Wednesday, January 19, 2005

PRUNING THE LION’S MAILING LIST

Over the last five years since the Grand Lodge Website was introduced in the pages of the Internet, the lion periodically wrote articles for general readership. This opportunity can well be considered similar to the message contained in a juvenile poetic verse that says:

“I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth I knew not where.”

But what started it all was an entry that he made in the Guestbook of then fledgling Website that elicited from the organizers an offer that he join the core group of the Computer Resource Committee (or CRC)..

That group comprised VW Gene V. Sicat as Grand Webmaster who is based in Toronto, Canada; RW Rosauro “Boy” Rosales as GLP List Administrator who resides in New Jersey; Bro. Aquilino “Pong” Javier as US/Canada Web Editor based in Chicago; Bro. Rommel Cardinoza, GLP Asst. List Administrator based in Pangasinan; VW Benny Ty- Coordinator, Liason Officer based in Manila; and the lion as Contributing Editor for the Philippines at nearby Quezon City. Still much later, Bro. Nic Valmoria was added as Asst. Grand Webmaster whose residence was not, however, mentioned. Except for VW Benny, the lion has not had the opportunity of personally meeting the other members of this body.

In fine, the lion started submitting articles, among them, the Brief History of Freemasonry in the Philippines; A Filipino’s Commentary of the Known Origins of Freemasonry and its Impact in the Philippines; Charity, the Loftiest Virtue of All; Famous Filipino Masons and several others. At the suggestion of VW Gene, it also led to the creation of the “Inside the Lodge” and “Special Features” pages. And to add prestige to the Website, the assistance of MW Reynold S. Fajardo, PGM, was solicited, the lion’s mentor and the country’s foremost Masonic historian who gladly lent the lion the draft of an unpublished book that served as a veritable cache of articles that ultimately found its pages in this wonderful world we all call Internet.

Meanwhile the Glphils@yahoogroups.com was also established by RW “Boy” Rosales offering wider circulation and exposure of the materials that were being posted. The target subscribers involved those who do not have time to regularly surf the Net and so communications are achieved through direct mails. It also served as venue for dissemination of articles, queries of brethren and exchange of ideas and thus assured faster communications and wider coverage. The only trouble is, its impact can not effectively be gauged because reactions to articles are hardly, if ever, received.

The readers of the lion’s articles can be grouped in two- those who receive theirs through his personal address book that he has managed to keep through the years, and those that are listed at the Glphils@yahoogroups.com the number of which keep on increasing but whether what were received are being read is pretty hard to tell.

Lately, the management of the Internet Committee was transferred from the core group to the Grand Lodge under care and watchful eye of Bro. Edward See of Dalisay Lodge No. 14 While the Computer Resource Committee was not officially disbanded, it became apparent that for all intents and purposes, it has become inactive.

Unsure of his status in the Committee and not wanting to stir a hornet’s nest, the lion resolved to continue writing but this time, with the end view of having limited but more or less determinable readership. For what good is sending articles to brethren if it only serves as SPAM mails only to be deleted?! This, he reckoned should ideally be done during the ensuing year.

And so the obvious move was to request confirmation from brethren who periodically receive articles from the Internet. Clearly stated, non-receipt of confirmation will be interpreted as lack of interest and therefore will no longer be included in the revised mailing list after the previous year has ended.

The resultant confirmations of the request are revealing: Of those listed in his personal address book, 27 have signified interest and from the Glphils@yahoogroups.com 18 said they would want to periodically receive these mails. From this number, three more were added to accommodate the three lights of a lodge where the lion holds honorary membership totaling the interested readers to 48. A few are still trickling in.

But what the lion considers of special interest are the places of abodes of those who signified. Of the total number, six are based in the United States while eight were scattered over various places in the entire globe reaching as far as Canada, Diego Garcia, Guam and the American Samoa. Six are Senior DeMolays and those that can be traced to local sources are scattered all over the archipelago, making the recipients of these mails as truly scattered all over the country. One is a Grand Light, two are members of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii, and another is a non-Mason whose late father and still-living father-in-law are both members of the Craft. He has also already signified to attend the one-day-conferral in the States but was dissuaded to do so by the lion as the latter felt it would not be for his best interests that he join the Craft that way.

The resultant trimming of the list has chopped off several important names. Some of the brethren whom the lion thought (translate in local parlance to “akala”) were close to him, were erased. Ever heard of that local word to mean “you’re right?!” Lahat ng akala, mali’. (In England, it means “all thoughts are wrong!”) Well, except for one, and that is when you say: “Ay, akala ko, mali”. But that is only because the phrase now involves a double negative, because as mathematicians would tell us, negative multiplied by another negative, will definitely result in a positive.

To all of you out there who are recipients of the articles that the lion periodically sends therefore, the lion has but one request. Your valuable comments, adverse or otherwise, are being encouraged as it will prod the lion to write meaty articles for your special reading interest.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE!
MNEMOSYNE, THE FORGOTTEN GODDESS OF ANCIENT LORE

The above-mentioned title is definitely eye-catching, but only because on a thousand to one ratio (probably even higher), the reader has not gone across this mythical Greek goddess of memory from where the phrase “mnemonic art” was derived. For those not in the know, Mnemosyne (and don’t ask this writer how this name is pronounced) is the daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth) who, in turn, was mother of the nine muses that include Epic poetry, History, Flute playing, Tragedy, etc., etc.

Greek history has it that the poet Simonides of Ceos, circa 556-468 BC, was commissioned by a rich man named Scopas in Thessaly to chant a lyric at a banquet prepared in the latter’s honor. But the former devoted only a half of his time in praise of Scopas and allotted the other half to the divine twins Castor and Pollux, which naturally infuriated the host, and who, after the delivery of the poem, paid the bard only half of what was agreed upon. This in turn, made Simonides leave the banquet hall before the merry making ended. But soonest after the poet left, the roof caved in burying all the guests. When the relatives came to take away the corpses, they could not identify the mangled bodies and so asked the legendary Simonides to help them in the identification, and with his remarkable memory, accurately recalled where each of the guests were seated and thus identified all the bodies.

And what has the above-mentioned historical note got to do with this article? Well, because Cicero, that brilliant Roman, made memory one of the five principal parts of Rhetoric, which is nothing but the art of speaking (or writing) effectively. And Rhetoric, as we all know, is the second of the seven liberal arts and sciences that was eloquently mentioned (but not explained) in the lecture of the fellowcraft degree.

Nice connection with the Craft, eh?! But how did the ancients (Simonides, preferably), practiced this art? Well, here is how Cicero explained it:

“He (meaning Simonides) inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty must select places and form mental images of the things they wish to remember and store these images in the places so that the order of the places will preserve the order of things, and the images of the things will denote the things themselves, and we shall employ the places and images respectively as a wax-writing tablet and the letters written on it.”

The above-mentioned paragraph, incidentally, basically conforms with the treatise of another Roman teacher named Quintillian who lived in AD 35-92, and who, according to history, was a great Roman authority on Rhetoric. He said:

“Think of a large building and walk through its numerous rooms remembering all the ornaments and furnishings in your imagination. Then give each idea to be remembered an image, and as you go through the building again, deposit each image in this order in your imagination. For example, if you mentally deposit a spear in the living room, an anchor in the dining room, you will later recall that you are first to speak of war, then of the navy, etc. The system still works!”

Which now gives us a backgrounder that before the art of printing came into existence, our ancient brethren must have grappled with this art memorizing our rituals the same way as Simonides and company, but it should be reasonable to assume that that procedure must have been a bane as it is now, despite the coded monitors that are now readily available at our disposal.

And so let us now tackle the present tense.

From this writer’s personal experience, it does help if the one memorizing gets into his mind the entire substance on what he is to deliver, like in the lecture of the entered apprentice degree where it is best that he recalls the steps or sequences of the things he has to memorize. And the letters that is printed in the coded monitor which signifies the starting letter of the word about to be recited is indeed a very great help to the entire lecture that had to be delivered word for word.

Let this writer now apply the art to practice..

Our statutes require proficiency by a candidate before he can be advanced to a higher degree. Thus, an entered apprentice had to memorize the catechism for the EAM degree before he can be passed, an FCM to memorize his own catechism and so on and so forth as he progress up the Masonic ladder. With the help of the coded monitor, the first letters of the word of which, were printed to serve as guide and under the watchful eye of the Worshipful Master, of course.

Advancing on the topic a little further, proficiency certificates are likewise required by either the District Deputy Grand Master, the District Grand Lecturer or the Grand Lodge Inspector from the three lights, not only on the opening and closing ceremonies but more important, on the lecture of the three degrees as applicable before every installation. And still more important, even the Grand Master at his installation, is also subjected to reiterate the master’s oath, and this no longer needs further elaboration.

Which reminds this writer of a recent installation ceremony of a Grand Lodge Inspector that was done by the District Deputy Grand Master who was assisted by the District Grand Lecturer as Master of Ceremonies. Realizing at closing time that the lights were not that proficient, the DDGM announced during the dignitaries’ hour that he will be coming back in two months’ time to reexamine the lights. Sounds fine, only, he and his Master of Ceremonies also read verbatim the monitor during the GLI installation!!

This writer can only look amused at the comic situation by paraphrasing that old country song which says: “When will we ever learn?”

