Monday, September 17, 2007

THE FREEMASONS OF BOHOL

(September 23)

Readers of the first two issues of this column learned of the new edifice, the cemetery and the old building that were all appropriately marked “Dagohoy Lodge No. 84”. It’s now time to talk about its people. But first here is a Masonic definition of the word “lodge” in its pure and simple form.

“A lodge is a certain number of brethren with a Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, and a charter or dispensation authorizing them to meet.”

And so let’s now talk about them.

THE LODGE’S EARLY YEARS

In like manner Francisco Sandejas, aka “Dagohoy” is not a true-blue Bol’anon but a Cebuano by birth who migrated to Inabanga, Bohol and there became a Cabesa de Barangay before he became a rebel chieftain and who engineered the longest-lasting rebellion in the entire archipelago, so were all the charter members of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 numbering fourteen All were transient residents of the beautiful and bucolic island called Bohol. Consider these:

The first three lights, yeah, that’s how the three principal officers of the lodge are called, are not natives of the place. Elected Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens at its inception in 1922 were Alfonso Lecaros, Eulalio Tanedo and Adolfo Aldaba respectively, and they took turns in handling the reins governing the affairs of the lodge consecutively, with Lecaros and Aldaba elected to two full-year terms each, thus ending the rule of the Cebuano brethren only in 1927 when German Yap, a native Bol’anon became its Worshipful Master. After this time, the Cebuano brethren, most of whom were members of Maktan Lodge No. 30, simply contented themselves watching as elders of the lodge, giving valuable advice on matters that relate to its affairs until old age and the rigors of five hours sea travel finally demanded that they finally fade away from the scene.

But the daring and determined efforts of these Cebuano brethren did not turn to naught. Hardy Bol’anons, among them Frank Lombardo, Bernardo Palma, Arturo Fortich, Pio C. Castro, Catalino Castillo, and several others, took over the reins where they left off and managed efficiently, they did. And the lodge performed in accordance to the expectations of the founding members and as mandated by Grand Lodge rules.

Bernardo Palma did even more. As a permanent resident of Tagbilaran employed at the District Engineering Office, he accepted the awesome task of being elected lodge secretary for a good number of years and thus insured the stability and continuity of the lodge’ affairs especially because most of the members at that time were government employees that were subjected to frequent reassignments to other places at any given time.

THE ROSTER’S UNIQUE MEMBERSHIP STATUS

If the Sugbuanons experienced difficulties in attending meetings because of the distance that had to be traversed, some of the native born Boholanos also experienced similar difficulties although no ocean had to be crossed. This was exemplified when on October 6, 1935 the brethren of the lodge gathered together to hear the radio broadcast of the station KZRM in Manila, a radio transmission that was still a novelty then. Together they converged at the residence of Bro. J. D. Jimenez in Tagbilaran to listen to an important news broadcast that had Masonic importance. Among these who attended were Frank Lombardo and his family from Ubay which is 125 kilometers away from Tagbilaran, the family of Alfonso Caday from Jagna (65 kms.), Macario Saniel, Gregorio Loquellano and Nicanor Logronio from Carmen (61 kmos), Casimiro de Sagun and German Yap form Bilar (42 kms.), Claudio Butalid, Leoncio Marapao and Eduardo D. Palac from Calape which is 42 kms traveling via the northern route. Consider also the mode of land transportation during the prewar years and one can well imagine the rough and rugged road that reaching the town of Tagbilaran entails.

THE WAR YEARS

Bol’anons may well be considered an enigma. Resilient to the point of being labeled as passive (remember the local ballad that sings to the rhyme “Kung ikaw Inday mangita pamanhunon, siguruha baya Inday, ang Bul’anon” which when translated means, “Beautiful girl, if you are to look for a man to marry, be certain to look for a man from Bohol”) it also is the seat of the Blood Compact between a local chieftain and the Spaniards that was conducted in the island before the latter finally took over the reins of government under the guise of conquest. The gossip that floats is that while it is acknowledged that there are indeed “gentlemen of the hills” , yet the ruling clique or the commanders are not home grown but are from the island of Negros.

But are the Bol’anons really that meek it will not kick its enemy in the ass when pushed to the wall.?!

Historical records do not tell us so. If you don’t believe this statement, consider first what Dagohoy did. Of course he is not a true-blue Bol’anon but most of his followers of that armed rebellion definitely were! And if this does not convince the readers, consider now the following vignettes from historical records.

During the war when the Filipinos and the Americans numbering about 50,000 were routed by the superior Japanese forces and forced to undergo the Death March at Bataan, they were placed under the overall command of Major General Guillermo Francisco who is a member of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, Another sub-group was led by Major Deogracias U. Tenazas of the same lodge. And if these facts are too old enough to be believed, then read what the marker says after passing the town of Duero on your way to Guindulman and at the side of the road you will read a marker for on that scene it announced the battle between the Filipinos and the Japanese forces that was successfully fought by the local guerillas sometime before the end of World War II.

5 comments:

JoeO said...

Brethren,

My name is Joseph Cubillo Ofamen or Joe and Jojo Ofamen to those who know me there. I belong to San Joaquin Lodge #19 in Stockton, California, where I am currently residing. However, I am frequent in our Islands throughout the year.

I am very glad to find the existence of Freemasonry here in Tagbilaran. I would like to know more about the Dagohoy Lodge #84, and I would appreciate if I could have someone to correspond with, to be informed of the things that you do for Bohol, in a hope that I could be of help to your worthy causes and humanitarian efforts for our community.

Please respond to me at jojoofamen@yahoo.com

My Foundation:

Direct Effect USA Foundation
Stockton, California

Eager to hear from you.

Fraternally,

Joe Ofamen

Anonymous said...

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Jun Bustamante said...

As of this moment, I and my wife were talking and we come across about Freemasonry and immediately said my house just in front of a Masonic lodge in Bohol. I asked what the name of it but she could not tell me right away so I searched in the net and I found Dagohoy Lodge # 84. I asked again if that was the one and she said, yes.
As a Mason in the United States of America, I know for the fact that most Boholanon have relatives here and me, I am most certain that I have a brethren around the world like in Bohol brothers.
It is a will and pleasure to know that your lodge been around for the longest time and I admire very much not only just because my wife knows about masonry.
I belong to Birmingham lodge # 188, Oxon Hill lodge # 231 both in Maryland, U.S.A and Maynilad Lodge # 1521 chartered June 10 2011 in District of Columbia of Washington Grand Lodge. This is the first and only Filipino new Lodge in D.C. which we all proud of. Some brethren in the Philippines joint us for the benefit of it.
As I read your Lodge background I will inform our brothers here if we can have a visit over your area to have some fun.
As a Treasurer of this Lodge, It is my will and pleasure to know that your Lodge still hanging in there and keeping the tradition.
May the blessing to all and may brotherly love prevail.
Brother Jun Bustamante 32nd D

randielou said...

Good day to everyone! I am Randie Lou Pactol, 31 years of age and married to a Boholana. I would like to knock on the doors of the Freemasonry here in Bohol. I am hoping someone can talk me through on how to become a Mason. I would appreciate it much if someone would be kind enough to respond to my inquiry. I can be contacted through email: rlou424@gmail.com or mobile: 0923-3143169

Thanks again! God bless!

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