Sunday, June 26, 2005

IN SEARCH OF THE GRAND MASTER HIRAM ABIFF

One book that has recently attracted the interest of Freemasons and non-Masons alike who are curious about the Fraternity is a book titled "Hiram Key". The brief biographical sketches of the two co-authors say they are Freemasons, the first was allegedly raised in 1976 and the second ten years later, but they did not say where. They even named in the acknowledgement of their book a certain Reverend pastor (?), allegedly a past master of the Craft who, they claim, had been very supportive of their efforts in making their opus translated to reality.

On the whole, the book can be considered worthwhile reading, this despite the several questionable assertions, which, if not commented upon, can waylay the gullible and the unsuspecting who only read, but does not bother to "digest and discriminate." For the record, let this writer cite a few inconsistencies that the book has expounded- among them:

1. That the pillars Boaz and Jachin are explained in the first degree. In the Philippine Monitor those pillars were not mentioned in the first but in the second degree lecture.

2. On page 10 of the book, the authors explained that the left leg and the right breast were laid bare in the second-degree ritual. In the Philippine ritual the right breast being laid bare is correct but baring the left leg is wrong. The procedure is left leg to left breast in the first degree , or conversely right to right in the second degree. Unless of course, it is done differently in their jurisdiction.

3. On page 11, it says that "careful study of the Bible has found no mention of a middle chamber in King Solomon's Temple."

The copy of the Holy Bible that bears the imprimatur of the Catholic Church use the phrase "middle story" while the Berkeley Version that was placed by the Gideons used the phrase "middle side chambers." The Authorized King James Version, on the other hand, used by the Craft use the precise words "middle chamber". (These three versions will also be used as the biblical references on subsequent referrals of quotations.)

Which just about rebuts the authors' allegation that the middle chamber cannot be found in King Solomon's Temple.

4. The implements that the authors said were used by the ruffians were not as mentioned in the Philippine ritual. The book Hiram Key says that Jubela used a plumb rule, Jubelo a level, while Jubelum used a setting maul. Jubelum's use of the setting maul is correct, but then again, the other two implements were wrong.

5. On page 80 it mentioned Simeon and Levi killing someone but stated that the slain man was not identified. Because of this, the authors theorized that the slain man was Seqenenre Tao, the Egyptian monarch who ruled Egypt during the time of Joseph. Had the authors bothered to read the Holy Bible thoroughly, however, they would have found out that the slain man was duly identified; he was Schechem son of Hamor, the Hivite, who raped Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob.

6. The substitute for the ancient master's word that the authors revealed is a sentence which says:

Ma'at-neb-men-aa, Maat-ba-aa.

Which they translated to mean...

"Great is the established Master of Freemasonry, Great is the Spirit of Freemasonry".

Again, either the Craft in their jurisdiction applied different meanings to this delicate portion of the Craft's ritual or the authors joined a clandestine branch of the Fraternity!

The inconsistencies mentioned above may well be labeled as differences in rituals of various jurisdictions especially when it cannot be cross-referenced with the provisions of the Holy Bible, and not having copies of the rituals of the other jurisdictions, and therefore, cannot cross-check these with the monitors which they may have used, then these statements should be allowed to pass as questionable truths.

But the most controversial statement that deserves critical comment is the allegation that Hiram Abif is not mentioned in the Holy Bible!

And how would you, as a Freemason who had imitated the death of the Grand Master Hiram Abif, feel if you knew that the Grand Master did not exist? That he should be labeled in the Holy Bible as merely a man skilled in bronze work, etc., is perfectly understandable because the honor of being the builder during the ancient times is reserved solely for the kings although they did not actually planned and oversee their constructions, but to say that he did not exist at all is preposterous!

And so, this search for the Master Builder!

The first clue this writer found out, can be found in our third degree monitor where King Solomon said to Hiram of Tyre the following:

"My worthy brother of Tyre, your suggestion is both good and timely. When human strength and wisdom fails, there is yet strength in the lion of the tribe of Judah. Though the skin slips from the flesh and the flesh cleaves from the bones, there is yet strength in the lion of the tribe of Judah. With your assistance, I will raise the body by the strong grip of the lion's paw and the five points of fellowship, etc. etc.."

It turned out the lead was false. A dead man whose skin slips from the flesh and whose flesh cleaves from the bones can no longer possess the strength of a even a cub, much more a lion. The lion cannot therefore refer to Hiram Abif; nor can it refer to Hiram of Tyre because the latter is of Phoenician origin. Ergo, the title must refer to King Solomon. But how does one check this out?

The key is the phrase "lion of the tribe of Judah" (for a more detailed analysis on the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the reader is encouraged to open the Masonic Education page for a related article); but how does one analyze this?

