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How Masons Effected the Creation of the Modern Day Republic of the Philippines


How Masons effected the creation of the modern day Republic of the Philippines

The first evidence of early Masonic activity in the Philippines was during the brief British occupation of Manila from 1762-1764.  It was noted in a letter now in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, where the Archbishop of Manila requested the demolition of the Manila Cathedral because it was “desecrated” by the British who were holding military, Masonic meetings in the Cathedral.  The request was not granted, and the historic cathedral still stands today as the premier cathedral of the Philippines.

The first lodge in the Philippines was organized in 1856 by a Spanish naval officer, Jose Malcampo y Monge who later became the Spanish Governor General to the Philippines. The lodge was named Primera Luz Filipina (First Philippine Light) chartered under the Grande Oriente Lusitano of Portugal. From then on, additional lodges were organized – first by the Germans, then followed by the British, then by another Spanish lodge.  No Filipinos were admitted into these lodges.

The first Philippine lodge was organized in Barcelona, Spain, in 1889 by Graciano López Jaena together with some Filipino students and reformists who formed the Logia Revolución under the Gran Oriente Español. In 1890, López Jaena and other Filipino Mason Reformists organized the 2nd lodge named the Logia Solidaridad in Madrid. In January 1891, Filipino Masons in Barcelona and Madrid sought the permission of the Gran Oriente Español to establish lodges in the Philippines.  This was granted on January 6, 1892. The first Filipino Lodge in the Philippines (Logia Nilad) was constituted. A year later, more than 100 new members were accepted to the new lodge with more lodges being organized throughout the country. With the increasing growth of members and lodges within the country, a Regional Grand Council was organized on December 16, 1893.

The country’s popularity and growth of Masonry attracted the alarm and ire of the Spanish Friars who, with their strong influence in the colonial government, initiated a brutal campaign of arrest, exile, imprisonment, torture, and even execution of Masons. The Spanish Government, at the urging of the Friars, banned Masonry and all Masonic activities on December 30, 1896. Coincidentally, Dr. Jose Rizal (the Philippine National Hero), a Master Mason and Past Master of the first Filipino Lodge (Logia Nilad) was executed, and was followed a few days later by the execution of the “13 Martyrs” who were mostly Masons. By then the Philippine Reform Movement has had turned into a full-blown, armed Revolution. The roll of the Revolutionary Movement leaders was filled with Masons like General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the First (Revolutionary) Philippine Republic, Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution, and Apolinario Mabini, the brains of the Revolution, to name a few.

The Filipino rebels gained victories throughout the country which eventually led to the Spanish to be being isolated, besieged and surrounded in the Walled City/Fort of Intramuros in Manila. Just when victory was ripe for the taking by the Filipino Revolutionaries, the United States entered the political scene with the arrival of Admiral George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron in Manila Bay on May 1898.  Through the treaty of Paris in 1898 between Spain and the United States with the Philippines not invited to participate, the Philippines were ceded (sold) by Spain  to the United States for $20 million. This agreement did not bode well with the Filipinos who were left out of the  negotiations. The Philippine Revolutionaries this time resumed hostilities against the American occupiers, called the Philippine American Revolution, which lasted for three years from 1899-1902.

With the American occupation of the Philippines, which lasted until Philippine independence in 1946, came the arrival of American Masons and American Lodges.  One was a lodge organized by Military volunteers from North Dakota. Another was a Prince Hall Lodge organized by African American servicemen from Missouri. There was also a lodge organized under the Grand Lodge of California.  With the growth of American lodges, there was also a resurgence of Filipino lodges under the former Regional Council.

On November 17, 1912, three lodges of the Grand Lodge of California held a meeting to prepare for the eventual organization of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. On December 12, 1912, a convention was held with delegates from these three lodges where the completed constitution for the new Grand Lodge was presented and approved with Brother Eugene Stafford elected as the first Grand Master. None of the Filipino lodges or Masons were invited to this convention. The reason for this non-invitation was that the petitioning Lodges were anticipating that the presence of “Irregular Lodges” (lodges of foreign jurisdiction) in their ranks that would lead the Grand Lodge of California to disapprove the petition. Being sensitive to the needs of the Filipino Masons and in the true spirit of “Brotherly Love,” Brothers from both sides, notably led by the First Grand Master Eugene Stafford on the American side and Manuel L. Quezon, (the future first President of the Commonwealth Republic of the Philippines) on the Filipino side, worked tirelessly on the delicate matter of the fusion of the two groups. On February 14, 1917, twenty-seven Filipino Lodges of the former Regional Council were constituted into the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. After all the business of the fusion were attended to and completed, the group proceeded to elect officers for the coming Masonic year. The American members of the Grand Lodge realized they had effectively handed over to their Filipino brothers control of the Lodge with the Filipinos now having a majority of members and lodges. To the surprise of the Americans, WB Manuel Quezon, a Filipino, was elected as Deputy Grand Master. When asked about the election turn-out, Manuel Quezon reported saying that since the Americans were magnanimous in handing over the control of the Grand Lodge to the Filipinos, the Filipinos would share the privilege and honor of the Grand Masters Chair alternately on a yearly rotation with their American counterparts. That honorable agreement lasted from 1917-1974 when the last American Grand Master MW John Wallace was elected.

