Balintawak Lodge No.28
Balintawak Lodge is named after a village near Manila where, in 1896, historians tell us, the first general insurrection against the Spaniards began. Balintawak means the turning point of the road. Another meaning is the head knot of the "panuelo" which is used by women when covering their heads with a large handkerchief.
On June 15, 1914, several members of Rizal Lodge No. 312 located in Lopez, Tayabas (now Quezon) and working under the Gran Oriente Espanol, held a preliminary meeting in Gumaca, Tayabas for the purpose of establishing a new lodge. They named their proposed lodge Balintawak. The following day, in compliance with the rules of the Gran Oriente Español, they held another meeting and elected the officers of the new lodge. The principal officers chosen were: Antonio E Argosino, Venerable Master; Gerardo L. Tanada, First Vigilant; Basilio de Guzman, Second Vigilant; Marciano Principe, Secretary Guardian of the Seal; and Benito Querol, Treasurer. The elected officers were installed on June 17, 1914.
A petition for affiliation was accordingly sent to the Gran Oriente Espanol which granted a charter on August 16, 1914 to Balintawak Lodge No. 354. After considerable delays, the Regional Grand Lodge of the Philippines appointed an Installation Committee with Teofilo Gregorio of Banahaw Lodge No. 332, as Chairman and Uldarico Villamor of Rizal Lodge No. 312 and Mariano Salandanan of Araw Lodge No. 304, as members. On April 17, 1915 the Committee constituted Balintawak Lodge in a rented building on Capisonda St. (now Quezon St.) in Gumaca, Tayabas.
In February 1917, when the lodges under the Gran Oriente Espanol fused with the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands, Balintawak Lodge No. 354 transferred allegiance and was issued a new charter as Balintawak Lodge No. 28 by the Grand Lodge of PI.
From its modest beginnings, the founders nurtured the new lodge through years of sacrifice. On October 1, 1918, they were able to buy a lot and building with money contributed by the members. They used the spacious room in the second floor as their Lodge Hall and rented the ground floor to the government which converted it into schoolrooms.
Over the years, Balintawak Lodge has been instrumental in the establishment of other lodges in the province. Those it helped organize are: Filipinas Lodge No. 54 (now defunct) in Panaon, Unisan; Kalilayan Lodge No. 37, in Lucena; and Tayabas Lodge No.43 in Tayabas. Filipinas Lodge was organized by Jovencio Trinidad, Jose Santayana, Estanislao Verder and other members of Balintawak Lodge, while other teams from the lodge set up Kalilayan and Tayabas Lodges.
From the time of its foundation, Balintawak Lodge has enjoyed continuous growth and prosperity, except for the few years during the Pacific War that brought about a temporary disruption of its work. The lodge was not spared from the looting that followed the Japanese entrance into the town of Gumaca. Its tools and implements were lost, its furniture and other paraphernalia looted, leaving the temple bare and destitute. But immediately upon the liberation of the town, the members rehabilitated their lodge. WB Simeon Estrada spent his own money to repair the lodge building, while the other members made generous contributions for the acquisition of lodge furniture and implements.
Balintawak Lodge has recorded a steady existence since its rehabilitation after the war.
Location: Gumaca, Lopez