Aray ko po!!
===

Note: Historical data were largely taken from a book titled “The Discovers” by Daniel J. Boorstin

VISITING THE CAPITOL MASONIC TEMPLE BRETHEN



The scenario was, for all intents and purposes, the same as the last visit that I and the missus conducted last September. Together, the primary purpose was to pay a call to our three children, their respective spouses and our four grandchildren and thus enjoy with them the Christmas season. But that is where the similarity of purpose ends, for individually, we have different itineraries during our almost four weeks’ stay in the metropolis; she to visit her former officemates that she left behind when I compelled her to resign and join me in our migration to the South, her many friends at the prayer meeting that she usually attends to during Thursdays, and her favorite beauty parlor that has already been part of her life ever since she became and adolescent. I, on the other hand, have a very simple schedule, just be with my brethren at the Capitol Masonic Temple. Thus it was that my first itinerary after we arrived in metropolitan Manila was to attend the stated meeting of Quezon City Lodge No. 122, my mother lodge.

I arrived at the Capitol Masonic Temple before two in the afternoon and there hobnobbed with the brethren who arrived earlier. WM Jerome Gabionza was on time. So were his two lights- SW Nestor Malana and Francis Pagulayan. MWs Reynold Fajardo and Agustin Mateo, VWs Ager Amagna, Ev Salvo, Dennis Gabionza, and BJ Torres, WB’s Alex Fabian, James Donadilla, Jonathan Florendo, Mario Ignacio and several others were also there. It was a time for “kumustahan”.

In fine the main fare of the stated meeting, that of electing its officers was held. The two lights, SW Nestor and JW Francis were routinely elevated to the position of Worshipful Master and Senior Warden, respectively, while Bro. Joe Gabionza, younger brother of the outgoing Worshipful Master was elected Junior Warden. Elder brother VW Dennis was also elected Secretary. It was a case of one brother out and two brothers coming in as imposing lodge officers!!

The traditional Christmas party of the lodge was held the next day. But unlike in previous years where it was done at the PRRM building near Mother Ignacia Avenue, it was this time held at the imposing residence of MW Reynold S. Fajardo, PGM. Even VWs Saul Exmundo, Louie Reyes and Santiago “Boy” Gabionza, Jr. three lodge stalwarts who failed to attend the previous day’s stated meeting were present. In addition, most of their respective families composed of spouses, children and grandchildren were there to enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season.

The next Saturday I attended a similar election of the officers of two other lodges, Rafael Palma Lodge No 147 and Mandaluyong Lodge No. 277. The former also promptly elevated its two Wardens to the next higher ranks and also elected Bro. Jun Farcon as Junior Warden. In addition, it elected VW “Mawi” Lazaro lodge Secretary as WB Zito Ochoa begged off from being reelected.

Meanwhile at the other lodge hall, Mandaluyong Lodge No. 277 had a spirited election. The two incumbent Wardens were curiously absent and so WB Mike Benjamin, its Worshipful Master, was reelected and in fine also saw the election of Bros. Jun de Ocampo and Jojo Eleazar to the positions of Senior and Junior Wardens, respectively. The lodge at this point experienced infusion of young bloods as the three lights are basically young, in matters of biological ages, that is. The other officers, from the Treasurer to Auditor in the persons of WB Danilo Flores and VWs Kim Alvin Villanueva and Roger Flores, were also promptly reelected. It also gave me the opportunity to rub elbows with VW Juanito Abergas, Region VII’s Director of Public Works. After which, the stated meeting was concluded and the brethren of the two lodges enjoyed their fellowship at the two rooms at the ground floor of the Capitol Masonic Temple.

During the Christmas lull, I sidestepped to the Grand Lodge and procured the Certificate of Good Standing form that was required for my petition for dual membership. Posthaste, I had the form signed by the Worshipful Master of my mother lodge and endeavored to get the signature of our elected lodge Secretary to no avail. It turned out he was evasive in affixing his signature as he was no longer functioning as lodge secretary for reasons he alone can tell. Realizing the predicament, I consulted MW Fajardo, the incumbent Grand Secretary who forthwith gave the assurance that his signature and that of the Worshipful Master will suffice. The revered elder also briefed me on the status of the Masonic book that I helped him write, which he said was now awaiting printing and is expected to be off the press before the term of MW Eugenio Labitoria is over.

Then came the first Saturday of Year 2003. Even before leaving our residence, I already expected with bathed breath attending the stated meeting of Laong Laan Lodge No. 185, a lodge where along with two others, I hold honorary membership. I was fully aware that in a matter of only six years this lodge has progressively achieved becoming the strongest lodge at the Capitol Masonic Temple. Not only does it hold its meetings clad in the mandated white barong tagalog, dark pants and black shoes , but its attendance is also often spiced by visiting brethren from other lodges, a distinctive mark of distinction signaling that it has already arrived.

But as the meeting starts at three, I thought it wise to attend the stated meeting of Marikina Lodge No. 119 first. Its incumbent Worshipful Master is, after all, WM Alfredo Andres, a fraternal brother I’ve met at Mount Moriah Lodge No. 252 some months back when I sojourned in Cebu City and who saw to it that I didn’t get lost in that burgeoning queen city of the South. This lodge also promptly elevated its two Wardens, and in addition, also elected Bro. Nestor Estaris, a well-liked PNP officer, for its Junior Warden sitting in the South.

Back at Laong Laan Lodge No. 185, I was greeted by WM Roberto “Bong” Fajardo who just recuperated from an acute case of meningitis and had himself downed at St. Luke’s Hospital. The attendance was robust and true enough, save for one visiting brother, all were wearing white barongs. Glad I came clad in the same outfit otherwise, I would have looked like a solitary black sheep in a flock of whites.

The meeting proceeded with vigor. In addition to the regular stated meeting format, it was also spiced by two Masonic Education lectures, with the first being conducted by the Worshipful Master who narrated his experience during his confinement at St. Luke Hospital, while the second lecture was conducted by this writer who forthwith delved on the symbolism of the three pillars.

The attendance during the stated meeting was robust. Three of the four district officers, namely, VW’s Celso S. Viray, DDGM, Raynor Taroy and Allan Bontuyan were likewise present. So was visiting brother from Saigon Lodge No. 185, a Senior DeMolay named Bro. Ephraim de Mesa of the Abad Santos Chapter, Order of DeMolay.

The election was likewise done as predicted. Bros. John Teng and Billy del Rosario were elevated to the posts of Worshipful Master an Senior Warden, respectively, while Bro. John Sy, its Senior Deacon became its Junior Warden. WB Johnny Flaviano, who assumed the awesome task of Secretary some six years back, also begged off from being reelected due to pressure of work and therefore paved the way for the election of Bro. Albert Encarnacion, a comparatively new but very energetic Mason ever to don the lambskin apron. WB Gene Cortez and VW Noe de la Cerna were also routinely reelected Treasurer and Auditor, respectively.

The meeting ended and the traditional fellowship at a nearby restaurant ensued. And what better enjoyment can be had except enjoying the usual food and drinks?!

Two days later I and the missus boarded the Superferry for our return trip to our haven in Guindulman town, and in the stillness of the night recalled the events that transpired. The replacement of secretaries in the three lodges that I visited was sure a welcome respite that will redound to the benefit of the concerned lodges, for as they say “a secretary’s job is never ended”. As an afterthought, I also cannot help but wonder out aloud: “When will my next visit to the brethren of the Capitol Masonic Temple be?!!.”
THE SALIENT TEACHINGS OF THE CHARGE OF THE ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE APPLIED


Last month, WB John Teng sent the lion an e-mail the text of which is quoted in full below:

VW Sir,

How's the Lion doing? Reckon the Lion and the Lion Tamer are in the best of health.

Just to give you an update, Laong-Laan Lodge will have its next stated meeting on April 03, 2004. We will be passing possible two candidates, Bros. Sweke Palacios and Ric Sy.

You may be physically far from us but we all know that your heart is still very much with us as a Laong-Laaner. We all missed the times when you enlightened us no ends with your Masonic Education. May we therefore, trouble you by giving you an assignment. Can you write again a 10 to 15 minutes Masonic Education, any subject of your choice and e-mail it to me. We will gladly assign someone to read your article.

John Teng, PM

Forthwith, the lion sent WB John his reply as follows:

WB John:

I’m sure glad to hear from you again. For a while I thought you have decided to join the forgotten masters.

It seems I have suddenly lost my skills at writing Masonic Education articles and it might take me time to regain my literary pen. But don’t worry, I plan to visit my kids this end-April and expects to attend our stated meeting this coming May.

Bro. Jun

On second thought, the lion decided he could not defer WB John’s request and so here is a Masonic Education Lecture that hopefully the brethren of Laong Laan Lodge No 185, a lodge where the aging lion proudly holds honorary membership, may enjoy hearing. And what appropriate topic can the lion compose other than his insight on the salient teachings of the “Charge of the Entered Apprentice degree?” And so, let his discourse begin.

The Craft’s uncoded portion of the monitor says:

“As a Mason, you are taught to regard the Volume of the Sacred Law as the great light in your profession, to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and justice, and to regulate your actions by the divine precepts it contains. In it you will find the important duties you owe to God, your neighbor and yourself. To God, by never mentioning His name but with that awe and reverence that is due from the creature to his Creator, by imploring his aid in all your lawful undertakings, and by looking up to Him in every emergency for comfort and support. To your neighbor, by acting with him upon the square, by rendering him every office which justice and mercy may require, by relieving him his distresses and soothing his affliction, and by doing to him as you would that he should do unto you. And to yourself, by such a prudent and well-regulated course of discipline that shall best conduce into the preservation of your corporeal and mental faculties in their fullest energy, thereby enabling you to exert the talents wherewith God has blest you, as well to His glory as to that of your fellow creatures.”