The word Judah has two meanings. It can connote a place, or the name of a person. Judah, as a place, refers to the southern kingdom of the Jewish nation, the northern being Israel. The word was in turn derived from the name of the person who originally used it. Who then is Judah?

Judah is the son of Jacob who is in turn the son of Isaac, who, by like manner, is the son of Abraham. Which effectively makes Judah the great grandson of Abraham. But wait; the mention of four names in just one sentence can get complicated. Let's take them up one by one, the last-named explained first.

Abraham and Isaac can be found in the third degree lecture which says:

"It (meaning the temple of King Solomon) was located near Mount Moriah, near the place where Abraham was about to offer up his son, Isaac, and on the place where David met and appeased the destroying angel."

There you are! Abraham and Isaac were the first visitors of the place where the Temple is to be built. Jacob, on the other hand, is found in the first-degree monitor where the covering of a lodge is explained thus:

"The covering of a lodge is no less the clouded canopy or star-decked heaven where all good men hope at last to arrive, where Jacob in his vision saw, reaching from earth to heaven, the three principal rounds of which are denominated by Faith, Hope, etcetera."

So let's now get back to Judah.

Judah is the fourth of the thirteen children of Jacob, twelve boys and one girl, by four women, two of whom are sisters. This effectively explains why King Solomon is also fond of women, even his great, great, great (how many great, this writer could no longer figure out) grandfather was also fond of women, but let us not digress on the main topic.

The Book of Genesis says that Jacob sired the following from the following women.

A. From Leah
1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
5. Isaachar
6. Zebulum

B. From Bilhah
7. Dan
8. Napthali

C. From Zilpah
9. Gad
10. Asher

D. From Rachel
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

In addition, Leah also produced a girl named Dinah who was later raped by Schechem, a Hitite, but that's getting ahead of the story. Now, producing thirteen (13) children may not be considered an accomplishment in itself, but the number thirteen is intriguing.

The Holy Bible says that as a bachelor Jacob left Isaac and went to the tribe of his uncle, Laban. There he was enamored with Rachel, the younger daughter of Laban and forthwith served his uncle for seven years to enable him marry her. But at bedtime, Laban switched Leah for Rachel and as Jacob was already drunk, went into her. The next morning, Jacob was of course angry but could not do anything as marrying the elder is the custom of the place. Ruefully, he served Laban for another seven years just so he could marry Rachel.

But Rachel could not bear children while Leah was propagating her fair share. In succession, she bore Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, rested for a while, and later again bore Isaachar and Zebulum.

Incensed at the anomalous situation, Rachel willingly allowed her maid, Bilhah to be impregnated by Jacob so that she could treat the offspring that would ensue as if it were her child. As a faithful servant and also because of sexual needs, Bilhah was cooperative and bore Dan and Napthali.

Leah would not be denied. She also allowed her maid Zilpah to be impregnated by Jacob who likewise bore two sons, Gad and Asher. And to further complicate the already complicated merry-go-round, Rachel also later bore two children, Joseph and Benjamin. Which just about tells us not to lose hope, because if Rachel did lose hope in bearing a child, then Joseph would not have been born, and if his birth did not materialize, who would become the Vizer of all Egypt who would later rescue the clan from famine in the ancient land of Ur?

And why is the narration of the children of Judah necessary in the search of the Grand Master Hiram Abif?

Well, because the tribes of Dan and Napthali were specifically mentioned in the building of King Solomon's Temple. Specifically, the workman who is skilled in brass came from one of these two tribes, depending on what book you are referring to. And to insure that there is no confusion, three versions of the Holy Bible (namely, the Catholic edition, the

King James Version and the Berkeley edition) are mentioned hereunder: Let's now refer to the Holy Book.

1 Kings, 7, 13-14

Berkeley Edition - Then King Solomon had Hiram brought out from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Napthali, his father had been a Tyrian bronze worker. His father was intelligent, talented, and talented in skilled in all types of bronze work.
King James Version - And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Napthali and his father was a man from Tyre, a worker in bronze and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon and wrought all his work.

Catholic Edition - King Solomon had Hiram brought from Tyre. He was a bronze worker, the son of a widow from the tribe of Napthali; his father had been from Tyre. He was endowed with skill, understanding and knowledge of how to produce any work in bronze.

2 Chronicles 2, 13

Berkeley Edition - So now I will send a master craftsman, my famed Huram, skilled in understanding- the son of a woman from the people of Dan, whose father was a man from Tyre- expert at working in gold, silver, copper, iron and stone; . . .

King James Version - And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's, the son of a woman from the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, . . . .

