charged at the tourist sites that were visited, while lunch was paid for by visiting brethren themselves.

Such a memorable fraternal visit undoubtedly added luster to the mystic ties that cement the relationship of the brethren whithersoever dispersed!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The number three (3) is a sacred number to Masonry.. Consider these:

1. Its three great lights represented by the Holy Bible, the Square and Compasses are three;
2. to become a mason it is necessary for an applicant to undergo three degrees,
3. it has three principal officers composed of the Worshipful Master, the Senior and Junior Wardens,
4. the buildings that it erects, whether physical or spiritual, must conform to the rules and parameters on Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
5. its principal tenets are composed of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth
6. three cornerstones taken together and inseparable from each other, form part of the foundation on which Freemasonry is anchored. These are (1) belief in God, (2) the immortality of the soul, and (3) the brotherhood of men, the absence of one of which will render Masonry just like any other organization that cannot withstand the challenging tests of times.


One of the most persistent accusations against Freemasonry is that it does not believe in God and over the past ages it has not defended itself in forums, whether in public or in private.

But belief in an Omnipotent God is a mandatory requirement not only at Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, at the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, but to all other Grand jurisdictions in the entire world, to which every applicant must declare in his petition form. Beyond answering the question in the affirmative however, Masonry has nothing to do as to what religion he professes.

It is obvious to assert that atheists are barred admission into its doors because of the very simple reason that to them God do not exist. Of course, women, young men in their non-age, and old men in their dotage are likewise barred but they are not allowed for entirely different reasons, none of which pertain to the question on the existence of God Almighty.

A specific case in point for belief in God as a mandatory requirement concerns the Grand Orient of France, one of the more popular Grand Lodges in Europe that in 1778 shocked the entire Masonic world when it removed in its membership requirement the belief in a Supreme Being and ceased presenting the Volume of the Sacred Law in its lodge meetings. The vast majority of the mainstream Grand Lodges around the world declared the Grand Orient of France irregular and stopped recognizing its members as regular Masons. It has remained popular to this day in France but is outside the realms of regular Freemasonry that pervades in all the other parts of the globe.

But even in their case, it may be necessary to set the record straight. What the Grand Orient of France did was the removal of the basic principle of God as a prerequisite for the admission of a petitioner, but simply deleted it as a mandatory requirement to allow all men including atheists, of whom there were many in the eighteenth century, that they may also be admitted. As readers can well rationalize, declaring that God does not exist and simply ignoring the issue are two entirely different things. Nonetheless, the Grand Orient of France has remained an irregular organization that is not recognized by the mainstream fraternal organizations of the world to this day.


Before the topic on the belief in God is shelved to the sidelines, it may be necessary to summarize a few points:

1. Masonry, though religious in nature, is not a religion as it offers no religious dogma for salvation. All its members are encouraged to practice their respective faiths in the particular religion where they belong.
2. The phrase “Great Architect of the Universe” with GAOTU for its acronym, is not the name for a Masonic God. It simply is a phrase that denotes a common name for the Deity which is deemed acceptable to all its members with diverging religious beliefs.
3. It has no Masonic Bible that it calls its own. The beautifully crafted Holy Bibles that are commonly found in its altars especially in the Philippine and American jurisdictions, are largely that of the King James Version that were printed in the United States by brethren who are in the printing business.
4. The phrase “Holy Bible” as mentioned in the three Great Lights is a misnomer. The correct phrase is “Volume of the Sacred Law” to include the holy books of the other religious faiths like The Holy Quran, the Zend Avesta and the Bhagavad Gita of the Muslims, the Pharsees and the Hindus respectively.
5. While opening and closing prayers are conducted during every Masonic meetings, those cannot be construed as religious ceremonies in like manner the President of a republic and Congress offer beginning and ending prayers when conducting business meetings.


Corollary to belief in God is adherence to the belief in the immortality of the soul for what good is it to believe in an Almighty Being if a man does not likewise believe in an afterlife that his soul will likewise perish after death??

The modes of believing however, is as divergent as the religion unto which it is anchored and will no longer be dissected as that is not for Masonry to settle.