Masonry and Masons had very a strong influence in the direction and outcome of the Reform and Revolutionary periods of Philippine history, both of which were organized, led, and fought by Masons. The Philippine flag, which was designed by Brother General Emilio Aguinaldo, has strong Masonic influence, it being patterned after the Masonic apron with the “three stars” representing the ”Three Great Lights”.

Today, the Grand Lodge of the Philippines stands strong on its historical foundation with more than 21,000 members from all walks of life in over 460 lodges. Filipino Masonic lodges are also active and growing in US Grand Lodge jurisdictions such as the Grand Lodge of New York, New Jersey and California, to name a few.

I wish to thank my brother-in-law, Past Worshipful Dr Victor Pajares of the Philippines, for his help in the preparation of this article.

Respectfully submitted,

William Friedman

Jephtha Lodge No. 494

An Evening with Psychic Medium Jeffrey Wands

On Saturday, November 5th, Riverhead Lodge #645 Free & Accepted Masons will host “An Evening with Psychic Medium Jeffrey Wands” in the Lodge collation room.  General Admission tickets are only $40.00 per person and open to All.  Each attendee will receive a complimentary glass of wine or beer with admission.

Doors open at 6:00 pm with Mr. Wands taking center stage at approximately 7:00 pm.

This is a great event and Mr. Wands is always quite engaging with the audience.

Tickets may be purchased online here at

Tickets can also be purchased via mail by contacting Terry Maccarrone at (631)-334-3698.

The venue is handicapped accessible.

Riverhead Lodge is located at 1246 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead, immediately south of the Rte. 58 traffic circle. The entrance is at the rear of the building.

Call with questions.

Rules to live by

If you have every looked closely at Masonic protocol & etiquette as well as Masonic Landmarks and law, it should become evident that there is a common thread.

WBro. Washington wrote a booklet on rules of etiquette for gentleman. He gleaned most of this from books he had read as a boy and young man and from most sources here tried to live by these same rules.

I recently came across a social media post for “Rules to teach your son”. The post reminded me a lot of WBro. Washington’s booklet, albeit with a slightly more modern twist on it. I would also re-title this “Rules to teach a young Mason” The items in Red are the ones I would include that list. What’s your list look like?

Rules to teach your son

  1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.  – Common Courtesy
  2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs. – Be bold when called for
  3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king. – Among men this is an axiom
  4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer. – Common Sense
  5. Request the late check-out. – Enjoy life
  6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it. – Self Explanatory of course
  7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard. – Never step down, always bid men step up to you
  8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas. – Again, Common courtesy
  9. Play with passion or don’t play at all… – If you are going to do something, give it your all
  10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye. – Directly out of WBro. Washington’s booklet
  11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be. – Don’t let anything stop you in your pursuit of your dreams
  12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point. – Certainly true
  13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her. – Be the rock for the ones you love
  14. You marry the girl; you marry her family. – The nuclear and extended family is what make you what you are, love all of them
  15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath. – Never let them see you sweat
  16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone. – Know thyself
  17. Never be afraid to ask out the best-looking girl in the room. – pursuit of happiness
  18. Never turn down a breath mint. – share and accept what is offered to you graciously
  19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words. – Always overdress for an event or occasion. You can always remove to dress down
  20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising. – Momento Mori
  21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him. – Yes “thank you for your service is always nice, if you get the chance buy them a drink or event lunch. 
  22. Eat lunch with the new kid. – seek out new members at meetings and get to know them, introduce them to well informed brothers
  23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it. – This, as in all things, is an axiom
  24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win. – Your mom will always be your mom
  25. Manners maketh the man. – Again, right out of WBro. Washington’s booklet
  26. Give credit. Take the blame. – Definitely applies to every WM
  27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied. – Always and every time
  28. Write down your dreams. – Set goals, write them down and reference them regularly
  29. Take time to snuggle your pets, they love you so much and are always happy to see you. – of course, they are family
  30. Be confident and humble at the same time. – Stand erect among men, be the example of grace and humility
  31. If ever in doubt, remember whose son you are that you are a Freemasons and REFUSE to just be ordinary! – This is key to showing those in your life and the world what a Freemason is.
  32. In all things lead by example not explanation. – Another truism if there were any

The rules above (with commentary) are not arbitrary. Like the “Golden Rule”, they have come down from antiquity from many, if not all, civilizations in one form or another.

Civilization must have “rules” like the golden rule and maybe even some or all of those above to be civilized. Freemasons need to embody No. 32 and exemplify it in all we do.

Just to cement the ideas above I will also offer the following:

In The Farmer’s Almanac for 1823 published at Andover, Mass., the following was printed under the heading,
 of a Freemason”

The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of Mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct.
Other men are honest in fear of punishment which the law might inflect they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world.
A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same.
He kneels before the Universal Throne of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his future protection.
He venerates the good men of all religions.
He disturbs not the religion of others.
He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself.
He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended.
He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge because he is honest upon principal.

Finally, I believe Bro. John “The Duke” Wayne said it more simply, yet succinctly:


“I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” ― Bro. John Wayne “The Shootist”




It would really be a wonderful thing to hear what the Brothers say about the rules above, would you add any, remove any, re-word any? If you want a lively discussion in a Lodge, bring up what does it mean to be a Freemason, and a man.