Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BOHOL’S POSTWAR FREEMASONS

Wars create a lot of actions, events and situations. It breeds widows and orphans, ravages the economy of nations and places these in desolate and miserable conditions. But it also produces heroes, provides opportunities and offers hope. The same holds true even to Dqgohoy Lodge No. 84

Immediately after war’s end the lodge reconvened and reelected Dr. Pio C. Castro who was master of the lodge from 1940 to 1942, and installed him back in the saddle. He would reassume this position for two full years before returning it back like a tennis ball to WB Arturo Fortich who in 1948 served as the master of the lodge thus repeating his election in early 1946 in an acting capacity.

Pio C. Castro’s contribution to the community in general and to the lodge in particular was his establishment of the forerunner of what is now called the University of Bohol, which at its inception was named Rafael Palma College. Here is how it happened.

“After World War II in 1946, the Boholanos welcomed the birth of a local college whose first members of the Board of Trustees were: Dr. Pio C. Castro, President; Mr. Mariano Rocha, Vice-President; Atty. Felix Magdales, Secretary; Mr. Catalino Castro, Treasurer; and Atty. Donato Galia, member. The first permits for the pioneer courses were granted by the Bureau of Private Schools on June 10, 1946 through the earnest efforts of Atty. Victoriano D. Tirol, Sr.[citation needed (Data taken verbatim from the pages of the Internet)”

The choice of the name “Rafael Palma College” was not without Masonic relevance. Palma was a brilliant educator who was the first Filipino to become president of the University of the Philippines. His term started in 1923 and ended ten year later.

Undoubtedly one of the best statesmen the country ever produced, he fought Manuel L. Quezon heads-on in the Hares-Haws Cutting Law. But the shrewd Quezon threatened to drastically cut UP’s budget and thus compelled Palma to resign the UP presidency in 1933.

Let’s now get back to the college.

A story told this writer says that Victoriano Tirol Sr. was an educator from Cebu who was compelled during the war to temporarily transfer residence to Bohol taking along his family because of the then prevailing hostilities... At this instance he met some of the school’s planners who offered him the administration of the proposed college. He was adamant at the start because the pay was not lucrative enough to support his burgeoning family. But as visionaries always do, when they want it, they’ll get it. The proponents simply provided him retainer fees on the legal services that they ask and consequently were rendered. Most are, after all, businessmen whose legal services they need to protect their business interests. And so Victoriano Sr. got stuck as school administrator.

The steady growth of the fledgling college having been delegated to Atty Victoriano D.Tirol Sr., the other masons contented themselves at working silently at the sidelines. Progressively it grew until it achieved the status of a university in 1970 and was renamed University of Bohol, That name and its initials “UB” has remained so today.

Lodge wise, it was also Victoriano Sr. who contributed much to its growth and stability. All his sons- David, Ulysses, Jes, Victoriano Jr. and Victor joined the Craft. So did four of his sons-in-law, namely, Daniel Bernaldes, Adriano Montes, Francisco Pamaran, Jr. and Victor Casabal.

Currently, two third generation Tirols named Victoriano III (nicknamed “Ryan”) and Will Tyron, sons of Victoriano Jr., have also joined the august Fraternity and barring unforeseen circumstances, “Ryan” is expected to be elected master of the lodge in the coming year.

Together, the clan’s combined years of administering the affairs of the lodge totaled 17 years, with eldest David as master of the lodge for a full six years.

It will be near-impossible to name all those who have made indelible imprints in lodge affairs. But a few deserve mention:

1..Pedro Mende Sr.’s footsteps were followed by son Emmanuel whose footprints would also be retraced by his own two sons, Peter Emman and Mark Noel, the last mentioned of which is the incumbent master of the lodge.

2. Simplicio Doron; master in 1962, was followed by his son Niceto who also became master in 1991. Both are now peacefully reunited at the Great Beyond.
3. Lorenzo A. Lopena who was master of the lodge in 1970 (and then reelected in 1982-83) were followed by sons Jason and Joseph in the twenty first century.
4. Uriel Leopando followed the footsteps of his brother Maximo who became master in 1960.
5. Othoniel Galia followed the footsteps of his father Juan and namesake Atty. Donato.
6. As of this writing Fernando Columnas is the “Benjamin” or the newest member of the lodge.


MEMBERS OF OTHER LODGES WHO DECIDE TO ENROL

Masons also call themselves “travelers”. When they visit a lodge where they are not members, they are considered sojourners or visitors. After proper identification that members of the Craft alone knew, they are admitted to the lodge and with certain limitations are entitled to enjoy all the amenities that the lodge offers. It is not surprising therefore that visitors who decide to stay permanently in a place where a lodge is located would apply for dual membership and when accepted, would become regular members of the lodge. Two members in the current roster belonging to this category are:

1. Eugene “Jack” Galbreath, an American mason, who, upon marrying a Filipina and deciding to stay in this beautiful island for good, applied for dual membership and was accepted. He became master of the lodge in year 2005. and
2. This writer- a member of Quezon City Lodge No. 122 who decided to transfer residence to Guindulman, a town located 85 kilometers away from the lodge. He dutifully attends the lodge’ stated meetings towing along his wife Lorma to Tagbilatan as he felt it incomprehensible to leave her alone in the house whenever he is not around.

A RISING STAR WORTHY TO MENTION

Congressman Adam Jala of the 3rd district is not a Freemason but he belongs to a fraternal institution that was established in 1917 called the DeMolays, the youth organization created by the Masonic Fraternity that produced immortal names like John Wayne, Walt Disney and William “Bill” Clinton.

This youth group also produced Eli Buendia, Willie Revillame and the home-grown Luke Mijares of the local entertainment world.

15 comments:

Constante Pacis said...

Jun,
I will forward this article to Loly without your permission. I hope you do not mind. It is interesting on 2 points. This will give them a little understanding of the geographic history of Bohol together with their culture. It looks like I can give a better picture of Bohol as a whole during table conversations. I do not blame them because while they were there, they spent most of their time in their own little world - indoors and school. The second point is that their late father was active at the Rafael Palma College as dean, Dept. of Commerce during its inception before he left for Manila to work at Ramon Roses Publication. I also learned that during his short stay with the school, he had 100% passing rate of his first graduates in CPA board exams. that year, the only non-Manila school to have that honor.

Tante

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