Catholic Edition - I am now sending you a craftsman of great skill, Huram-Abi, son of a Danite woman and of a father from Tyre; he knows how to work with gold, silver, bronze and iron. . .

From the two books above-mentioned, the architect who is skilled in the work of brass either has the name Hiram . . . from the tribe of Napthali, or Huram . . . from the tribe of Dan. But the Catholic Edition has added a suffix on the name Huram, and that is Abi!!

And what does this amount to? Simply this!

In one of the Scottish Rite degrees (this writer will not say which so that the reader may be encouraged to get back at the Scottish Rite teachings if he has already received them, or join the Scottish Rite if he hasn't done so yet), part of the topic of which states:

"The name of the Master who is known to you as Hiram Abif is connected with the same symbol. Abif is not a part of his name, not a correct rendering of the Hebrew word which is "Abiu", his father. Ab and Abi means father, master, instructor. Nor is the word Hiram. For in the Book of Kings, Khairom or Khairum, and in the Book of Chronicles, Khurum; and Khurum in the Phoenician language means "the sun.".

How again was the word Hiram changed to Khairom and Huram to Khurum is beyond this writer's imagination. Phonetics and ancient pronunciations, after all, are now beyond the scope of this short article.

End of the search. The GMHA, did exist after all!!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

THE TWIN PILLARS NAMED BOAZ AND JACHIN

Of the lectures of the three different degrees of Blue Masonry, the most beautiful and the most succinct can be found in the 2nd degree monitor. It tells us of the winding stairs consisting of three, five and seven steps, and also gives us a glimpse of how both the Operative and Speculative masons form the core of the membership of Fraternity.
This article will not touch on the coded portions of the second-degree lecture of the Craft but will only delve on the teachings that are decoded and which can readily be understood even by the cowans and eavesdroppers and the new members of the Fraternity. And while the coded portions will be copied verbatim to preserve its mystic, the explanations will, in so far as practicable, be laid out in pure and simple form. Take for instance, “Shiboleth”, that word that was subjected to a previous article.
This article will still probe the second-degree lecture but will also touch topics that hardly ever merited serious attention- the various pillars that were mentioned as follows:
1. The two pillars named Boaz and Jachin that greets the candidate when he re-enters the lodge room during the second section of his passing;
2. The three pillars of the Lodge that the three lights represent in the discourse of the first three steps of the Winding Stairs; and
3. The pillars, also known as columns, that are explained in the lecture of the five steps of the Winding Stairs lecture which comprise the five orders of architecture.
Let’s take Item 1 first.
THE TWO PILLARS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY BIBLE
The two pillars named Boaz and Jachin that greeted the candidate upon his return to the lodge on the second section of the fellowcraft degree conferral have biblical basis and were mentioned at length in 2 Chronicles 3:15-17 and, depending on the reader’s preference on what version of the Holy Bible to use, said the following:
King James Version
“Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiters that was on top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made a hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of the one on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
Catholic Edition
“In front of the building he set two columns thirty five cubits high, the capital topping each was five cubits. He worked out chains in the form of a collar with which he encircled the capitals of the columns, and he made a hundred pomegranates which he set on the chains. He set up the columns to correspond with the nave, one for the right side and the other for the left and he called the one to the right Jachin and the one to the left Boaz.”
Berkeley Edition
Finally, in front of the house he set up two pillars, 52 feet high, each crowned with a 7 ½ foot capital. He made chains in the inner room to put on top of the pillars, fashioning also 100 pomegranates, which he attached to the chains. Thus he erected the pillars in front of the temple one at the right and one at the left, naming the former Jachin and the latter Boaz.”
Note that save for the interchange of the words chapiters with capitals, the use of chains instead of networks, and Berkeley’s Edition use of feet instead of cubits, all three versions are in harmony and are basically in agreement with the wordings and phrases that were used in the second-degree coded monitor.
These two pillars, incidentally, were also mentioned in 1 Kings 7:15-22 and except for slight deviations as to measurements (it mentioned 18 cubits and 27 feet for the Berkley Edition or roughly half the measurements mentioned in 2 Chronicles) it also narrated practically the same thing, and that is, it was made of brass, had chains (or network), had chapiters (or capitals) and also had pomegranates that adorned those pillars.