But if one will note, the said Charge focused on learning the “Volume of the Sacred Law” which admittedly is not easy to dissect. The lion, for one, has a collection of five versions of the Holy Bible which will be itemized later. Truthfully however, owning these copies and understanding their divine precepts are two entirely different things.

As a first step of this lecture, the lion condensed the lengthy paragraph that is quoted earlier and substituted the answer that the Greatest Teacher of all time made when asked as to what is God’s greatest commandment to mankind. Jesus said:

“Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself!

So we now have three short topics, namely, (a) God (b) your neighbor and (c) yourself. Having identified these, let the lion now dissect them in reverse order, in a layman’s point of view, and in the third person’s perspective.

1. TO HIMSELF

It is not unknown to the brethren that one of the main reasons the lion retired was because of failing health, he being a diabetic. Not only that, he was also suffering from acute back pain when he and his tamer transferred residence to this bucolic place. So, once settled, he e-mailed our Worshipful Master who was then the Junior Warden, for medical advice via the aegis of the Internet. The Warden dutifully prescribed two kinds of medicines that he said the lion should take for three whole months without fail. The lion did get free consultation but the cost of those medicines was quite expensive the lion wondered whether the savings he mooched on free consultation did not offset the significant cost. But the back pain indeed disappeared and sincere thanks to our Worshipful Master is therefore well deserved.

Having regained his health somehow, his next effort at further improving it was to savor the seabreeze that freely blew from the pristine beach at their backyard that was being blocked by the cemented fence. To solve the problem, the lion had the fence torn down and replaced it with a steel fence made of angle bars and consequently allowed the fresh air to freely enter the backyard and the house. Needless to say, his health improved further, even allowing him to dry their share of the palay harvest, a task that previously had to be assigned to their neighbor for a fee.

2. TO HIS NEIGHBORS

The new fence did not only allow the seabreeze to enter their premises, it also made them notice their neighbors who live in abject poverty. Right beside their backyard are families of four fishermen whose huts are without water and electric connections, and only one of the four huts has a luxury of a simply-made toilet, which automatically made theirs a common relieving facility. Which reminded the lion during his early years at the boarding house while still studying in the metropolis when he had to wait for his turn to relieve himself when another boarder was ahead of him on the much-coveted seat! (There are of course other neighbors, but their condition are not as miserable.)
.
On all those, the lion and his tamer decided to help in whatever way they can. Among these are:

1. Installing two electric lights to lighten up their backyard thus also lighting these huts. These lights also served as beacons for the returning fishermen from the sea.
2. Facilitated the installation of a link-bridge that connected the cut-portion of the seawall enabling the residents to cross it in going to and from the market. This project was made possible by VW Juanito P. Abergas, DPWH Regional Director for the Visayas.
3. Assisted the neighbors whenever emergency occurs, like accompanying the son of a neighbor who was suffering from dehydration to a town hospital that he may be attended to by a competent physician, or buying, at her expense, the medicines needed whenever a neighbor gets sick..
4. Gave succor to a neighbor whose one-year old son died, thereby enabling the parents to bury the boy’s mortal remains immediately..
5. Sponsored the tuition, transportation cost and school expenses of a neighbor’s daughter who graduated first honor from the elementary grades. The only condition for the scholarship is that she should not get a grade below 80% in any of her school subject.
6. Installed a mini-basketball court for the benefit of the kids. WB John, please take note.
7. Allotted about a hundred square meters space at the back of the back yard that serves as combined mini-park and playground that the children are able to utilize during week-ends and even during the early nights.
8. When the water pump that was being used by these neighbors conked out and thus compelled the female teenagers to take their respective baths at the other side of the road thereby exposing their scantily covered breasts, the lion tamer immediately had the pump repaired. She also had the lighted electric post that was felled by the typhoon last December restored, thus also allowing the women to wash their dirty clothes during the early evenings.
9. Initiated the Harelip Repair project in coordination with the Christian Service International as funding sponsor and the Ramiro Community Hospital that helped a total of 21 harelip patients in a year’s time. This project also encouraged two fraternal brothers to donate P2,000 each as their contribution to this worthy endeavor and to which, their generosity is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
10. Whenever an important event occurs, (like Christmas, New Year or Valentine,) the lion tamer organizes a get-together party at the backyard for the benefit of the residents to their enjoyment. As of this writing, an Easter get together is again on the trestleboard.

3. To God

The lion earlier said that he has five different versions of the Holy Bible which he reads sparingly to help him understand God’s divine precepts. These are: (1) The Revised Berkeley Version that was distributed by Gideon’s International, and being his first book, is naturally his favorite as it was the book he is accustomed to use; (2) the King James Version, where most of the quotations in the Masonic rituals can be found, and the other two English, namely, (3) the Catholic Version, a spare gift given to his son during his marriage in 1999 and (4) the Good News Bible that he found lying around in their newly established residence, are used as reference materials whenever questions on interpretations differ, while the last, or (5) the Visayan translation of the New Testament, is read only whenever the lion wanted to acquaint himself with the intricacies of God’s word in the local dialect.

And it is here where the lion and his tamer differ in their approach at communing with the Great Creator. While the lion contents himself with just reading the Holy Writ and practicing its messages to the best of his ability, she goes to church and prays the rosary daily, involves herself in weekly prayer meetings, and even organized a group called “Lakas Loob Para Sa Diyos” so that the leaking roof of the church could be repaired at a cost of about three quarters of a million pesos.

Admittedly, the perception of some of the town’s residents are not wholesome. The town’s church elders, learning that the lion is a practicing Mason, read a “precana” (a prepared homily that denounced Masons as worshipping the devil, spitting on the cross and denouncing Christ) when the lion tamer attended a religious gathering causing her to be visibly upset. When informed, the lion, instead of commenting, just shrugged his shoulders; Jose Rizal, our country’s foremost hero, after all, stoically said in his Mi Ultimo Adios.

“I go where faith can never kill and where God reigns ere on high!”

Thank you for your attention.

Bro. Jun

THIS PESKY MASON


Despite the wealth of topics that are convertible into articles, the aging lion has decided to rest his pen during the current year. For example, much like the New Year revelry that the lion tamer organized for the benefit of our neighbors to usher the advent of the stork, (See New Year at the Lion’s Den) they again celebrated a unique Valentine party at their backyard with practically the same participants but with an additional dog meat served as “pulutan”. Or marking the first anniversary of their harelip project that tallied for them a total of 21 harelip repair patients which in the gambler’s lingo resulted in an unbeatable “Black Jack!” Or his tussle with BOHECO II to have the date of reading clearly indicated in the meter card that involved no less the Energy Regulatory Commission as referee where the lion used to the hilt the Internet facility! But in fine the lion mused, “ ang pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko’ or lifting one’s own bench can be boring!” and so, the attendant silence.

But the other night, the lion tamer returned home from an invitation of the wife of her elderly cousin to attend the “cenaculo” visibly upset. She reported that during the homily that is normally held during such gatherings, her cousin-in-law read a “blue book” the subject of which involved “Masons who worshipped the devil and who allegedly are out to conquer the world.” As “sharing” was not part of the affair, she could not give her insights on the issue. She was, however, certain the readings was directed at her because except for the nonagenarian who is now in his dotage years and who is now almost always snugly resting in bed all day, the aging lion is the only other Mason in town that can be counted by the finger.

The lion casually told her that “worshipping the devil”, like spitting on the cross and denying Christ were charges that can be traced back to the middle ages, when Pope Clement V and King Philip le Bel accused Jacques DeMolay and the Knights Templar of worshipping the demon called Baphomet. He also explained that the theory that the Freemasons are out to “conquer the world” is likewise old but that the more recent gab can be traced to a paperbacked book written by an author with unknown credentials who claimed that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are creations of the Masonic Fraternity whose concealed aims are to control the world economy through the banking system. The only trouble is, the names mentioned, especially those in the Philippines, are alien to the rolls of the Craft. Now, whether these international bankers are member Masons, there is no way to know, but they surely have not made contacts to the lion for whatever reason these may be!!

Understandably, she was put on the defensive. Her efforts at deepening her faith in this definitely provincial setting by involving herself on as many apostolate, like initiating a mass at our backyard last December, superintending a regular weekly prayer meeting and even organizing another group to raise funds for the town’s dilapidated church roof had made her quite busy. And would you believe they are now about halfway their goal at raising about a million pesos for that last effort, which, in the midst of all these religious tasks, she has counted on her aging lion as her ever-reliable consultant as well as confidant!

And the juicy gossip silently crept through the neighbors’ wagging tongues. Other church habitues commented that for almost two years now, they had observed the lion almost like a hermit who hardly attended the town’s socials. Not even the fiestas that proliferate in almost all barangays. And while it is true that he treks to Tagbilaran City almost every month to attend stated meetings, his demeanor can never be rated as noticeable nor arrogant. Almost everybody knew that he is a member of the Masonic Fraternity whose affiliation and activities they know nothing nor dared care about. What matters, the elders say are the various charitable projects that the couple have initiated which no doubt benefited a number of the needy folks in town.

Past of their riddle of course is the fact that the lion is able to make contact with persons of known probity in the islands. He hobnobs with the ba
CHANCE MEETING WITH AN AMERICAN FRATERNAL BROTHER

Tante, the lion’s email friend who just arrived from the States a week ago was excited over the phone. He asked if this writer was not busy and not fully grasping what he meant answered that other than attending the stated meeting at Tagbilaran on the second Saturday of the coming month, the latter was entirely free for the rest of his time.

