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!