Abra Lodge No. 86
This Lodge is named after the province of which Bangued, the seat of the lodge, is the capital. Abra is Spanish for “gulf” or “bay”. The word also means “gorge” or “mountain fissure”.
Abra Lodge No. 86 was born during Quintin Paredes term as Grand Master.
On January 3, 1923, Paredes issued a dispensation to 14 Master Masons authorizing them to organize a lodge in Bangued, Abra to be named Abra Lodge. Designated as its first officers were: Julio Borbon, Worshipful Master; Frederick Roth, Senior Warden; and Angel Tadeo, Junior Warden. Borbon, incidentally, was the first elected governor of Abra province.
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in the later part of January, the Committee on Charters recommended that the new lodge be granted a charter. Acting on the recommendation, the Grand Lodge granted a charter to the lodge on January 24, 1923. Three months later, on April 27, 1923, Grand Master Frederic H. Stevens, assisted by MW Manuel L. Quezon, MW Quintin Paredes, RW Francisco Delgado, and other Masonic dignitaries motored to Bangued to constitute Abra Lodge and install its officers.
After the formal opening of the Grand Lodge in the evening of April 27, the Brethren marched to the municipal plaza where the public ceremonies of the constitution of the lodge were held. Stevens presided over the ceremonies. Brother Delgado, Grand Junior Warden, acted as Deputy Grand Master; Brother Manuel L. Quezon, Past Grand Master, acted as Chaplain; and Brother Francisco Gumila acted as Master of Ceremonies. Brothers Urbano Banes, John Murphy, Basilio Saguisag, and Rafael Morales also assisted in the ceremonies. After the constitution, Brother Quintin Paredes, Past Grand Master, installed the Officers.
There were over 1,500 guests in attendance who were very much interested in the first public Masonic ceremony held in the province Of Abra. After the ceremonies, Brother Paredes delivered a speech in Ilocano, Brother Quezon in Spanish, and Grand Master Stevens and Brother Delgado in English. A number of distinguished guests attended, including Eugene Gilmore, Vice-Governor-General of the Philippines, and Governor Valera of Abra Province.
The lodge had a good start. Prominent citizens in the province lined up to join it. Among the early initiates and affiliates were: Antonio Colado, Basilio Belisario, Arguedo Crisologo, Cayetano Barros, Vivencio G. Casio, Cecilio Putong, Bernardo Burgos, Esteban Buenavista, Simeon Damian, Gregorio Festejo, Fidel Soliven, Jose Fariñas, Leon C. Bañez, Jose Astudillo, Emiliano Jurado, and Agapito L. Parado. Membership in the lodge steadily grew. Before the end of 1923, it had 29 Master Masons on its roster. The figure went up to 35 in 1924 and 40 in 1928. In the thirties, however, membership declined when the effects of the Great Depression in the United States brought down the Philippine economy. The roster fell to 30 in 1933 and only 13 in 1939.
The lodge had to close during the Second World War, but in spite of its weakened condition the surviving members were able to reactivate it after peace was restored in the province. Under the leadership of Gregorio Festejo, Ildefonso Castillo, Esteban Buenavista, and Evaristo Langbayan it was reestablished in the last months of 1949.
Today Abra Lodge has a modest but devoted membership.
Location: Bangued, Abra