It turned out Tante was expecting an American friend that noon and since he knew that his visitor is a Freemason, then perhaps the lion might want to rub elbows with a fraternal brother. The lion’s reply was understandably in the affirmative. Lunch, after all, will also be served..

And so the lion and his tamer went to Bro. Eduardo Palac’s residence where Tante was residing being one of the owner’s six son-in-laws, and at the dining table was introduced to an American who was already having lunch together with about six other people. Tante immediately motioned this writer to take his seat which the former promptly vacated saying: “there surely will be much that you can talk about.”

Bro. Peter Lovell, (hope his surname is spelled right) is an American Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia who is married to a lady surnamed Suganob from Tagbilaran City. In between bites the lion learned that the couple are on a two-week vacation that also served as homecoming for the wife in this rustic and bucolic island called Bohol.

Having arrived last September 16, the couple, together with their one year old son, are already scheduled to return to the States in two days’ time and will make a side trip to Hongkong as part of their vacation but not after enjoying the island’s beautiful scenery, which also included having dinner with some of the brethren of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, where he fraternized with some of the members of the lodge that included his namesake WM Peter Emman Mende, his father VW Maning, WB Momoy Millanar and several others who just appeared at the dinner table at one of the city’s famed eateries while food and drinks were being served. During that dinner, WM Peter invited his American namesake to return to the country next year and attend the forthcoming installation ceremony where Bro. Jack Galbreath, the incumbent Senior Warden who like the guest is an American citizen, is expected to be installed in solemn ceremonies when the opportune time comes.

Getting back to Tante, Bro. Peter and his wife (who already planned to visit the Philippines) were Tante’s guests at a social gathering at their residence in the States some three months back, a regular occurrence of townmates and relatives who plan to make a visit to the country. .At that meeting, Tante saw that Bro. Peter was wearing a ring that his late father once wore during his heyday, and thought that perhaps, the lion might want to meet a fraternal brother on the latter’s visit to their place sometime.

The conversation which was understandably common to Masons also delighted Tante. It turned out another fraternal brother in the States was egging Tante to petition for membership in the Fraternity by attending a one-day conferral on October 4 back at the States. Tante said that Jack, yeah, that’s the other guy’s name of that brother at the other side of the hemisphere, is already facilitating the papers for his petition, only, he could not postpone his trip to the Philippines To the mild reluctance of Peter who thought that Tante’s joining the Craft via the traditional 1-2-3 conferral punches is still the prudent course to follow. During the exchanges of words, Bro. Peter also intimated that in their jurisdiction, one can become a 32º Scottish Mason and later join the Shriners after the customary 3º conferral without any hitch at all. To the mild amusement of this writer recalling the “express” 4th to 32nd degree Scottish Rite conferral that he helped conduct at Tacloban City sometime in 1999 over a period of only two days!!

After lunch, Tante suggested that they at least say “hello” to Bro. Eduardo Palac, the nonagenarian host who was resting in his room. Bro. Peter was however at a loss for words especially because the host was already senile and could no longer talk coherently. Whereupon the lion suggested to Bro. Peter that making his presence felt would be enough, and he could do it by simply extending his hand and giving the s g o t l’s p but instead of uttering the s f t a m’s w he should replace these saying his name, his lodge and lodge number. Whereupon the American guest asked: “You mean, these things that we do on the five points of fellowship??

The lion nodded and added: “What I mentioned will suffice.” The old man, after all, is snugly seated in his wheelchair and therefore could no longer execute the other points. And besides, the lion added, Tante and his wife are around and will therefore surely keep a watchful eye!

And so after the lion made his secret mode of identification, the American brother followed suit, doing what he was instructed to do. To pleasant the surprise of Tante and his wife Sol because the serious mien of the old man’s face suddenly disappeared and was immediately replaced by a facial cast that was in high spirits prompting Tante to ask: “Just what did Peter do to erase that serious mien with a widened old man’s smile and create sparkle in his eyes?”

To which the lion could only smile. But had he done so, his epic reply would have been:

“It will be hard to explain for now, but it is possible you may still understand later, but only if you become a member of the Craft.”:

THE CROSS WE ALL BEAR


Two emails were received by the lion from two brothers last November 5. One was an article titled “The Three Trees” that was sent by WB Rommel S. J. Corral of Rafael Palma Lodge No. 147 while the other was sent by a brother as a reply to a previous mail, the identity of whom the lion chose to withheld by replacing some words with xxxxx’s

. The contents appears unrelated but on closer look, is. The better advise therefore, is just to read the contents yourself.

Bro. Jun




THE THREE TREES

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carvings and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said , "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woods men came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him in to a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the Woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped . At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Please keep this moving...,so He may inspire more people on the way. May your day be blessed.

WB Rommel S.J. Corral, P.M.
Rafael Palma Lodge No. 147

VW Sir:

Thank you for the response. I still owe you a dinner that I have promised a decade ago and I assure you that I do not forget my promises. Maybe I can fulfill that promise during the Ancom in Tagaytay.

I was a late bloomer and started a family when my knees can no longer play singles in tennis. So now that even I am already in my golden years, I am still struggling to send my young kids to school. That is why I envy you because you have all the time writing.

Short story-writing is one of my favorite past times but I just do not have enough time to do it nowadays.

I have suppliers from Xxxx and Xxxxxxxxxx bugging me every week that I have not submitted my articles for the past 9 months already since I opened this xxxx xxxxx distribution center here in Xxxxxx. I am going back to Xxxx on the 25th of this month and hopefully, I will be able to do it again on a regular basis. MW Locsin made me Free Press distributor for Xxxxxxxxxx in addition to being his Foreign Correspondent.

I hope to see you soon, Very Worshipful Sir, Idol!!!

Warmest fraternal regards,

bro xxxxxxx xxxxs

VW Xxxxxxxx:

Your story reminds me of Tommy Romulo (real name is Romulo Tomada), the pugilist who gallantly fought Flash Elorde several times at the ring in the middle part of the last century. Tommy is the father of my good friend, Jun, who was my accounting supervisor when I was still working at a multinational.

In his own words, Tommy said that when he was active in the ring, he tried to convince his wife to go with him to Manila but being a teacher and with two kids, she wouldn’t. Consequently, he had an affair with their accountant and in fine forgot about his family at Butuan.

Time passed and Tommy and his new bedmate migrated to Guam where they established frozen food business and also raised their family that consisted of three children. But he also managed to maintain contacts with the family that he left behind, especially Jun, his eldest son.

In 1988, he went home, attempted to establish a local office and at the same time, renew kinship with his two adult children. By this time, he was already in his late fifties.

But his virility was still strong and while in the country, met a beautiful eighteen year old girl. The obvious happened and in no time sired two other sons. It was at this time that he and the lion met. In fine, Tommy also decided to permanently stay in the country and raised his third set of family leaving the second set in Guam.

The next time he and the lion met was during the 2002 Christmas and there talked about life, and learning of the lion’s easy-going movement commented: “Jun, how I envy you! Your three children are now on their own, and consequently your worry now is only your spouse, or is the other way around,. while I, already aged seventy and with two sons still in their teens, cannot help but wonder what will happen should I die. The fact that I have a house at Ayala-Alabang (beside Fidel. Ramos’ residence) does not make me any comfortable. Your friend Jun said that I should not worry as he will take care of his two brothers just in case but one can never tell.”

The lion was amazed and could not reply. What he said was true. Had he opened his mouth the words that would have come out would in essence be: “Each of us picks the size, dimension and weight of the cross we carry, mine was smaller because I chose it to be so. But come to think of it, you enjoyed the company of three bedmates, while I only had my lion tamer for a partner and she effectively shackled me to a leash!”

Your promise of a dinner may have to wait a few more years; ANCOM at Tagaytay is not in the lion’s trestleboard.

And please don’t use the word “idol” in your mail as adjective, it is the root of the word “idolatry” which the ancients forbid!

With my kindest fraternal regards!

Bro. Jun
SURPRISE MASONIC VISITORS.

This article is too good to escape the literary pen.

Last Saturday September 20, at about five minutes before four in the afternoon while I was leisurely resting at our backyard waiting for the four o’clock news over the DZRH radio band, a man in civilian clothes approached the back gate and in the local dialect hollered: “Ikaw si Mr. Galarosa?” and received a nod as a reply. He next said: “Gipangita ka ni Col. Arugay!! (Col. Arugay is looking for you) and to which I said: “Asa man siya?” (Where is he?) Sa atbang sa imo ba’ay! (At the front gate of your house) he said.

And so I immediately motioned him to enter the back gate, made him follow me and together we entered the house via the kitchen door, went out of it via the front door and outside the front gate saw two vans with about a dozen people, mostly in fatigue uniforms, already alighted. I immediately opened the gate and noticed a young gentleman in military uniform approaching me and saw the name Ushida on his breast. I immediately extended my hand as a welcome gesture (his name was already previously mentioned to me by Bro. Arugay during Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 stated meeting) and in the national language asked: “Where is Bro. Arugay?” and to which he replied: “He was looking for you via your backyard gate!” Whereupon I suggested to him that the drivers of the vans park the vehicles inside the driveway as parking these outside might create an unusual commotion in the community considering their uniforms to which the drivers dutifully obliged. I next motioned to Col. Ushida to follow me and together we returned to our backyard and saw Bro. Arsenio Arugay already entering the backyard gate smiling. After the usual introductions I then lead them outside the back gate and there showed them the twin electric lights that serve as beacons to the returning fishermen, the village nipa shack, the basketball court and also the cemented walkway that connected the seawall to the market courtesy of VW Juanito P. Abergas, projects that I have embarked upon and topics that were subjected to articles and later posted in the Internet. I also showed them the still-unfinished catwalk that will link the fishing village to the seawall and finally to the market and in an oral wish hoped that the project will someday be completed with the help of some concerned brethren. I also added the information that we have already successfully helped seven harelips operated upon and that more are still expected to come.