THE PUZZLE
But what caught this undivided writer’s attention hence subjected to critical review is the coded portion of the monitor which states thus:
Ths chapiters wr srmntd b pommls a bls rprsntg glbs.”
and was followed by a lengthy explanation which says:
“Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution of the earth around the sun, and its diurnal rotation upon its own axis. They are valuable instruments for improving the mind and giving it the most distinct idea of any given problem of proposition, as well as for enabling it to solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with due reverence for the Deity and His works, and are induced to encourage the study of astronomy, geography, navigation and the arts dependent upon them, by which society has been so much benefited.” (italics supplied).
The above-mentioned explanations were deemed intriguing because while the word pommels were indeed mentioned in 2 Chronicles 4: 12, as “on top of the two pillars”, no mention whatsoever as to their uses was ever made, and following the dictum of not adding or subtracting anything from the Holy Scriptures, then the purpose of the pillars in front of the temple would appear to serve mainly as decoration. Could it be then, that our ancient brethren “cooked up” the astronomical relevance of the lecture?!
And so the search for clues to validate our ancient brethren’ assertions in the second degree monitor.
THE TWIN PILLARS AS INTERPRETED BY THE AUTHORS OF HIRAM KEY
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, authors of “Hiram Key” and the “Second Messiah”, postulated that the twin pillars which King Solomon ordered Hiram Abiff to construct in front of the temple represents Misphat which roughly translates to Judgment for Boaz, and Tsedeq or Teacher of Righteousness for Jachin. They alleged that these two pillars when joined together by the word Shalom, represents the rule of Yahweh in establishing the moral order of government on earth. Incidentally, this theory basically conforms to the pronouncement made in the second degree monitor that the two pillars when joined together meant what God promised to David when the lecturer said: “in strength will I establish this mansion house and kingdom forever.”
But this writer, not being familiar with the exact meanings or translations of the words Misphat, Tsedeq, Boaz and Jachin, would rather just leave these assertions to the said authors. Suffice it to say that the Bible said that Boaz is the great grandfather of David while Jachin is a name of one of the sons of Simeon, the eldest son of Jacob. What correlation these names have to the pillars of King Solomon, if any, this writer really does not know.
THE TWIN PILLARS IN THE EYES OF SECHARIA ZITCHIN
Zecharia Zitchin, author of “The Earth’s Chronicles“ whose sources were based on ancient Sumerian tablets that allegedly predates the Holy Bible, theorized that the twin pillars had astronomical relevance. These two pillars, he said, were similar to the devices called “obelisks” in ancient Egypt designed by the builders of the pyramids to determine the equinoctial or solstitial positions of the sun and had for its forerunner the tools and implements of Sumerian astronomy, the basis for the determination of the world’s calendar. Zitchin also claimed in his other book “The Lost Realms” that even at the other side of the globe in Ecuador, two similar pillars also adorn its temples which he claims was also erected for stargazing studies.
Verily therefore, Zitchin’s theories conform to our ancient brethren’s pronouncements that the pillars built by King Solomon on the porch fronting the Temple were indispensable tools for astronomical, geographical and navigational functions.
THE FATE OF THE TWIN PILLARS AS NARRATED IN THE HOLY BIBLE
The question that should now concern the reader before this article ends is: “whatever happened to these twin pillars that were erected by King Solomon” as the second-degree monitor suddenly dropped this issue as if it were a hot potato!!
Well, the answer can be found in the Book of Jeremiah that narrated the destruction of the kingdom of Judah when it was over run by King Nebuchadnezar in 586 BC. In this book (Jm 53: 17-18), it said:.
“The bronze pillars that belonged to the House of the Lord, and the wheeled carts and the bronze sea in the House of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke into pieces; they carried away all the bronze to Babylon.”
The twin pillars therefore, had been cast to oblivion but not before similar representations of which may be viewed in most modern-day Masonic Temples, (readers can easily see these either in front of the doorway of the old but now destroyed Masonic Temple at San Marcelino St., and another at the doorway of the new Grand Lodge of the Philippines temple at General Luna St.), and made available for the present and future generations of Masons to remember and behold.

