HISTORY OF CAVITE LODGE No. 2
Bro. Ariel Genaro Garcia Jawid*
During the early years of the American occupation in the Philippines, American naval officers who were masons stationed at the Cavite Navy Yard found it too difficult to travel toManila to attend lodge meetings there. On November 23, 1901, there were about 52 members who attended a Masonic club meeting under the leadership of Wor. Bro. Mason E. Mitchell of Stokes Lodge No. 32, Concord, New Connecticut. This club became the foundation for the formation of a lodge in Cavite City. With the sponsorship of Manila Lodge No. 342, Cavite Lodge was issued a dispensation on October 18, 1902 by the Grand Lodge of California after its Grand Lodge Communication.
On November 24, 1902, about 80 Manila masons crossed Manila Bay to Cavite on board the “Buckey O’Neill”, a police boat, to institute the lodge. On October 15, 1903, Cavite Lodge was given its charter as Cavite Lodge No. 350 (Reynold S. Fajardo and Geminiano V. Galarosa, Jr.,Philippine Lodges, 2003, pp. 13-14). Exactly one year after its institution, the lodge was constituted with Wor. Bro.H.E. Stafford officiating. Wor. Bro. Mason E. Mitchell was elected as Worshipful Master with Charles H.W. Aitken as Senior Warden and John A. Maynard as Junior Warden.
Cavite Lodge No. 2 holds the distinction of being one of the three lodges along with Manila Lodge No. 342 and Corregidor Southern Cross Lodge No. 386, which brought the establishment of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Through the petition of these three lodges, the Grand Lodge of the Philippines was granted a charter by the Grand Lodge of California on December 19, 1912. These three lodges, placed under the Grand Jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, were designated as Manila Lodge No. 1 (now Manila – Mt. Lebanon Lodge No. 1), Corregidor Southern Cross Lodge No. 3 (now St. John’s Corregidor Lodge No. 3), and Cavite Lodge No. 2.
Early on, Cavite Lodge No. 2 was housed in its own property - a three-story concrete building where the brethren assembled and held their meetings on its third floor. Unfortunately, this was completely gutted down by fire on the night of August 13, 1924. However, the efforts of Wor. Bros. Frank DeHaven Jones, Henry E. Smith, Henry D. Riley, and John A. Cropper, helped reconstruct the temple and was formally opened on January 17, 1925.
Since its inception, Cavite Lodge No. 2 was an all-American lodge, and through a mutual agreement with another Cavite City Lodge – Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 17, petitions from Americans were to be entertained by this lodge while those from Filipinos and other nationalities were to be attended to by Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 17.
Then came World War II and like most lodges in the country, it did not escape the devastation of war. For the second time, the temple was completely razed to the ground.
With the return of the liberation forces in 1945, the remaining brethren of Cavite Lodge No. 2 led by Wor. Bro. Raymond Kubilis, Bros. William E. Williams, William L. Lord, Gunval A. Gagelie and Claude D. Masters, set to reorganize the lodge by a meeting called on June 2, 1945 at the Lodge Hall of Bagong Buhay No. 17. During the stated meeting held on December 1, 1945, Wor. Bro. Teddy Parson was elected Worshipful Master along with Bro. Gunval Wagelie as Senior Warden and Bro. T.R. Knippenberg as Junior Warden among others.
The aftermath of the Second World War brought about tremendous hardship to the lodge. Many of its members either died in action or succumbed to diseases while being imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps. On the other hand, those who survived were either sent back to the United States to recuperate or were transferred to Subic, Olongapo, where the Navy Yard was likewise moved, like Wor. Bro. Kubilis. These, coupled by the fact that very few Americans were petitioning, further aggravated the problem of membership and attendance in the lodge. “Its charter was then on the verge of being arrested and its properties confiscated by the Grand Lodge(Cabletow, 1976 Special Edition, Salvador C. Gonzales, Brief History of Cavite Lodges – Cavite Lodge No. 2,).”
To solve the dilemma, the then Grand Master Most Wor. Michael Goldenberg and Deputy Grand Master Rt. Wor. Teodorico A. Jimenez made representations with the lodge’s Worshipful Master Bro. Teddy Parson to revoke the lodge’s earlier agreement with Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 17 not to accept petitions other than from Americans. Wor. Bro. Parson agreed with the suggestion and so with the brethren of Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 17.