Returning to our place, I offered them a seat at our garden set and there exchanged pleasantries on a subject common to all brethren. Eric, that’s Ushida’s first name, was raised at General Artemio Ricarte Lodge No. 322 in Year 2000 and has been assigned in the island of Bohol barely two months as the battalion commander of a military camp that is situated in nearby Candijay town. He is a fairly new mason but is a whiz at the Internet world who later introduced to this writer a new website called “Ecu Online”. Bro. Arugay on the other hand, was raised in Isagani Lodge No. 96 many years ago. His masonic experiences already included interacting with the brethren of Rising Sun Lodge No. 151 when he was stationed in Japan and with the brethren of East Gate Lodge No. 232 in Borongan, Eastern Samar and in both instances helped reeve up their anemic attendance . He has now lodged eight months service as Deputy Brigade Commander and is stationed at the military camp at the interior town of Carmen. He also fondly narrated the time he acted as Master of Ceremonies during the installation ceremony of East Gate Lodge in support of MW Napoleon Soriano despite the fact that he has not yet served as Master of a Lodge, a bane common to most military personnel because of the nature of their profession.

Meanwhile, the missus ordered Andoy, one of our fishermen neighbors to gather “buko” (young coconuts) and together we enjoyed our refreshment in the company of my Kabir friends that freely roam our backyard.

The wonderful world of the Internet was a topic common to all three. Bro. Arugay wanted one installed at the Carmen office so that he can communicate with his daughter in the States but his main problem is how to make the link as the telephone facility is installed inside the office of the Brigade Commander because of uncontrolled long distance bills by subordinate personnel, Bro. Eric wanted one installed at his office at the camp in Candijay but at present does not yet have a Modem to link the telephone with the outside world. I, of course, had mine already installed and never mind if my beat-up computer conks out periodically making it technically inoperable.

We also talked about the efforts being waged by Bro. Deo Macalma of DZRH at bringing to the fore the brethren of the Craft. All are agreed it gives a positive boost.

With dusk fast approaching the horizon, our visitors bade goodbye but not before offering that we visit them at their respective temporary abodes at the camps where they are separately stationed. I and the missus of course, profusely thanked both for making the call; they after all, are our first Masonic visitors to ever visit the lion’s den!
WALKWAYS OF THE TWO SAINTS JOHN

This article should have found its place in the infinite pages of this wonderful world called the Internet much earlier but bureaucratic red tape prevented this writer from doing it. Let me tell you a story.

Sometime in September of last year, the newly-elected barangay council of my adopted place passed a resolution installing an electric light bulb at the right side of our backyard and through its barangay captain asked me and the missus if we would be kind enough to likewise install a similar light bulb at the left end to complement what they just did for the benefit of the fishermen who dock in the night. He promised the council will provide the electrical materials but since their funds are low, would we be generous enough to shoulder the continuing cost of electricity? Realizing that our backyard can also serve as a mini-park for the residents of the place especially in the early evening when humidity is hot, we answered we will be glad to do so as requested.

But the promised materials were slow in coming and impatient at their usual turtle-paced behavior, we decided to buy the needed materials ourselves and had the town’s electrician do the job. The barangay captain was of course profuse in his thanks and forthwith mentioned that it is also his dream as newly-inducted barangay leader to have the cut portion of the seawall joined by a steel bridge and thus allow his constituents, including the schoolchildren, to walk by the seawall up to the public market, the church and the school and thus save on tricycle fare. I did not comment but silently mused that what he said would indeed be a worthwhile and laudable project to adopt and support.

So it was that when me and the missus enjoyed our Christmas holidays in the metropolis, one of my more important goals was to contact VW Juanito P. Abergas, PDDGM and Regional Director of Region VII of the DPWH, and a revered elder of Mandaluyong Lodge No. 277 The specific task was to ask him if he would be kind enough to facilitate the installation of a walkway at the eastern end of the district that is nestled right on the seashore and also construct a six-meter steel bridge that will connect the cut portion of the seawall and thus enable the residents to go straight to the market like what the three little pigs did in the children’s immortal rhyme of the ages?! Surprisingly, the kind brother said he will!! He of course admonished it should just be between us, no political color nor interference should mess up with the project.

We returned to our haven early in January and my first task was to take pictures that will serve as guide on what the proposed project was all about and posthaste sent these together with the covering letter to VW Abergas. He in turn immediately referred these to his District Engineer whose office was based in Guindulman town. The District Engineer then ordered his subordinates to draw the design for the project and prepared the cost estimate which turned out to be a whooping P180,000!! The project caught itself in a quagmire; from where will the funds emanate??

April came and we went to the metropolis for a four-week visit with me also attending the 2003 ANCOM. I also hoped to chance upon VW Abergas again, but this time was unsuccessful.

Upon our return to our den in May, we noticed that the project was at a standstill. We attempted to call VW Abergas twice at his office in Cebu City but on both instances, were told that he was out of town. The missus also called the District Engineering Office in Guindulman but their reply was unclear; the Assistant District Engineer said a bidding was already made but upon close scrutiny it turned out that the it was for another undertaking. The missus was agitated; the residents of the place were already expecting its realization, more especially because we transferred the electric bulb to a place nearest the sea thereby serving as beacon lights for the fishermen that return home in the darkened night. The sixty four dollar question therefore was: "Will the project ever be realized; and not just a fleeting vision on an imaginary trestleboard?"

And then came the month of June. Until finally the missus was able to contact District Engineer Aramis Torrefranca who assured her that the project ain’t dead yet. As a matter of fact, VW Abergas has just called instructing him to see to it the project be pushed through. And the needed funds will be coming, the DE said, but did not say whether it will come directly from his superior’s personal pocket. In addition, her nephew who is the Engineering Draftsman, was tasked to re-evaluate the plans and specifications to tone down the estimated cost.

As of this writing, this chronicler has already cooked up the appropriate names for the two walkways; the first will aptly be called "Walkway of Saint John the Evangelist" while the second will be known as "Saint John the Baptist’s Steel-bridge." The first will honor a Gospel Teacher and thus inspire the school children who will trek through it on their way to school to enable them to study more seriously, while the second will commemorate the memory of the Baptist who allegorically washed away mankind’s original sin. And never mind if at the length of only six meters, it is just a little longer than a nose-bridge.

But will the beneficiaries ever know that that these two patron saints are being venerated by brethren who, many of their ignorant folks suppose, are Godless?!


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

UNTO THE LION’S LAST HUNTING GROUND

The lion and his tamer were on board the Superferry when it docked at the Tagbilaran pier at six on the morning of March 6, Wednesday. Instead of immediately boarding a bus bound for the town of Guindulman which is a full eighty five kilometers away from the pier, they decided to make Tagbilaran City their first stopover. They reckon they will save more time if they will first attend to their needs of getting the zonal valuation document at the appropriate office in the government bureaucracy at Tagbilaran City instead of proceeding posthaste to her hometown. Getting off the ship, they went straight to a local eatery for breakfast and there whiled the time away until his wristwatch signaled the hour of eight and later took a tricycle bound for the city proper.

On the way, they passed by the compound of the University of Bohol and surmised one or more of the Tirol brothers who, the lion is aware, are members of the Craft, must be holding office there and so asked the blue guard at the gate and were told that indeed, most of them, including their wives, were holding office in the said building. The lion and his tamer therefore got off the pedicab and waited.

Not noticing any of their intended party arriving by eight thirty, the guard suggested that they proceed to the other gate as it is possible some may have passed by that entrance instead. They did and at the other side, was told by the lady guard that Grace Tirol, an acquaintance of the lion tamer when they were still single, has not yet reported but Mrs. Nuevas Montes, her sister-in-law, was already in and directed them to the room where she is holding office.

The lion introduced himself to the lady and mentioned casually that he already met her husband, Fiscal Adriano Montes, some ten years back (in August 1992 to be exact) when he attended the stated meeting of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, and that they wanted to see Mrs. Grace Tirol. Graciously, she called Grace over the phone as she was still at her residence and there the lion tamer narrated to Grace the purpose of their visit. After the usual phone courtesies Grace referred them back to the lady but only after saying that Nuevas, that's her name, is in the best position to help as she is the topnotch city councilor of Tagbilaran, having garnered the highest votes during the last election.

Sis. Nuevas dialed a number and after a while told them to proceed to the Provincial Assessors office where its head, Mr. Eddie Orig, is already waiting and will help attend to their needs. Before they parted she also said that the installation of officers of Kinampay Chapter No. 26 of the Order of the Eastern Star will be held on March 9, Saturday at the Dagohoy Masonic Temple and invited the two to attend the said affair.

They then proceeded to the Provincial Assessor's office and narrated to Mr. Orig the purpose of their visit. The gentleman was very accommodating but told said that the proper agency that can help was the regional office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and forthwith also dialed a number and talked to a certain Ms. Wilma Elivera, its Regional Director. At the other end, the two were informed that a letter requesting for the needed data is necessary and so Mr. Orig suggested that we prepared the data required in the letter request to his clerk so that one of his clerks can encode and print the said letter in the computer. Instead, the lion requested that he be allowed to handle the job and immediately composed the letter to the mild surprise of the Provincial Assessor. He could not imagine that an old dog err. Lion, tinker with a computer as if it was only a typewriter!