Friday, June 24, 2005

SHIBBOLETH

Talk about the lecture of the fellowcraft degree and you are instantly reminded of the winding stairs consisting of three, five and seven steps. Those who have had the opportunity of performing the role of the Senior Deacon in the second section of the conferral of this degree will readily say it is one of the most beautiful teachings of the Craft. In it the three pillars consisting of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are succinctly explained as are the five orders of Architecture comprising the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian and the Composite. So are the seven liberal arts and sciences which, although no longer explained in detail, are actually grouped into the trivium which is composed of Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic; and the quadrivium- that comprise the analytical fields of Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy.
Browsing back at the opening paragraphs before the winding stairs were recited, the candidate is told that our ancient brethren already knew that the world is round, that it revolves around the sun and that it also rotates in diurnal rotation upon its own axis. How amusing that the Roman Church only lifted the excommunication of Galileo in the middle of the 20th century for declaring that the world is round some four hundred years before!
But this article is not about the winding stairs nor of the sphericity of planet earth as this was already known to the ancient Egyptians from whom Julius Caesar borrowed and had decreed the use of the Julian Calendar which is now indelibly enshrined in our everyday life. He, after all, officially promulgated the world’s calendar as consisting of 365 days for three successive years and adding another day on the fourth by calling it a leap year.
Of course, the Julian Calendar was not precisely accurate! Exact calculations reveal that the earth takes a complete turn around the sun in exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds and is therefore 11 minutes and 14 seconds short of the Julian calendar. For the time being however, this discrepancy will be shelved temporarily and the commentary set for a later date in favor of the topic that will be discussed below.
For the purpose of this article, there is another lesson in the lecture of the fellowcraft degree, the impact of the lecture on the winding stairs of which has apparently been relegated to mediocrity and oblivion. It is the unique role played by Jephthah, judge of Israel, and how the word “Shibboleth” was adopted as a password in gaining admission to every regular lodge of fellowcraft masons.
The Book of Judges of the Holy Bible tells us that Jephthah is the great, great grandson of Joseph (genealogy starts with Joseph, brother of Judah, and is followed by Mannaseh, Machir, Gilead and Jephthah) and the son of Gilead by a harlot. At the death of Gilead, Jephthah was driven away by his elder brothers to disinherit him from the estate that his deceased father left behind. Taking residence in the land of Tob, he was joined by other brigands and there prospered. After some time, the Ammonites (the descendants of Lot of Sodom and Gommorah) warred upon the sub-tribe of Mannaseh of the tribe of Joseph that include the Gileadites. The elders of Gilead therefore, convinced Jephthah to return and lead them in battle with the promise that he will be made chieftain should they win, which Jephthah accepted and did.
The other sub-tribe of Joseph named the Ephraimites (descendants of Ephraim, the younger brother of Mannaseh), however, incensed at not being called to fight and share in the rich spoils of the Ammonitish war, assembled its army and crossed the river Jordan to give Jephthah battle but were soundly defeated by the Gileadites under Jephthah’s able leadership.
But this is not the end of the story. Jephthah, aware that the Ephraimites will still attempt to cross the river Jordan by sending their own spies, stationed guards at the fords of the river with the specific instructions that should any stranger pass by that way, he should demand of him to pronounce the word “Shibboleth" which resulted in the death of so many Ephraimites, and here now lies the perplexing situation.
Our second-degree monitor said that the Ephraimites are of a different tribe and consequently could not pronounce the word aright, but biblical narration does not support this allegation. Mannaseh and Ephraim are the two sons of Joseph who became the vizier of Egypt and therefore belonged to the same tribe. Likewise, the lapse of only five generations (from Joseph to Jephthah- see Numbers, Chapter 36) could not possibly drastically change intonation of dialects and/or languages as development of phonetics usually takes aeons and therefore could not support this conclusion. Also, it is doubtful if four generations of Ephraimites can produce a sub-tribe consisting of forty thousand five hundred able-bodied men of twenty years and above as Chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers also show.
Which now favors the theory that the twelve tribes of Israel did not actually come from only the genealogy of the twelve children of Jacob but are in reality tribes that already existed when the children of Israel left Egypt. If it ever did, the genealogy must have involved more than five generations and that they were joined by other leaderless Israelites that automatically created a peculiar phonetic accent and intonation among the different tribes. Under this hypothesis, the descendants coming from the children of Jacob became the automatic leaders of these tribes because they were the Israelites who were able to gain positions of leadership during Joseph’s incumbency as vizier in Egypt and had retained this influence when they left Egypt for the promised land.
Let this writer now offer a hypothesis based on a local setting (with due apologies to our brother Kapampangans, of course!) .
Imagine the Israelites as Malays who migrated from Borneo to the Philippines in the early tenth century. The tribe of Joseph from which both the Ephraimites and the Mannasites (which include the Gileadites) belong were allotted to occupy Central Luzon and with the tribe of Ephraim settling in the Pampanga area while the Gileadites settled in the Bulacan area. The boundary that separated the two sub-tribes was the Apalit-Calumpit river. After the passage of time, the Kapampangans (nee Ephraimites), while still retaining most of the words in the vernacular, have lost the “h” in their pronunciation, thus the English word “house” is pronounced “ba’ay”, while the Gileadites (nee BulakeƱos) have still retained theirs and thus pronounce it as “bahay.”
This was already the case when the Ammonitish war erupted and later, when the Ephraimites were soundly defeated by the Gileadites as narrated earlier, Jephthah ordered his guards that were stationed at the fords of the Calumpit-Apalit river, that should any stranger pass by that way, then he should demand of him to pronounce the word “bahay”. Which, of course, could not be pronounced correctly by the Kapampangans as reasonably the word will be pronounced with the letter “h” lost in the pronunciation. .
With due cognizance also to our Filipino and other brethren who have already settled in the land of the brave and the home of the free and therefore may no longer be familiar with local regional dialects and intonations, perhaps they can also coin a parallel analogy, a situation similar to what has already been described and which it is hoped can roughly be found somewhere at the opposite banks of the imaginary Dixie lines of the American river.
And so ends this short article for the day!!