Immediately thereafter, petitions from Filipinos rushed in with some of those first to affiliate were Wor. Bros. Lazaro Udasco, Policarpio C. Wagelie and Agustin L. Galang, Very Wor. Bro. Apolonio Pisig, Wor. Bros. Jose V. Colina, Fernando G. Medina, Francisco B. Cruz, Eleterio Fojas, Esteban A. de Ocampo and Epifanio R. Agana. Since then, the lodge not only functioned normally but made progress abundantly.
During the early years after its reorganization in 1945, Cavite Lodge No. 2 enjoyed the hospitality of Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 17 due to the absence of a temple of its own. In 1950, the brethren of the lodge acquired by purchase a house and lot and converted it into a temple through its Master, Wor. Bro. Luis M. Buenaventura.
With the felt need of having a more spacious temple, the brethren, through the initiative and tenacity of Wor. Bro. Antonio M. Donado, sold the old property and caused the construction of a much bigger lodge. The cornerstone of the 4th temple was laid on August 14, 1953, being officiated by then Grand Master Most Wor. Mauro Baradi. By November 21st of that same year, the temple was consecrated.
Since its erection and consecration in 1953, improvements and beautification of the temple have been from year to year made during the administration of Wor. Bros. Antonio M. Donado (as Worshipful Master from 1952-1956), Jose Peñaflor (1957), Apolonio Pisig (1958), Dominador G. Crisostomo (1959), Petronio Espineli (1960), Vicente Vale Cruz (1961), Oscar A. Reyes (1962), Cresencio G. Santiano (1963), Homeo B. Alberto (1964), and Domingo M. Guerrero (1965) among others who spared neither expenses nor efforts, not only to make the Temple more presentable as it is possible befitting a Masonic Temple, but also for the comfort and convenience of its members and the Brethren who, in the fulfillment of their Masonic duties regularly and religiously congregate therein.
With the advent of the 21st century, preparations and planning went underway for the general repair and remodeling of the temple. True enough, the brethren of Cavite Lodge No. 2 with the leadership of Wor. Bro. Rafaelito R. Sacdalan, heeded the call and were successful in substantially completing the renovation of the temple just in time for the celebration of its centenary on October 18, 2002 and hosting thereafter in November of that same year the Annual Convention of Masonic District No. 2.
In September 2006, the lodge along with seven (7) other lodges declared its independence from the Grand Lodge of the Philippines and established the Most Worshipful Independent Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippine Islands (IGLPI). It retained its numerical designation (No. 2) with Pilar Lodge No. 3 (15), Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 4 (17), Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Lodge No. 5 (31), Bagong Ilaw Lodge No. 6 (97), and La Naval Lodge No. 7 (269). A few months thereafter, Pintong Bato Lodge No. 9 (51) joined also the IGLPI.
The current set of officers led by Wor. Bro. Antonio Nepomuceno, Bro. Senior Warden Ariel Genaro Jawid and Bro. Junior Warden Fernando Calica, have pledged to contribute to the further improvement of the temple.
Likewise, Cavite Lodge’s temple hosts with pride some of the local appendant bodies like the York Rite Bodies of Freemasonry namely Cavite Chapter No. 13 of Royal Arch Masons, Kalayaan Council No. 4, Royal and Select Masters, and Cavite Commandery No. 7, Knights Templar; and the Emmanuel Baja Chapter of the Order of DeMolay.
To date, based on the available records of the lodge as well as those of the Grand Lodge, Cavite Lodge No. 2 has accounted for more than a thousand petitioners raised to the degree of Master Mason. Of this number, a little over two hundred were officially reported to have dropped their working tools, with about a hundred active members residing in the Philippines along with dual members and some active members, in turn, residing in the United States. Presently, there are no less than one hundred forty-two (142) life members by longevity (LML), and fifty (50) life members by purchase (LMP).
As the lodge continues in its Masonic journey with its avowed mission to spread the ideals of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth towards the next millennium, only the steadfast dedication and cooperation among its members under the guidance of the Great Architect of the Universe, will direct and chart its course to PROGRESS and GREATNESS as its original charter members have envisioned.
*with special thanks to MW Reynold S. Fajardo(+), VW Dominador A. Herrera, WB Wil-Mar A. Agaloos, VW Crisostomo B. Mira, IGLPI and VW Bayani R. Leoncio, IGLPI, for the materials used in this article.