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.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Masonry is an enigma. It attracts the best minds the world produce and yet its increase is hardly equal to what statisticians call “proportionate to population growth”. One can memorize the various definitions that can be found in books or gloss over the myriad of articles that can be found in the wonderful pages of the Internet and yet not feel the relevance of Masonry until he becomes one. Consider a very simple definition of Masonry as is shown below.

“Masonry is a fraternal organization that teaches moral and ethical values using symbolic builders’ tools to inculcate its lessons”. But how many of the reading public is able to understand what to a member is a simple definition?!

To confound matters, Masonry is a study of morality and social values that are best experienced rather than explained, a mode of instruction that the word “apprenticeship” (this will be explained further later) is eloquently put to play.

The following article, written by this writer’s youngest son, is herein presented to give the reader an idea how an “outsider” views the Masonic Fraternity. This in local parlance says “mag le’ le’ sa’ ta!” or in the Kings language means “let’s peer through a peephole!”

By: Ivan R. Galarosa

It was in 1989 when Dad came home one day. He called a family meeting. Mom’s eyes were already red from tears. Mom, my sister and myself were the only other persons in the house then and so the family meeting started easily. Dad begun by saying: “Children, I just lost my job. But let us not lose hope. Let’s just help each other so that we can return to our normal lives.”

Dad having said that, I suddenly lost my uneasiness. When Dad tells us not to worry, I don’t worry. I knew Dad is good at facing life’s adversities. So when he says everything will be okay, I believe him. Dad was jobless for a month but he did not just sit in the house watching opportunity pass him by. He approached many of his friends and relatives from whom he asked for help, neither to borrow nor beg for money, but to ask for a job.

I really believe in Dad! And it’s because it has never been his habit to borrow money. What he wants is earn it; just give him the opportunity.

At this time also, in addition to looking for a new job, he mentioned something that has occupied him. He said he will shortly join an organization that may change his life and probably ours as well. That was the time Dad became a Mason..

Dad finally got a job, but that was not what caught my attention. Simultaneous with his new job was his acceptance as a member in a nearby Masonic lodge.I thought, since Dad is already a Mason, would he still believe in God? Would we still go to church every Sunday? Well, it is because I’ve heard that Masons don’t believe in God.

I told myself “Dad is also a character, he lost his job and when he found another, he distanced himself from God”. Until finally, I could no longer contain myself and so asked him why he joined Masonry at that particular time.

“Dad, will we still go to church each Sunday?” I asked. He replied as if wanting to hit me at the back of my shoulders. “Ah, what a smart aleck you are. It is you who is too lazy to join us in going to church whenever I ask you!” he replied. “Well, will you still take your communion now that you have become a Mason?” I barked back. “And when did you ever see me take communion? I never took one, even before I became a Mason” was his instantaneous reply almost laughing. And so I finally blurted out and asked him pointblank: “Is it really true you no longer believe in God?”

“Son,” he said, if a Mason does not believe in God, has it ever occurred to you I won’t waste my time joining them?!” was his quizzical reply.But of course! If Dad’s objective was only to turn his back at God, why would he waste his time joining an organization and pay its exorbitant fees. He’ll just turn his back and cease going to church, period!! I did not ask him anymore.

I reckon Dad is really a character.. He immediately got a job and became a brother to Rizal, Bonifacio and Mabini, all in a period of only four months. Many years passed and he sort of made Masonry his career. He enthusiastically accepted various lodge positions and other tasks outside of it. And he even became a Masonic writer and historian. Terrific, huh!!

Just the other day, I watched a movie alone. I saw the movie titled “National Treasure” because they say it was about Masonry and the lost treasurers of the knights during the Middle Ages. I said to myself, what crazy ideas would the movie impart about Masonry? Would it impress upon the moviegoers (again) that Masons don’t believe in God?

In fairness, the movie did nothing of that sort.But I felt something different inside while I was watching the movie, the same feeling that I’ve felt when I read the books “The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.” I again felt the hairs of my skin stand meanwhile my mind was reeling from the question: “Is Masonry this influential it is now often the subject of literary works, be it on books or in movies?” One thing more, if Masonry has a secret that involves riches ( like the Holy Grail or the Lost Treasures of the Knights Templars) are they teaching these to all their members? Is there something Dad knows about these treasures that he must have stumbled upon in his researches?

In my view, the hidden treasures of the Masons, whether in the Philippines or in other countries, are far more valuable than those found by Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) in the movie. In my opinion having a broader mind, “religious tolerance”, love for peers (or neighbors), the never-ending search for truth and their strong faith in God, are the hidden treasures of Masonry.

These riches, I believe, are what they forcibly impress upon their people, only, "one has to display his worth to be able to show that he can handle the daunting task of keeping these 'treasures'". I think it is not material wealth but the spiritual and intellectual riches that they conceal. And why do I believe these are what they hide? Because these are the treasures that Dad has kept on passing to me as I grow up ever since he became a Mason in 1989. There never was a time when he has not inculcated upon me the value of these treasures, and I presume that Dad has already shown me the well-kept hidden cache of wealth that Masons are hiding from public view.

Someday, I may still find out whether my assumptions are true.