Hiram Lodge No. 88
Named after the two Hirams, one a king and the other a Widow's Son of the tribe of Napthali. Also hiram, in Tagalog, means loaned or borrowed, and suggests that all things possessed by man in this mortal life are borrowed, are a loan we receive from the Great Architect of the Universe.
Sometime in April 1923 a group of Masons from different lodges, met together to organize a new lodge. They petitioned the Grand Master for the issuance of a dispensation to form a lodge in Paco, Manila to be named Hiram Lodge and on April 18, 1923, Grand Master Frederic H. Steven issued the requested dispensation. The members then adopted the By-Laws for the lodge which were approved by the Grand Master on May 15, 1923.
On October 25, 1923, Grand Secretary Newton C. Comfort, inquired why the name Hiram was adopted. The Secretary of the lodge replied on December 20, 1923:
Among the various names submitted, "HIRAM LODGE" made the most effective appeal to its organizers, it is brief and simple, easy to pronounce and to remember, unique and unmistakable, instructive as well as descriptive, and particularly suggestive of Masonic history. The word HIRAM is a Tagalog word. It may either mean BORROWED as the past tense of the verb to borrow, on LOAN when used as a common noun, both of which are suggestive of the fact that all things possessed by man in this earthly world of ours are borrowed, the true and absolute ownership of which none can claim but Him, the Great Architect of the Universe – which is to signify that every member of "HIRAM LODGE" is expected to guard, conserve and improve whatever he now holds in trust, and whenever called for, to turn them over to Him duly Improved in accordance with His Holy desires. Therefore, the meaning that we give for HIRAM LODGE is that it is a borrowed Lodge, and that everything belonging to is also borrowed which undoubtedly conveys a moral truth of universal acceptance.
For all Master Masons the word HIRAM needs no explanation. Whether they take it to mean as Hiram, King of Tyre or Hiram Abif, the widow's son, it would be descriptive of an exemplary life of either of these two great forefathers of Masonry and suggestive of those Masonic and moral virtues which every brother is striving to possess and cultivate like a true and deserving Mason.
The beauty of it lies in the fact that it has a profane and Masonic meanings, both of which are appropriately suited to the noble and glorious purpose for which 'HIRAM LODGE' was organized.
On December 31, 1923, the members presented their petition for a charter to the Grand Lodge, as follows:
The undersigned respectfully represent that on the 18th day of April, A.D. 1923, a Dispensation was issued by the Grand Master for the formation of a new lodge at the City, in the province of Manila by the name HIRAM LODGE; that on the 4th day of May, said lodge was opened and organized, and since continued successfully to work during the period named in the said Dispensation, as will appear from its records, by-laws, and returns, herewith presented; and that it is the anxious desire of the members of said lodge that its exercise be perpetuated.
They, therefore, pray that a charter be granted to said lodge by the name HIRAM LODGE with such number as the Grand Lodge may assign it, and recommend that Brother Filemon Cosio be named therein as Master, Brother Gregorio B. Tengco as Senior Warden, and Brother Gregorio R. Sales as Junior Warden: promising, as heretofore, strict obedience to the Commands of the Grand Master, and undeviating conformity to the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge.
On January 23, 1924, the lodge was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of the Philippines Islands. The following month, on March 14, 1924, Hiram Lodge was officially constituted by Deputy Grand Master Christian C. Rosenstock at the Plaridel Temple. On the same day Junior Grand Warden Joseph H. Schmidt installed the officers of the new lodge.
After the ceremonies, addresses were made by the newly installed Master„ Fileinon Cosio, by WB Austin Craig, and Deputy Grand Master Rosenstock .
Before the outbreak of World War II, Hiram Lodge had only few members for they adopted as a policy that "Quality" is better than "Quantity"; therefore, it was not easy to join the lodge. One applying for degrees had to first pass through a rigid scrutiny of the investigating committee and one applying for affiliation had to be a frequent visitor during the meetings and a Past Master of his own Lodge. So Hiram Lodge was sometimes called a Past Master's Lodge.
Bro. James Stevenson was elected Master in the election of lodge officers held in November 1941. He was installed along with the other officers in the following month. In spite of the bombings by the Japanese, several members of the lodge were present. Having outlived the war, Bro. James Stevenson, therefore held the office of Master of the lodge from 1942 to 1945.
The last two candidates raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason before the Second World War were Bio. Enrique Bernia, who joined the guerilla forces during the war and was captured by the Japanese, and Bro. Atilano Nuñez, a Lieutenant in the Philippine Army, who luckily survived the war.
Hiram Lodge was closed for the duration of the War. Its meeting place, the Plaridel Masonic Temple, was sequestered by the Japanese and was razed to the ground during the battle for the liberation of Manila. As soon as peace was restored, the surviving members reopened their lodge at the temporary offices of the Grand Lodge on Gunao Street in Quiapo, Manila. The first two candidates who were raised while the lodge was still meeting at that place were Brothers Isaac Puno, Sr. and Aniano Masa.
After the Plaridel Masonic Temple on San Marcelino St. was rebuilt by the Grand Lodge, Hiram Lodge returned to the rebuilt Temple.
Today Hiram Lodge takes pride that its roster carries the names of many second generation Hiramites. Several sons of the Past Masters of the lodge have joined and have themselves become Past Masters of the lodge. Most noteworthy are the Puno brothers, led by MW Reynato S. Puno, who are the sons of WB Isaac Puno, and MW Juan C. Nabong, Jr., the son of WB Juan Nabong, Sr. Among the other leaders of the lodge at present are Ramon G. Nuñez, Julio Cabali, Filomeno 0. Chia, Jr., Emilio Dalican, Tomas del Castillo, Eduardo Hashim, Fernando V. Pascua, Jr., Victorino Juico, Virgilio David, Jr., Benjamin So Si Hok, Enriquito DC Dias, Rolando M. Chua, Edralyn Uy Tio, and Rolando FYL Chan. All this validates the old saying - "ONCE A HIRAMITE, ALWAYS A HIRAMITE."
Location: Plaridel Masonic Temple, Manila