Hermits believe in God and in the immortality of the soul but in their futility at understanding mankind decided to live their individual lives in seclusion. They may have good reasons for this but sadly they cannot be made members of the Fraternity as the life of a recluse or a Robinson Crusoe is not what a fraternal brotherhood is all about.

This topic will however be put on hold until the next issue of this paper as the space allotted has already reached the allowable limit.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Over the past five issues, readers came to know about the new edifice, the old building that it replaced, the cemetery, the charter members, the masons of pre-war years and some of the members that currently are in its roster. A brief glimpse by an outsider was also chronicled in the last issue. It also gave a simple definition of the word Masonry.

But what really is Freemasonry??


Freemasonry, especially in this beautiful island called Bohol, is an organization that so little is known about its nature, purposes and objectives. This, despite the fact that it has been existing for more than eight decades, save perhaps to its members themselves and their immediate families.

But this is understandable because by its very nature Freemasons themselves are hard put in defining what they are and what they do. A concise definition is also often very difficult to understand because of its very wide coverage and oftentimes incisive and thought provoking meanings.. Consider a description Masons often use such as:

“Masonry is a way of life.”

Pray, just how will the general public understand that statement?! Or try to decipher the true import of one of its more often-quoted definition that says:

“Masonry is a system of morality veiled in allegory!!”

But there are main goals, objectives or situations which, if explained in clear language, can be understood by non-masons.. Among these are:

*** Freemasonry is a fraternity of men that bind themselves together to achieve a common goal and is one of the most ancient organizations in existence today,
*** Its rules, regulations, legends and customs were derived from the medieval Masonic guilds;
***It teaches morality and ethics by means of symbolic tools of the operative masons,
***It is not a religion and offers no religious dogma to its members. Beyond requiring an applicant to affirm belief in the existence of an Almighty God, his relationship to his God becomes a personal matter.
*** Members are obliged to practice brotherly love, mutual assistance and equality, among others.
*** Its membership is worldwide and is divided into what is called as Grand Jurisdictions. In the United States for example, each state has one Grand Lodge whose jurisdiction is independent to those of the other states. Although operating independently from each other, masons of other countries (or states) extend courtesies to members of other jurisdictions.
***It aims to make good men better,
***Members are able to identify each other whether in the light or in the dark and even when meeting for the first time. Quite often, non-masons are baffled when upon accompanying a mason friend, he would notice the latter conversing with another animatedly while in transit and when asked later if the two have met before would receive a negative reply.
***They are likewise amused when their organization is labeled as a “secret society.” With their lodge building proudly advertising its name and lodge number like “Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, and with its members attending public gatherings in appropriate regalia, what is so secret about them?
But somehow this is partially true especially in those with despotic regimes like in Germany or in Italy. An American fraternal brother of this writer recently emailed saying he was finally accepted by a lodge in Milan, Italy where he now resides but was personally escorted in secret to the lodge, the exact location of which he knew not where. The meeting of that lodge in Italy was indeed secret.

Which also reminds this writer when as a young teenager he had a “secret love” to a winsome young girl. After much ado on whether he should finally reveal his feelings, he did manage to do so in whisper, only, his amorous advances were rejected! But let us get back to the subject before this topic on “secrets” becomes scandalous.


To enable members to operate or function as a lodge, it had to meet somewhere and this is where the definition of a lodge as a building comes in. The second definition which means the members themselves are as important as the first because the required number to represent a quorum had to be complied with otherwise no business meeting can be achieved..

Masons in the Philippine jurisdiction meet at least once a month, and this meeting is called “stated”, meaning, there is no need to inform the members because they are obligated to attend on such a time and at a particular date as stated in the charter.

At times, especially when conferring degrees to new members, they also meet at the direction of the principal officer called the “Worshipful Master” and since his word is law, each member complies after being regularly informed of the matter. The notice may vary, it may be written or verbal and if the latter, may be sent through text messages. During stated meetings also, they conduct the various business matters that are brought upon the Master’s table by the Secretary and there discussed in detail and approved by all the members present after due deliberation.