Monday, June 20, 2005

THE LION’S SENTRA TAKES ON A NEW OWNER

The first object that greeted the lion’s view upon reaching their residence on the evening of April 22, Friday, was his dirty-white 1989 Nissan Sentra that was parked outside of their garage. While still at his den in Guindulman, his youngest cub informed him that last December, he decided to push it outside of the garage since his best friend entrusted to him the latter’s late-modeled car prior to vacationing at the States, and fearful that it might be car-napped if parked outside the gate, decided to have his friend’s car parked inside and the immobilized Sentra parked outside instead.

The lion’s heart sunk. His now-dilapidated car, bought for P200,000 in 1992, the biggest single cash purchase he and his tamer bought in their entire lifetime, was now a sorry sight. Left to the elements, it is now rusty and the once regal car that the lion meticulously maintained in tip-top condition for ten whole years prior to their transfer to Bohol was now headed for the junkyard, He earlier learned also that a neighbor wanted to buy it for a measly P5,000 since anyway, she said, it is now no more than a scrap..

The next day when his youngest cub returned home from his Call Center office , the lion was told that another neighbor also wanted to buy the car but did not name the price, making the lion just shake his head in despair.

Two days later, he went to a repair shop owned by Bro. James Macarilay, a brother from Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169 whom he had guided through the conferral of degrees before he transferred residence to Bohol and told him about the car. The lion’s request was to the point; he wanted the said brother to tow the car to his garage, have it fixed and put it back in tip-top condition, sell it and from whatever proceeds, deduct his expenses and a reasonable amount of profit, and if there is still something left, would be glad if the lion can still get something out of it. But the most important thing is to have it towed as it might be inadvertently hauled by the MMDA where VW Philmore Balmaceda reigns and it would indeed be a source of shame to the aging lion if this awkward possibility happens.

Bro. James had a better suggestion. He said he will arrange that the car be towed to his repair shop, have it body-lifted for the needed repair estimate and once done, would give the lion his best offer for the car. The lion, much like the refrain in the third-degree conferral could only say “Agreed.”


The next day, Bro James was at the house accompanied by his wife and offered to buy the car “as is” for P25,000, which made the lion remark, are you sure you will not lose from the deal? Both James and his wife were categorical in saying “No!” The profit may not be as big as in other transactions, but who would not help a brother who has had a very good influence in his joining the Craft?! Some three years back, the lion guided him and Bro. Jun de la Vega in the conferral of the three degrees where the two would often be at the lion’s residence at Project 8 patiently being taught to memorize the coded monitor while munching the Dunkin donuts that they brought along with them.

But the car’s Certificate of Cover (COC) and the Official Receipt were nowhere to be found and so the attendant dilemma. How does the lion proceed?

Bro James asked where the lion usually pays the annual registration fees and on learning that the latter does it at LTO Caloocan said that it would not be a problem; the LTO Registrar is a brother. Posthaste, the lion copied the number printed in the LTO sticker and promptly went to LTO Caloocan and there found out the registrar is named Rodolfo Panganiban, past master of Hiram Lodge No. 88. There also, he met Bro.Diosdado Meligrito of Labong Lodge No. 59 and another brother surnamed Gualberto from Cavite Lodge No. 2; and while sipping coffee together, a secretary attended to the papers and in about an hour’s time, WB Panganiban handed it over to the lion and forthwith scribbled a short to the LTO Registrar (a lady whose name the lion forgot) at Sta. Mesa where the new Certificate of Cover needs to be issued, but not after giving the lion a calling card saying he does not expect a problem on the issuance of the COC but that the lion should not fail to call just in case.

As expected the lady was very accommodating and the COC was promptly re-issued without the lion getting himself entangled into the messy red-tape, whereupon the lion handed it later to Bro. James and the check for P25,000 collected, after signing the required papers.

The transaction on the Nissan Sentra would have ended right there, except that during the May 28 stated meeting of Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169,the lion again met Bro. James who said: “Kuya, I’m no longer selling your car. I already had it repaired and brought to serviceable condition and I intend to use it in going to and from my work at Bicutan, in lieu of my late-modeled CRV” where he daily reports as a member of the PNP.

And what can the brethren learn from this short article? But can’t you see? The unseen hands of the mystic Craft enabled the aging lion to consummate the transaction through the help of two fraternal brothers with nary a sweat at all!