The letter request duly prepared, the two proceeded to the office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and filed the request. Ms. Elivera, the lady Regional Director, was very accommodating and even instructed one of her supervisors to insure that the request is attended to promptly so that by eleven in the morning it was fully complied with. They then heartily expressed thanks, took a hasty lunch at a nearby restaurant and immediately boarded a bus bound for the town of Guindulman. On board, they realized that they forgot to personally thank Sis Nueva for the help that she gladly extended, a job that would have unduly consumed too much time and attention had she not helped considering the slow pace of the bureaucratic red tape that they have to hurdle without her assistance.

The next two days of their stay were hectic. They minutely attended to the other needed tasks so that by Friday evening they concluded all the things that they ought to do and thus enable them to return to the metropolis by the coming Wednesday, March 13. They therefore decided to return to Tagbilaran on Saturday for two reasons; first, to purchase the cost of the ticket for the trip back home and second, to personally thank Mrs. Nuevas Montes for the invaluable assistance that she gave..

They reached the Dagohoy Masonic Temple a few minutes before the installation was about to begin and immediately approached Sis. Nueva and gratefully expressed thanks for her help who in turn introduced them to Bros. Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr and . Francisco M. Pamaran, Jr., the Worthy Patron and Associate Patron, respectively. In fine, another gentleman arrived and was introduced as Worshipful Brother David Tirol, incumbent Worshipful Master of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84.

The installation ceremony went in full swing with WB Tirol sitting beside them and in between the ceremony, exchanged pleasantries. The lion then realized that the brother they were talking to was the former governor of Bohol, a very amiable guy and no doubt, the leader of the Tirol clan. So this is the guy who is the president of the University of Bohol and the moving spirit of that educational institution. So humble! There he also learned that the Tirol clan is composed of five brothers and six sisters, and with five of their six brother-in-laws also members of the Craft where he belongs.

At quarter to five when the installation ceremony was about to end, they excused themselves to leave the place so that they can go to the bus station for their return trip to Guindulman. WB Tirol offered to take them to the station through his driver but almost instantaneously changed his mind and invited the lion to attend the stated meeting of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 that was to be held at six in the evening. He assured the lion that they can still go home to Guindulman should he accept the invitation as he will then instruct his driver to take them home later in the evening. Not only would the lion be able to attend their stated meeting, both the lion and his tamer can also join them and the ladies in the fellowship of the Kinampay Chapter No. 26 of the Order of the Eastern Star that will follow shortly.

The lion was hesitant so WB Tirol look for the nodding approval of the missus; and she failed him not. And so not only did we attend the fellowship at a nearby swanky restaurant, he also had the opportunity to later rub elbows with the other brethren of the lodge.

On their way home on board the car of WB Tirol, he could not help but recall a similar predicament that he experienced some ten years ago in this island province. He was then at the Tagbilaran airport on July, 1992, possessing a number-26-chance passenger ticket on a 52-seater Fokker plane on my way to Manila. Eager to ride the plane but realizing the seemingly impossible chance to ride the plane, he approached the guy at the ticket counter requesting that he be accommodated despite realizing the near impossibility of realizing what he desired. But the lion was then wearing a blue T-shirt that has that familiar square-and-compass logo and to his surprise was accommodated without fully knowing how!

On hisreturn trip to the island two months later, he was fortunate to attend the stated meeting of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, joined their fellowship and there rubbed elbows with the brethren of the lodge, among them, VW Adriano Montes and Francisco Pamaran, Jr. Again owning a plane ticket with a chance-passenger status, he wondered aloud if somebody could help me arrange a confirmed seat reservation in the plane that is to leave the next day. VW Montes replied: "No problem there. Just approach Ayi' at the counter and tell him I sent you. I assure you he will attend to you. He is my nephew!

The lion did board the plane on his return to Manila the next day despite his next-to-impossible-chance passenger accommodation status. And all because of VW Montes' help and the blue T-shirt with that familiar logo that was embroidered on its front.

Which also but sums up the reason why Sis. Nueva willingly extended her helping hand; since he is a member of the Craft and a fraternal brother to her husband, like almost all of the members of her clan, the proper and sensible thing to do is lend a helping hand!






Thursday, January 13, 2005

WANTING TO BELONG

By: Bro. Geminiano V. Galarosa, Jr.
Dagohoy Lodge No 84
(HM- LL 185, JS 169 and RP 147)


Yesterday, the lion sent an e-mail to VW Jimmy Gonzales, AGS, the contents of which is reprinted in full below:

VW Jimmy:

Last Saturday January 10, I was elected and consequently was obligated member of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84. That would not have been made possible without your kind assistance.

Thanks a lot!

Sincerely,

Jun


The decision to seek membership at Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 was not easy and took no less than 23 months to complete. Let me tell this story.

Last March 2002 when the lion and his tamer mulled on the idea of transferring residence to the island of Bohol, one of his first acts upon arrival was to attend the stated meeting of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, thus inwardly placing himself under the canopy of the island’s only lodge.

Never mind if the said lodge was situated 85 kilometers away from their residence in Guindulman. And never mind if he is already able to interact with some of the brethren of the Fraternity through the Internet. The need to physically fraternize with the brethren was one of the things that kept him alive during his retirement years in the metropolis and must be faithfully continued comes rain or sunshine weather even in this bucolic island.

The first month of his attendance after that March meeting was in June 2002 which was uneventful. Feeling himself uneasily around, he had to sleep after the stated meeting at Charisma Lodge, a lodge with neither number nor belonging to the Craft and with a few “low-flying doves” hovering inside. By the next month, the lion sat in the lodge accompanying Bro. Bruno Raffi, a French brother whom he rubbed elbows through the facilities of the Internet. And during these past two meetings, he had to leave his tamer uneasily alone, although physically accompanied by an elderly cousin, at the house.

At the next meeting, Bro. Tyrone Villanueva of Bulusan Lodge No. 38 sojourned As he was based in the town of Jagna, he offered to take the lion to his den which is some twenty three kilometers farther away from his hideout. Which required Bro. Tyrone to drive an additional 46 kilometers before he can sleep during the night but he obviously did not mind. They enjoyed each other’s company while driving home after each stated meeting at Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 each night.

By December of that year, the lion visited his folks at the busy metropolis and got himself the needed “Certificate of Good Standing” from his mother lodge so that he can apply for plural membership. He was successful in this regard but the bane of old age, that is, forgetting where the heck he placed that “cute little paper” on his return trip to his den prevented him to submit his petition for membership immediately. Until finally, in August, while ransacking his stack of masonic documents during his idle time, he found it tacked inside one of his books. Excitedly, he submitted it to the secretary of Dagohoy Lodge No.84 thus formally starting the process of his petition for membership.


Somehow, Bro. Tyrone ceased attending the stated meetings starting in August 2003. Which compelled the lion to take his tamer along to Tagbilaran City during each stated meeting. While the lion was attending the meeting, his tamer was mulling at Tagbilaran’s malls. Since funds are low, that is what the tamer can only do to pass the time.

But his petition ran aground. Mailing snags somehow slowed the processing of application and when it was found by VW Jimmy Gonzales at the Grand Lodge, he said the that petition, being signed in 2002, has already expired. But never mind, under the circumstances, he will honor the document and had the petition published during the October circular

Until finally in the January 2004 stated meeting, the lion’s petition for membership was put to a vote and as tradition would have it, he excused himself from inside the lodge while the process was being subjected to the test; he thus replaced the Tyler from his task.

And what did he see in the lodge Tyler’s book?! Of the 25 pages that are filled-in which consisted of 23 stated and 2 special meetings, he saw his signature in 17 of them! Not an impressive percentage if we divide 17 by 25 as it will only amount to 68 percent, but if we deduct the five times the lion was in the metropolis, then it will shoot up 85 percent!!

Not bad, eh?! Especially because, starting next meeting, he will no longer sign as visitor but a regular member of the lodge!

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Various Paths to the Mystic East

THE VARIOUS PATHS TO THE MYSTIC EAST
By: Bro. Geminiano V. Galarosa, Jr.
Dagohoy Lodge No 84
(HM- LL 185, JS 169 and RP 147)


It’s now Year 2005 but the Craft reckons it four centuries earlier by calling it Masonic Year 6005. And to the Chinese who reckons their calendar by multiples of twelve, this is the year of the rooster and the start of its reign will still be on February 9. Now, how they reckon their calendar in terms of progression of a hundred years is beyond the mind of this writer but might as well, for it is not at all the subject of this article that he is about to tell.

January starts the month of installation although there were a few lodges who did it last December. Maguindanao Lodge No. 40, for example, installed WM Chito Olifernes in impressive ceremony last December 11, and surely there must have been another lodge at the GLP who must have concluded theirs before the year ended.

But this article is not about the newly-or-soon to be installed masters of the lodge. Their individual exploits must have been amply recorded in the hearts of the brethren hence no longer need to be retold. This article will instead give the reader a bird’s eye view of the newly elected light that is to occupy the station in the South, narrating unique examples on how they manage to reach the post that in three years will earn for them the chair we all call the mystic East.

If we are to rely on the premise that the ways of the Craft has already honed our traditions to perfection, then elections to the light or progressions to the chair will be as predictable and boring as the sun daily setting in the western horizon. But in Masonry, is this really the case? Do we elect officers in more or less the same fashion among lodges? Maybe so, but consider these situations.

