Agno Lodge No. 75
Agno Lodge was named after the Agno River which flows through Rosales, Pangasinan, the original seat of this Lodge. Agno River is the largest and most extensive of the three principal river systems in Pangasinan.
Masonry gained a foothold in Eastern Pangasinan in 1921, when fourteen (14) Master Masons residing in the area founded Agno Lodge in the town of Rosales. The founders were: Teodoro Basconcillo, David Shaw, Circilo V. Francisco, Antonio M. Pagsibigan, Jose A. Perez, Bartolome Ramat, Eulogio B. Barrientos, Felipe S. Jose, Leonardo J. Otaysa, Isidro C. Perez, Sixto A. Pajaro, Vicente C. Perez, Sim Keng and Chan Kiao. Rosales was selected as the site of the new lodge because, at that time, it was the center of trade and commerce in Eastern Pangasinan and, moreover was accessible to the Provinces of Tarlac and Nueva Ecija by a national road. A building at the heart of the town was used as its first Temple.
On June 15, 1921, Grand Master Edwin E. Elser granted the founders a dispensation to organize Agno Lodge in Rosales and designated Teodoro Basconcillo as its Worshipful Master; Jose A. Perez as Senior Warden; and Leonardo J. Oteyza, Junior Warden. The lodge started to function immediately acted on petitions for the conferral of Masonic degree. Within a few months, six petitioners were favorably balloted upon and made Masons. In January 1972, the Grand Lodge, finding that the lodge had complied with requirements, granted it a charter as Agno Lodge No. 75.
On the 31st of March 1922, Grand Master Quintin Paredes, assisted by Daniel Maramba, Felipe Jose, Victor Tomelden, Pedro Ma. Sison, Pedro Quintana and several other Masonic dignitaries proceeded to Cine Rosales where they constituted Agno Lodge and installed its officers. The ceremonies were public and the attendance was approximately 400 persons. Speeches were delivered by Senator Pedro Ma. Sison of Pangasinan Lodge in Spanish; Assemblyman Felipe Jose of Regeneracion Lodge in Tagalog, WB Basconcillo in Spanish and Pangasinan, and MW Paredes in Spanish.
In the following years, Agno Lodge maintained a steady existence. It took in 14 new members in 1929, 5 in 1930 and 1 in 1936.
A dark period of the lodge occurred from 1931 until the end of World War II. The Great Depression in the United States caused a serious downturn in the economy of the Philippines. Many people lost their jobs, some even their entire fortunes. All fraternal associations in the Philippines suffered a loss in membership. In the Masonic fraternity, several lodges became so weak the Grand Lodge arrested their charters. Some merged with others to insure their continued existence. Agno Lodge was no exception. Its funds dwindled and annual dues and fees could not be paid until the end of World War II. For many years no applicants knocked on its doors. In 1936, it was fortunate to have one applicant, but thereafter there was a complete draught. Total membership fell to 45 in 1930, 23 in 1933, 13 in 1938 and only 10 in 1940. The lodge was perilously close to extinction.
After being forced to close for over three years during the Japanese occupation, the lodge unsteadily rose to its feet in April 1945 with the election of the late Don Juan N. Kagaon as Worshipful Master and WB. Pedro Romasoc as Secretary. The lodge was transferred from Rosales to Tayug, Pangasinan and its By-Laws were changed from Spanish to English. Its regular meeting was reset to the third Saturday of every month at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Special meetings were called from time to time as the need arose or as the Worshipful Master directed.
On July 6, 1946, the lodge held a special meeting for the purpose of conferring the first degree on Honorato Rodriguez y Medina, Ex-Mayor of Sta. Maria, Pangasinan. It was the first initiation held for more than nine years, the last being April 17, 1937. Only the members of the lodge took part in the conferral, led by the Master Emilio Naraval, who was assisted by Juan N. Kagaon, Jose Soria, Eusebio Medina, Delfin Ramirez and Mariano Velasco. Thereafter Agno Lodge slowly grew in strength. From a roster of only 8 in 1947, membership ballooned to 42 in 1952.
In Tayug, Agno Lodge was an itinerant lodge. Its first meeting place in its new location was in a house of the late WB Anastacio Abad in Barrio Amistad, Tayug. Later, it transferred to the upper floor of the house of WB Juan N. Kagaon; then to a building at the Luna Colleges, offered for free by the late WB Teofilo P. Alias; and then again to another building in the Luna Colleges, also offered for free by WB Felix Mamenta, Jr. The peregrinations of the lodge lasted until 1989.
After WB Teofilo P. Allas donated a 300 sq.m. lot in Brgy. Amistad, Tayug, Pangasinan, the lodge launched a campaign for funds for the construction of a Temple of its own. In 1976, P25,000.00 was raised and with it the concrete framework of the Temple was constructed. Later, however, work had to be stopped for lack of funds.
In 1977, Agno Lodge suffered another setback. A number of brethren from the municipalities of San Nicolas, Natividad and San Quintin, after a controversy in the election of the officers of the lodge, seceded and organized Red Arrow Division Lodge No. 217, now, the Edilberto Tamondong Lodge No. 217. Again the lodge was brought to its knees. Its finances nose-dived and consequently dues and fees accruing to the Grand Lodge could not be remitted.
In 1982 a dynamic leader, Dalmacio S. Miranda, Sr., was elected Master of the lodge. Stung by the warning made by the Inspector, WB. Gaudencio David, that the charter of the lodge was due to be arrested, he initiated an earnest campaign to collect the back dues and fees of the members. He was successful and on April 26, 1982, the lodge partially settled its arrearages with the Grand Lodge. The Masters who succeeded WB Miranda continued his campaign and in May 1984, all accounts of the Lodge with the Grand Lodge were fully liquidated.
Hand in hand with the collection of dues and assessments from the members, a fund raising drive was launched for the long delayed construction of the Temple in Amistad, Tayug. Brethren and friends alike made generous donations. In 1989, construction work on the Temple commenced and on February 17, 1990, Agno Lodge No. 75 F. & A.M., finally moved into its new and permanent Temple.
Location: Tayug, Pangasinan