ZARSUELA, PHILIPPINE STYLE

The circus has now begun. What started as an earth-shaking bombshell has just converted itself either into a soap opera or a comic strip, depending on whether the reader is a romanticist or a philosopher. Consider these.

1. Imagine news in the Philippines are being emailed by brothers based in Haiti (WB Bong Fajardo), Hawaii (Bro. Angel Abellada) and at the American Samoa (WB Dave Dacanay) chronicling the news as shown in Item 2 below.

2. The national paper “Philippine Star” dated June 16 and written by Jaime Laude and Non Alquitran has an article titled “Ong kicked out of Seminary for being a Mason?”. It added that Bishop Bacani (yeah, the bishop accused of sexual harassment earlier) was quoted he was not ready to give up Ong and asked Gen. Art Lomibao of Ong’s safety should the Church decide to hand him over to the police. Lomibao allegedly assured Bacani of Ong’s safety and that the latter will be accorded due process.

The apparent twist here is that the Church apparently lost interest in Ong’s crusade not because he violated certain house rules at the seminary but because he is a Mason, and would therefore hand him over to his would-be captors that is headed by General Lomibao, another Mason.

3. The complaint against Sammy Ong, widely-circulated as a serious case of wire-tapping no different from the Watergate scandal that caused the downfall of Richard Nixon has simmered down into plain “inciting to sedition and rebellion”. Apparently, the planned wire-tapping complaint had to be discarded as the bright lawyers of Samuel Ong may succeed in compelling the alleged wire-tapped victims to appear before the courts and there expose their dastardly acts wide into the open.

4. Ong’s alleged crime is wire-tapping because he admitted that he has in his possession the mother of all tapes and that he has distributed three others (probably having different contents) to three other persons, one of whom is a “worthy brother”. Since Ong is not the wire-tapper but a certain Sgt. Noble and since Noble is but a pawn in the military hierarchy, is it not logical that he must have received orders from a military officer of the ISAF who is of higher rank, probably its chief?! Then who is he and why is he not being brought to the limelight?!

5. Where did Secretary Bunyi got his copy of the tapes? Not from Ong, most reasonably. Then from whom? And why is he also not being brought to the public’s view?


6. The alleged wire-tapped victim’s refusal to dignify answering a question answerable with a simple yes or no can be likened to a wife whose husband caught her naked in bed and with a male jumping out of the window. The husband, later demanding from her what the hell is happening, simply replied “I don’t want to answer that absurd and irresponsible question. I’d rather be busy cooking your food and you better forget whatever you saw!

7. The church has apparently lost interest in Ong’s crusade; all because he is a Mason. That old yarn about Masons existing with the sole purpose of destroying the Roman Church holds magic. Now, you who are deprived of the holy communion out there in the fringes of Mindanao, please take note.


8. Either the PNP is completely inutile or that it purposely allowed Sammy Ong to disappear, are logical possibilities. Imagine cordoning the seminary with throngs of PNP personnel in full battle gear out to catch one man, and closely watching the gates only to lose him completely.

9. But it would be safer for Ong’s health that he submits himself to Gen. Lumibao. His life would be in lesser danger if compared to the present situation that he has allegedly disappeared because under the present circumstances, he can easily be shot and be pronounced as dead..

The reason Andres Bonifacio was assassinated at Mount Buntis was because General Paua disobeyed General Aguinaldo’s orders while the Spanish Governor General, a Mason , who in command in the Philippines was recalled to Spain, thus compelling Jose Rizal to apply as a doctor bound for Cuba. But it was too late, Jose Rizal, on board the ship, was ordered to disembark by the new Governor General and in Manila tried for treason. On December 30, shot at the Bagumbayan.

Would Gen. Lomibao then allow that Sammy Ong’s death tarnish his uniform and his ties with the Craft? The lion thinks not.

Ho, ho, hum!!

Leon

DID THE GM USE THE DPWH TROWEL?