Out there at Laong Laan Lodge No. 85, it is almost certain that the Senior Deacon is elected Junior Warden of the Lodge when election time comes. Bro. Sonny Regala, worthy son of an illustrious father and brother named WB Sergio V. Regala, Jr. of Quezon City Lodge No. 122 has recently elevated Junior Warden leaving his post as Senior Deacon of the lodge.

Does this mean therefore that all one needs is to have himself appointed Senior Deacon to earn the Junior Warden’s norm? Well, in a way yes; but you must fall in line a little farther to get this title. Bro. Albert Encarnacon, the Secretary, for example, had to relinquish the plume to fall in line and act the role of Marshal so that he hopefully can be at a striking distance later for the coveted JW norm.

Out there at another lodge where he hold honorary membership, the elected Junior Warden’s name is not familiar and so it can be inferred that that brother was initiated only when the lion has already transferred to his new den in Bohol.

The selection for Junior Warden of another lodge the lion knows may be considered exceptional. Lacking the depth of brethren who can ably fill the post, a newly-raised brother (May 2004), was elected to the Juior Warden’s chair. Chess experts call this zugswang or forced move, but when there is no other brother who can, what other option can the lodge avail of except elect someone rather than not to fill the post at all?!

At Perla del Oriente Lodge No. 1034, it is told that the progression to the master’s chair takes a full seven years starting from being appointed Junior Steward. Now, the lion does not have a way at having this checked, but it may just be so, for it is a lodge where every mason of note, including several PGM’s of our Grand Lodge, are members of this lodge that owe allegiance to the Scottish jurisdiction.

The lion’s elevation to the post of Junior Warden in 1993 may be considered unique in itself. Not the least aspiring to become master of his lodge, he honed himself in the ways of the Craft by memorizing the lectures of the three degrees, thinking that being a lodge lecturer is already an accomplishment one can already aspire for. Too late did he realize that when the 1992 year-end election transpired, he was the ultimate choice to become Junior Warden of the lodge!

And here’s a matchless trek to the Junior Warden’s chair.

WB Ellis Mills, currently installed Junior Warden of his mother lodge at Star Lodge No. 187 F. & A. M. in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio USA, was raised in that lodge on May 1963. His job at the United States Air Force took him to Okinawa and various places and while at Okinawa served as Worshipful Master of Coral Lodge No. 142 in 1970, which lodge later merged with Loo Choo Lodge No. 172 and still much later with Okinawa Lodge No. 118.

A true traveler in the literal sense of the word, he finally returned home like a homing pigeon and once again rekindled ties with the members of his mother whose listing contained hardly the same names that he had known before. But of course, for what can one expect after a lapse of forty years. But no doubt, wanting to become master of the lodge where he first saw Masonic light is a dream that one mason can no doubt aspire for in the mystic ways of this ethereal brotherhood


Many of you out there must have your own sterling experiences to tell but this writer is afraid not to solicit your experiences for surely it will set an avalanche of anecdotes worth telling; and while the almost infinite space of this wonderful world we call the Internet may have the capacity to accommodate narrating these events, it is the limited vocabulary of this writer that surely will not last and will be put to the test.

And on that he wouldn’t dare!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

OF EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS

By: Bro. Geminiano V. Galarosa, Jr.
Dagohoy Lodge No 84
(HM- LL 185, JS 169 and RP 147)


One of the more distinct definitions of Freemasonry is that it is “a system of morality veiled in allegory”; or phrased differently, “a system of morality expressed in symbols” both of which mean the same. For allegory is simply defined as expression through symbolic figures and actions of truth.

Freemasons no longer need to be told of the symbolic meanings of the Square, the Level, and the Plumb as these are well explained in the second degree conferral. And just in case he feels he needs more elaboration, all he need is listen to the annual installation ceremonies of the Craft and there he will be reminded of their full significance.

The working tool which serves as emblem or symbol that is first presented to an initiate is neither the Square, the Level, nor the Plumb. Neither is it the Compasses that figure prominently in the logo of the Craft. It is the twenty-four inch gauge; and on this, here is an interesting historical morsel that was extracted verbatim from page 34 of a book authored by Daniel J. Boorstin titled “The Discoverers”.

“A famous candle clock was that reportedly designed to help the pious Alfred the Great (AD 849-899) king of the West Saxons, keep the vow he made when he was a fugitive from his native country. He swore that if his kingdom is restored, he would devote a full third of each day to the service of God.

According to the legend, when he was back in England, he ordered a candle-clock. From seventy-two pennyweight of wax, six twelve-inch candles were made, all uniform in thickness, each marked in one-inch division. The candles were lit in rotation, and the six candles were said to last a full twenty-four hours. These were protected by transparent horn panels set into wooden frames to prevent the light from being extinguished by a draft. If King Alfred devoted the time of two full candle lengths to his religious duties, he could be assured that he was fulfilling his vow.”

From the above-mentioned excerpts, it is interesting to note that the twenty-four inch gauge was replaced by candlesticks (remember the nursery rhyme Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick?) but the essence remains the same. And was Alfred the Great a Freemason? Who could tell!!

But to this writer, one confusing emblem that he found in the monitor is the hieroglyphic emblem that was explained at the end of the second section of the lecture of the Master Mason’s degree states:

Ths, m Br, ws # bd % # G M H A rsd f # gr, envd t # t # T @ br, wch md thr tms, fs, I # rbs % # T b # rfns;scdl, at # brw % # hl nr Mt Moriah b # sm, @ lstl, nr # S S, o H % H, whr Mc trdtn infs us, thr ws erc t hs m a mrbl mt, cnstg % a btfl clmn brkn; by it a vrgn wpg; an op bk bfr hr. . . etc. etc.

Let us now decode part of the subsequent paragraph of the said lecture to illustrate a point:

“The column broken denoted the untimely death of the Grand Master Hiram Abif; the virgin weeping, the unfinished station of the Temple.”.

But look, there seems something unusual about the above-mentioned explanation, as broken columns should properly denote the unfinished Temple while the virgin weeping which denotes the expression of sadness must have referred to the death of the Grand Master Hiram Abif. Weren’t the explanation jumbled or interchanged?

This writer noticed this apparent discrepancy in 1996 and so wrote the Grand Lodge accordingly. But the Committee on Works, “in defense of usage”, ruled that the passage should be taken in its context.
.
Not satisfied with the explanation, he later asked a brother through the Internet and asked if other Grand Jurisdictions have the same wording. One said that the California Cipher from where the Philippine Monitor was copied almost verbatim also said the same thing. Further that brother explained that the said paraphrasing is correct and that the explanation be not taken literally and out of context detailing thereon the said explanation to support it.

And so the lion made a little sleuthing and found that on page 378 of Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, it said that the virgin weeping is Isis, the applicable narration of which is being copied verbatim from the said book:

“To aid the in the search for the body of Osiris, and to nurse her infant child Horus, Isis sought out and took with her Anubis son of Osiris, and his sister Nepthe. He, as we said, was Sirius, the brightest star in the Heavens. After finding him, she went to Byblos, and seated herself near a fountain, where she had learned that the sacred chest had stopped which contained the body of Osiris. There she sat, sad and silent, shedding a torrent of tears. Thither came the women of the Court of Queen Astarte, and she spoke to them, and dressed their hair, pouring upon it deliciously perfumed ambrocia. This known to the Queen, Isis was engaged as nurse for her child, in the palace, one of the columns of which was made of erica or tamarisk, that had grown up over the chest containing Osiris, cut down by the King, and unknown to him, still enclosing the chest, which column Isis afterward demanded, and from it extracted the chest and the body, which the latter wrapped in thin drapery and perfumed, she carried with her.

Blue Masonry, ignorant of its import, still retains among its emblems one of a woman weeping over a broken column, holding in her hand a branch of acacia, myrtle or tamarisk, while Time, as we are told, stands behind her combing out the ringlets of her hair. “

So there we have in Blue Masonry a marble monument that was said to be erected “in honor of the GHMA. But it did not explain the apparent switching of the explanations for the “broken column and the virgin weeping” for as can be gleamed from hieroglyphic writing that was earlier invented by the Egyptians from where Osiris and Isis were considered as gods, and also from the Greeks were hieroglyphs were further refined via sculpting, what is pictured out is what is alluded to. Ever had a glimpse of the Book of the Dead?!

On second thought, could it be that since Freemasonry only gives hints on what it intends to convey and would even purposely waylay the gullible and the unsuspecting brethren, could it be that Blue Masonry intentionally switched the two explanations for reasons they alone can comprehend?!
Consider the following:
One symbol peculiar to Freemasons is the blackball, which means rejection of a candidate. This word is understood by the general public, even by cowans and eavesdroppers. But have we ever pondered that it is not a black ball that is used for rejection but a black cube?! Balls, and in the masonic sense, white, is used to elect, and black cubes (not balls) eject!!
Consider also the use of word “hail” which the English dictionary defines as “an expression of greeting.” But the meaning of this word to Freemasons is to conceal!
Talk about having double-edged meanings and these two examples will undoubtedly fill the grade.

Think about it, brethren!





