Tuesday, September 11, 2007

MASONRY PROPAGATES ITS SEEDS IN BOHOL

(September 16, 2007)

In the previous issue of this newspaper, readers were informed of the new edifice called “Dagohoy Lodge No. 84” standing majestically at the side of a cemetery. But do they know that another two-story building with the same name previously stood along J. S. Torralba St. at the heart of the city but was demolished to give way to the new building that was recently constructed as mentioned earlier?! So let this writer narrate to you a brief flashback on Masonic history but let him first explain the two definitions of the word “lodge” as used in Masonry.

I. THE TWO MEANINGS OF THE WORD “LODGE”

In Masonry, the word “lodge” has two distinct meanings and both are intertwined to each other. These are:

1. A lodge is a certain number of brethren, duly assembled, with a set of symbolic working tools and a charter or dispensation authorizing them to meet, and
2. it also refers to the edifice or building where the members mentioned in Item 1 hold their regular and special meetings, and such other functions necessary for their existence.

II. A BRIEF FLASHBACK ON BOHOL’S MASONIC HISTORY

Eight decades ago or in 1922, two intrepid gentlemen, one a doctor of veterinary medicine named Alfonso Lecaros and the other a constabulary officer named Eulalio Tanedo thought of establishing a Masonic lodge in this beautiful and scenic island called Bohol. But two procedural requirements stood in the way. These are:

1. At least ten members of good standing of other lodges should enlist as charter members, and.
2. a dispensation from the Grand Lodge is needed so that a charter authorizing them to meet may later be issued.

Undaunted by the awesome task of convincing other brethren to join them in their noble objectives, the two convinced twelve other masons so that a dispensation to form a new lodge may be realized.

.The first meeting of the newly-formed lodge was held on November 23,1922 and two full months later or on January 23, 1923 the Grand Lodge issued a charter and named the lodge “Dagohoy” after the island’s rebel chieftain whose exploits, historical records reveal, lasted eight full decades and was registered as the longest armed rebellion to succeed in the entire archipelago. The cause of his armed struggle against the Spanish Conquistadors is a meaty source of a juicy article but will no longer be touched as like the “Blood Compact” that has become a vignette of the island’s colorful history, so was the rebellion of Francisco “Dagohoy” Sandejas .that was acclaimed as a successful struggle against the might of Spanish sovereignty.

To complete the name of the newly-formed lodge, it was assigned the number 84 to indicate it was the eighty fourth lodge to be established by the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, thus formally naming it “Dagohoy Lodge No. 84.”

The fledgling lodge initially sailed on rough and stormy seas. The charter members being mostly from Cebu City and other environs had to travel by boat for at least five hours one way to attend the monthly regular and other special meetings Their hardy efforts were amply rewarded for in time permanent residents of the town enlisted as petitioners and after their formal raising as master masons finally dominated its membership.

III. THE CONSTRUCTION OF BOHOL’S FIRST MASONIC LODGE

With the establishment of the lodge as mentioned in the first definition having been successfully executed, the members then endeavored to erect the building as explained in the second definition. Previous to its construction, it held its meetings at a rented house in Tagbilaran.

The actual construction of the building started in April 1928 and was completed a full year later. Timbers were obtained from the forests of the towns of Anda and Sierra Bullones. One can well imagine the Herculean efforts in bringing the needed materials to the site entailed. It must have been done in much the same way when King Solomon’s Temple was built using for materials the timbers that were felled and prepared from the forests of Lebanon. And when completed, the imposing two story building stood regally along J. S. Torralba St., barely a stone-throw away from Shopsville and was to stay there for a full 77 years before it gave way to the new edifice that was built near the cemetery.

IV. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MASONIC CEMETERY

In January 11, 1931, Bro. Arnold Bartlett, Superintendent of Schools of Bohol died. Despite his being a Roman Catholic however, his mortal remains was denied burial at the town’s Catholic Cemetery. This sad experience prompted the brethren to establish their own burial grounds such that on November 14, 1931 a 2,750 square meter lot was purchased at Dampas that for seven decades served as resting place of the members whose mortal remains were to rest until the final judgment day.

This cemetery would be among the handful Masonic burial sites (Sorsogon City also has one) that exist in the country today.


Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not in any way represent those of this newspaper nor of the organization of which he is a member in good standing..

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