Maguindanao Lodge No. 40
Maguindanao is the old name of the island of Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines (36,901 square miles). Maguindanao also means "people of the flood plain” and refers to those who live along the banks of the Rio de Mindanao that regularly overflows its banks inundating the adjacent plain up to 10 miles inland.
In 1910, Fulgencio F. Pangan left his job in Manila to work with the Court of First Instance in Cagayan, now Cagayan de Oro City. He had a burning ambition to organize a lodge in Mindanao. After settling down in Cagayan, Pangan established contact with three Masons, Nicolas Capistrano, Isidro Vamenta and Emilio Pineda and convinced them to organize a Masonic Triangle (equivalent to today's Lodge UD) under the Grand Oriente Espanol.
They immediately started to initiate, pass and raise applicants and after they had enough members they met on July 14, 1911 to lay out plans to upgrade their Triangle into a regular lodge. Those who attended were: Pangan, Capistrano, Vamenta, Apolinar Velez, Uldarico Akut, Juan Roa Valdeconcha, Ricardo Reyes and Celedonio Abellanosa. In accordance with the requirements of the Gran Oriente Espanol they held a second meeting two days later and elected the three lights - Pangan in the East, Vamenta in the West and Emilio Pineda in the South. These officers were installed on July 17.
The members prepared the by-laws of the lodge and on November 2,1911 sent them to the Grand Council of the Order of the Gran Oriente Espanol, together with a request for the issuance of a charter. A few months later, tragedy visited the Triangle. Its founder and Master, Fulgencio Pangan, passed away shortly after presiding over the meeting on March 26, 1912.
On March 18, 1913, the Gran Oriente Espanol instructed the Master to convoke the Triangle for the purpose of raising two of its members to the Sublime Degree, as the Triangle did not have the required number of Master Masons to warrant its conversion into a lodge. They were also directed to elect a new set of officers and immediately thereafter have Maguindanao Lodge No. 334 constituted and its officers installed. Accordingly, Nemesio Chavez and Mariano A. Velez were raised to the Sublime Degree. In the election of officers, Apolinar Velez was chosen Master, Nemesio Chavez, Senior Warden and Mariano A. Velez, Junior Warden. On March 26, 1913 a commission composed of Ramon Vanta, Manuel Villavicencio and Simon Arlante, all of Sinukuan Lodge No. 272, constituted Maguindanao Lodge No 334 and installed its officers.
Four years later, all the lodges in the Philippines under the Gran Oriente Espanol fussed with the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. The bulk of the lodges transferred on February 13,1917. Maguindanao Lodge and two other provincial lodges affiliated in the following month. On March 15, the Grand Lodge of PI held a special communication and issued charters to the three lodges. Maguidanao was chartered as Lodge No. 40. On May 5, 1917, it was formally constituted.
In its early days, Maguindanao Lodge had difficulty expanding because of religious opposition to the Fraternity, however, in 1923 several young candidates were admitted into the lodge. They were the embodiment of dedication and aggressively brought the lodge to the attention of the public. An opportunity to boost the image of the Craft came when President Warren Harding of the United State suddenly died. The Masonic fraternity in the Philippines held memorial services for him. For this purpose, permission to use the only movie house in Cagayan was secured from the owner, Bro. Clementino Chavez. Brother Bertlet, the Superintendents of School, and Bro. Stevens, a retired Constabulary Colonel, participated in the ceremonies. The movie house was filled to the rafters and the services deeply impressed those who attended.
Some years later, Pedro Diaz, a former Secretary of the lodge, passed away and, for the first time a Masonic funeral service was held in Cagayan.
In November 1932, the Grand Lodge announced that its Twentieth Anniversary program would be broadcast over Station KZRM. The radio at that time was a novelty with very few people owning receivers. The lodge installed a Westinghouse combination radio receiving set in the room of the Cagayan Masonic Club and invited the Misamis Masons, their families and friends to come on November 19 to listen. The audience listened with rapt attention to the words of MW Eugene H. Stafford and Teodoro M. Kalaw and enjoyed the games and refreshments before and after the radio séance. All were very grateful to Bros. Caballero and Pabayo, of Cagayan, through whose courtesy they were able to hear the program in distant Manila.
In February 1936, the municipal government of Cagayan de Oro, under the auspices of Maguindanao Lodge, celebrated the 1936 Constitution day with a mass meeting at the town plaza where important provisions of the constitution were explained. Among the speakers were W.B. Manuel C. Fernandez, who was a Constitutional Delegate, and Bro. Julio W. Pacana, Municipal President. A huge crowd attended the meeting with intense interest and stayed up to midnight. The lodge defrayed the expenses of the celebration and Masons led in the discussions.
The foregoing activities forcefully thrust Maguidanao Lodge to the attention of the people of Cagayan. From a lodge that could hardly muster a quorum, it became a strong influence on the activities of the town.
Maguindanao Lodge also fostered the spread of Masonry to other areas in Northern Mindanao. It sponsored the establishment of Maranaw Lodge No. 111 in Iligan; Musuan Lodge No. 155 in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Apo Kahoy Lodge No. 166 in Gingoog City; and Macajalar Lodge No. 184 in Cagayan de Oro City.
A proud accomplishment of Maguindanao Lodge is the construction of a beautiful concrete edifice on a lot it acquired on the corner of Heroes de Cagayan and Real Streets (now C. Pacana and N. Capistrano Streets). Actually, the members had succeeded in constructing a small building on the lot before World War II, but it was destroyed during the war. At the end of the hostilities, the members organized the Mindanao Masonic Temple Association, which put up a building on the lot in the 1950's. Later, the same Association remodeled the building and transformed it into a three-story edifice. Credit for the construction of the building is attributed to the untiring efforts of Ubaldo D. Laya, Johnny Wilson, Pastor Argaoso, Primo Santiago, Felix Caburian and Mariano Alcantara.
Location: Cagayan de Oro City