Saturday, January 08, 2005

THE HALF-REMEMBERED GRAND
LODGE INSPECTORS

Called “workhorse” by the Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge Inspectors have several unique advantages over all other appointive officers. These are:

(1) They are individually installed in solemn and impressive ceremonies, which, much unlike all others who are herded and installed during the yearly ANCOM; and especially when performed by installing officers who have memorized their roles, are done impressively, indeed!
(2) The word “Grand” like that of “Grand Master”, “Grand Treasurer”, “Grand Secretary”, “Grand Chaplain”, etc., precedes all other words in their honorific titles thus eliciting serious mien to the general public since the uninitiated thinks those who have the word Grand as the second word are second fiddles; and
(3) The cute 7cm x 20cm appointment paper makes a novel memento when placed among the diplomas of merit, honors and citations that one has accumulated during one’s lifetime. And this do not exclude the diplomas one has received and plastered in a nook to serve as memory of one’s exploits and frivolous scholastic travels in this exciting world.

But as an old song goes: “that is where the good story ends” (with the word good supplied by the undersigned.).

Consider these:

1. Their names are not listed in the Annual Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines. It is likely that there is a folder that contained their names that after their term is over must have been stacked somewhere but where, only the GAOTU knows.. Which makes one wonder if they are indeed bona fide members of the Grand Lodge as contained in its roster..
2. They cannot vote during the Annual Elections of Grand Line officers, which again begs the question, if they are indeed officers, what benefits are they entitled to??
3. Their presence is not required during ANCOMS. While they can attend in their own capacity as members and/or as delegates of their own lodges since generally the core of their membership comprise the immediate past masters, they are not recognized in their capacity as GLIs thus again giving that cloud of doubt that they are indeed worthy Grand Lodge officers

RETRACING THE ANNUAL RECORDS

Let this writer now acquaint you on their activities as shown in the Annual Proceedings of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, and culled mainly from the Grand Lecturer’s Report as submitted by the untiring Grand Lodge Lecturer of the olden days.

1951 Proceedings

“We believe and we are convinced that the Grand Lodge Inspectors assigned to the Lodges have done their work satisfactorily and well. It is regretted, however, that up to the preparation of this report only one Inspector has filed his report to the Grand Lecturers. This brother is no other than RW Sidney M. Austin, Inspector for Manila Lodge No. 1 and St. John Lodge No. 9. We congratulate him for this. If we had more reports from the Inspectors, it would have been possible for us to get their suggestions and recommendations. It is earnestly requested that the Inspectors be requested to remember this important duty before the holding of the Annual Communication in pursuant to Article V, Sec. 2 , paragraph 103, page 23 of the Masonic Law Book.”

1955 Proceedings

“There has been a variation in the appointment of Inspectors because their residence was taken into consideration, which was not done in the previous years. Wherever feasible, only those residing in the district of their respective lodges, or nearest to it, are selected.

We have closely observed the work of the Inspectors, especially in Manila and several in Luzon, and are proud to report that they have done their work well. To them, we heartily express our all-out appreciation and gratitude for the great sacrifice that they have made in performance of their duties.. . .

“However, we regret to mention that some Inspectors have not submitted their reports. . .”

1964 Proceedings

“In so far as the Grand Lodge Inspectors are concerned, while there is a good number of them that have shown interest and devotion to their duties and should therefore be commended, there are some who have seldom, if ever, visited the lodges assigned to them. This neglect has caused the officers and members of the affected lodges to become careless in their Masonic duties, in the manner of conducting their business and the conferring of degrees. In some instances, even more serious consequences have been noted.”

1967 Proceedings

“We have received oral reports from the Masters of some Lodges to the effect that their Inspectors had often visited them, corrected their work, and whenever possible conducted Schools of Instruction to teach the floor work in accordance with the Instruction Pamphlet for Subordinate Lodges. To those Inspectors, we wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for their valuable service.

Some Grand Lodge Inspectors, however, much to their regret, were not able to visit the Lodge to which they were assigned but only once during the yea, and the reason was that they had their places of abode far from their inspection districts. The resultant effect was very discouraging- sometimes, the Master and Wardens elect could not be installed for lack of examination by the Inspector or of the required Certificate of Proficiency.”

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

This writer, for his part, has been appointed as Grand Lodge Inspector three times, the third of which was in year 2001, or two years after he was appointed District Grand Lecturer. But if you think this is a record, an unassuming brother claimed he has held the position of Grand Lodge Inspector eight times before he was elevated to the position of DGL and to him the job of GLI was the more exciting!

The experience of this writer was in itself exhilarating. In year 2001 when the appointed DDGM who assumed the post straight from the Master’s chair, that is, sans the rigors of being appointed GLI nor DGL, could not get a GLI for a lodge noted for its raucous and boisterous meetings, he understandably asked for help and asked if this writer would accept the assignment? The latter said yes.

On meeting time, the first question asked was how would the GLI be addressed, would it be his previous title as VW or simply as Worshipful Inspector, which is in consonance with his present assignment. And his reply was epic; “In all other places within or without the lodge, he may be addressed as VW, but once seated in the East with the Worshipful Master, it is best he is addressed as Worshipful Inspector, otherwise he would not have accepted the assignment at all . And that was it!!

CURRENT EVENTS

The situation now is still pretty much the same as that of yesteryears. Lodges that are housed in the same temple, like those of Manila, Quezon City, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos, generally experience the regular presence of GLIs; but lodges of districts that require travel, whether by land or by sea, suffer from anemic attendance because of the cost that had to be incurred.

On the recording front, current issues of the Annual Proceedings do not show substantial mention of the GLIs, and quite frankly, are hardly noticed at all. The reason is the Grand Lecturer’s report now concentrate on the more important affairs of the Grand Lodge, like accompanying the Grand Master on his trips and supervising a fairly large number of subordinates. The more mundane affairs of the GLI hardly deserved a word at all.

But the GLIs are there, the indefatigable workhorse of the Grand Lodge, sitting at the left side of the Worshipful Master, giving insights when asked, and not complaining at all.

And whatever happened to the other half of the title which says; “The Half-Remembered Grand Lodge Inspectors?”

But of course, it was half-forgotten and now relegated to the dustbin of oblivion!!
THE MYSTIC CABLETOW

It was exactly five in the morning of October 24 when our phone rang and at the other end of the line was Alou, our daughter-in-law. Her voice crackling with bitterness, she asked if there is a way we could help her. Four days before, the lion tamer said that she saw the stepfather of our daughter-in-law being broadcast on TV as having been slain with a bullet hole on his head, apparently a subject of a summary execution by unknown assailants for reasons the lion neither knew nor cared about.

In her narration our daughter by affinity said that she and her mother had just arrived from the wake, where an hour before, they were unceremoniously shooed away by the relatives of her deceased stepfather out of Arlington Chapel apparently also dissuading them to attend the noontime burial. And the reason is simple- the relationship of her mother with the deceased has already turned sour a few years back and the husband was already having an affair with another girl. Furthermore, it appeared even the parents and his relatives have already accepted the change in relationship thus dumping our daughter-in-law’s mother to the sidelines. She also narrated that while she and her mother managed to keep their sorrows to themselves, she believed that not allowing them to attend the burial would be the last straw for after all, the deceased and her mother are, for all intents and purposes, still legally married. To top it all, it appeared the police authorities of Pasig City are partial to the relatives of the dead since the father is the barangay captain of the place and it was the police themselves who dragged them out of the Chapel.

Can the aging lion, therefore, help?!

With the lion tamer acting as combined telephone operator and private secretary, she dialed VW Philmore Balmaceda’s cellphone and not getting any answer tried his landline phone instead. As luck would have it, it was Philmore who answered whereupon the lion immediately grabbed the handset, uttered the equivalent words of the grand hailing sign and in cryptic message related the problem wondering out aloud if he could help. Getting a positive reply, the lion tossed back the phone to his tamer and instructed her to relay to VW Philmore the details of the needed help and the telephone number where our daughter-in-law may be contacted.

Wires burned between the phones of Philmore, our daughter-in-law and ourselves, and sometime later, another number was added, that of the Eastern Police District. VW Philmore was able to contact its head, Bro. (Gen) Valenzuela, who tasked SPO2 Matias to attend to our daughter-in-law’s predicament. In fine the lion also talked to SPO2 Matias who gave the assurance that he and a certain Capt. Arriola are already bound for the Arlington Chapel to insure that her solemn request that they be able to accompany the remains to the burial site in safety be granted.

Noontime passed in silence but by four that afternoon, a call was received from our daughter-in-law. Appreciative in her thanks, she narrated that Capt Arriola and SPO2 Matias saw to it that the car they were riding on immediately follow the limousine where the coffin is laid to the consternation of both the barangay captain and the deceased’s attaché (this may not be the appropriate word but it sure is better than the vulgar word “kabit”) And her dear mother felt satisfied, for although their marriage was already thrown to the rocks and is already labeled as estranged, she was still able to send her husband off to his final resting place.

And what has this short article got to do with the tenets of the Craft?

But haven’t you noticed, the paths of Bro. (Gen) Valenzuela and the lion have never crossed before?! How else can one brother ask help from another except by use of that unseen but unbreakable Cabletow that binds us Freemasons together!!

PS:

Immediately after the call from our daughter-in-law, Alou was received, the lion posted an email via the Internet saying:

Brethren:

Any brother who has contact with Bro. (Gen.) Valenzuela of Eastern Police District, please relay my sincerest appreciation for extending his assistance to my daughter-in-law, Alou Galarosa and her mother by sending Capt. Arriola and SPO2 Matias to Arlington Chapel, thence to Pasig Cemetery on the occasion of the burial of her stepfather, Gomer Concepcion on October 24, 2004.

The length of one’s cabletow can still reach Bohol.

Many thanks also to VW Philmore Balmaceda of Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169 for making the help possible.