Brethren:
The aging lion cherish a unique philosophy that for every bad that goes his way, there is also a corresponding good side that accompanies it. Let him now tell you of this unique story.
Although limping uncomfortably when he returned to his den on Wednesday, June 8, he was pleasantly surprised to personally see for himself the newly-paved road fronting their gate. Five days back, or last June 3, Friday, the lion tamer received a text message from her cousin who informed her that the road that traversed the poblacion of Guindulman town was already being cemented to the surprise of the residents. Not that they were not expecting it to happen, for the road construction had already been delayed unduly, but sudden realization of things that had already started to cool down during the ordinary course of events always trigger surprises.
Let the lion now give you a brief flashback of what he did relative to this cementing project of the DPWH.
Last March 5, the lion sent an email to MW Reynold S. Fajardo, PGM, GMH, the contents of which is shown below which the readers will find self-explanatory.
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MW Reynold S. Fajardo, PGM
Grand Secretary
Grand Lodge of the Philippines
Subject: REQUEST TO RELAY SPECIAL MESSAGE TO R. W. H. EBDANE, JR.
MW Sir:
The island of Bohol is undergoing a massive road construction project that involves about 90 kilometers of cementing the previously asphalted road from Tagbilaran City to Candijay town and when completed will encircle this famous island into a well-paved road ideal for tourists.
Of the ninety kilometers, approximately one half is being constructed by Hanjin Corporation, a Korean firm, and the other half is being done by C. M. Pancho Construction Corp. , a local construction company.
The project started last March 2004 and if the billboard is to be relied upon, will last a full two years to complete. The first year therefore has just expired.
While Hanjin has already completed about 25 kilometers of cementing and has also undergone the process of preparing the rest of their job to be done for the needed cementing work, which, from the public’s viewpoint appears that this company is on track, this is not so in the case of C. M. Pancho Corp. for to-date, not a single kilometer has been paved with cement. Many reasons have been advanced, but the most visible culprit is that there is no equipment available that will consummate the actual cementing of the road.
From a supposed scheduled cementing that would have started last July yet, the residents have been periodically advised of monthly postponements and now it is rumored that the actual start is again being postponed to this May.
It is also said that the local Engineering office and even Governor Erico Aumentado have already poked their fingers on this project but, but hopelessly, the residents still have to see when the actual cementing will take place.
The undersigned has earlier thought of sending an email to VW Juanito P. Abergas, Regional Director of DPWH but at this juncture, it would appear he would also have no clout to have this dilemma pushed to its realization.
With your easy access to RW Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. therefore, this humble representation trusts your good self may be able to bring this problem to his attention hopefully to do something about this hapless predicament. He has been on the job almost a month now and probably he can assign one of his trusted staff to look into this matter.
This request to relay this problem to our brother who is now the incumbent Secretary of Public Works is being sent because for more than six months already, the populace are reeling from the dust that daily engulfs the community because of the undue delay of the cementing of the road that should have been done much earlier. This predicament has already resulted in the serious coughing of the residents and if not contained, will surely result in the deterioration of their health. A likely result that will happen here which can further complicate the problem is that the construction company may withdraw from the project later without being able to do the job thus further confounding the problem.
The undersigned is emboldened to course this request through your good self as he has no way of conveying this problem to RW Jun Ebdane.
With my kindest fraternal regards!
Bro. GEMINIANO V. GALAROSA, JR.
Dagohoy Lodge No. 84

The hands of time merrily ticked away but no feedback relative to the said email was received. Then the ANCOM at Tagaytay, but the lion could not grab the opportunity to have an audience with the newly-installed Grandmaster. Then, May 19, Thursday, came and learning that the GM was scheduled to go to the Grand Lodge prior to attending a courtesy call to the officers of the Manila Bulletin, the lion also rushed to the Grand Lodge to present a copy of his previous email to the Grandmaster. But the GM, as busy as he was, had to proceed direct to the Bulletin’s office and skipped passing by the GL’s office to the consternation of the aging lion.
Still undaunted, he asked Elo Murillo and was informed that the schedule of the GM to visit the office is every Wednesday of the week. So on May 25, he again went to the Grand Lodge to personally hand over the printed email to the GM only to be told that the GM was already headed for Olongapo and will pass by the office later, what time, she does not know. Faced with the dilemma of not being able to personally meet the GM, he handed over the printed mail to Elo with the specific request that she personally hand it over to the former should he return to the office. Elo assured the lion that she will, and nine days later, the text message of the lion tamer’s cousin that was mentioned earlier was received to the mild surprise of both the lion and his tamer.
The question that the lion tamer posed to her pet was what possible order (or command) did the GM made to his subalterns to effect a sudden and decisive action, or if he did act on the lion’s text message, especially because the townsfolk were told that the actual cementing will start at Duero and not at Guindulman. Or did the wheels of time just solved itself without prodding from human minds?
As of this writing, which is a full seven days since the cementing started that completed the cementing work of one half of the town’s road (the other half will be done about one month after the first half has hardened) thus alleviating the misery of the residents having to inhale the obnoxious dust that hovers the horizon every time motor vehicles pass by. The cementing equipment that was used by CM Pancho has already been transferred to Duero town for the needed work to be done there, which the lion was made to understand was the staring point of the road construction in the first place. How come the start was made at Guindulman instead of at the former, the gossip-vine of the town’s idle residents could not figure out how the heck it ever happened.
But why should the lion care. What is important is that the road, finally, is being cemented and that is all that mattered.