Mindoro Lodge No. 157
Named after the island where this lodge is located. Mindoro is one of the bigger islands of the Philippines with an area of 3,794 sq. miles. Mindoro comes from the Spanish phrase "mina de oro" or "gold mine."
The Lodge It was on a summer night in 1958 when Bros. Mariano C. Ramirez, Gavino Mantillo, Benito Samonte, Bienvenido Burgos, Fidel del Rosario, Florencio Bunye and Captain Lukban of General Shipping Company, informally assembled in a kiosk at Dunkel St., now Liboro St., San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and conceived the idea of founding a lodge in the province. Their plan, however, was almost aborted when Bros. Burgos, a PC Major, and Lukban, were transferred to other official stations. The situation became more difficult when Bro. Fidel del Rosario went to Australia. Fortunately, in the early part of 1959, some young and newly raised brothers (Manuel C. Garcia, Bienvenido Samonte, and Crisostomo Clarito) and an old hand, Ricardo Nostraits, joined the remaining brothers so they revived their plan.
Nostraits, a rice mill owner and palay trader, cleared the upper deck of his bodega located at Capt. Cooper St., San Jose, Occidental Mindoro near the market site and made it available to the brethren. They practiced the rituals, under the guidance of Bro. Clarito, a very proficient brother. Later a petition for a dispensation to form a lodge to be named Mindoro Lodge was prepared and submitted to the Grand Lodge. Some of the signatories were Nostraits (Laoag Lode No. 71), Lorenzo Talatala (Laoag Lodge No. 71), Honofre Restor (Makabugwas Lodge No. 47), Paulino Ganda (Vigan Lodge No. 63), Fidel del Rosario (Bagong Buhav Lodge No. 17), Geronimo Malaluan (Tamaraw Lodge No. 65, and Bienvenido Samonte (Nilad Lodge No 12).
When the date of inspection was scheduled, misfortune came. A conflagration broke in the early morning of April 1959, and the warehouse of Nostraits, that was intended to be used as a lodge hall, was razed to the ground. Still, the brothers were undaunted. They stubbornly held on to their resolve to form the lodge. The brethren salvaged some of the burned GI sheets and built a temporary building for the lodge on the same site. By the gentle stroke of destiny, their efforts were eventually crowned with blessings upon the coming of replacements in the persons of Bros. Lorenzo Talatala, Honofre Restor, Paulino Ganda, Domingo Hornilla and Artemio Tiangco, and the return from Australia of of Bro. Fidel del Rosario.
Under the patient guidance of Bro. Talatala, the brethren zealously trained themselves on the various aspects of the ritualistic work. On certain weekends they net to share the benefits of their experience among themselves.
On October 21, 1959, a dispensation was granted to Mindoro Lodge. The officers named in the dispensation were: Ricardo Nostraits - Worshipful Master, Benito Samonte - Senior Warden and Lorenzo Talatala - Junior Warden. In April 1960, Mindoro Lodge No. 157 was granted a charter and on June 11, 1960, it was formally constituted by a team of Grand Lodge dignitaries led by Grand Master Macario M. Ofilada, in appropriate ceremonies held publicly at the reconstructed bodega of Nostraits. Immediately thereafter the following officers installed: Nostraits, Master; Samonte, Senior Warden; Talatala, Junior Warden: Honofre Restor, Secretary, and Mariano C. Ramirez, Treasurer.
Mindoro Lodge immediately started initiating applicants. Among the first to be initiated were Irene Condes, Felix Flores, Mariano Jondonero, Toribio Cajivat and Catalino Torre.
The need for fixed quarters was a problem that beset Mindoro Lodge No. 157 from the very moment of her inception. After the bodega of WB Nostraits burned down, the members, in their vain efforts to find a temporary home, moved from one place to another in a virtual odyssey. Fortunately, WB Flaviano Ramirez donated a lot at the heart of the commercial center of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro located at Lopez Jaena St.
In December 1967, under the determined leadership of WM Manuel Garcia, a lodge Temple was constructed. Bro. Jose Pendon was the foreman during the construction. Donations were solicited from among the brethren in the form of cash and materials. WB Pablo dela Rosa, WB Virgilio C. Cruz and Bro. Li Chiao Kaw took the generous role of being financiers. The building was eventually completed and thereafter meetings were held in the new Temple. A number of brethren were initiated, passed and raised in that lodge. In April 1983, the facade of the building was remodeled.
On April 15,1985, thru the efforts of WB Florencio Ramirez and WB Albert Balayan, the lodge sponsored Mindoro Chapter of the Order of DeMolay. In December 1985, the members started remodeling the Temple anew. While the work was going on meetings were temporarily held at the 3rd floor of the Samonte building located near the market size.
In December 1987, the blessing of this modest edifice and the installation of the lodge officers were held. Rev. Fr. Gregorio Buenavista, SVD, officiated the blessing and said the invocation during the installation ceremonies. Dignitaries from the Grand Lodge led by RW Raymundo N. Beltran, then Grand Senior Warden, presided over the rites as installing officer. VW Geminiano Noche, DDGM District No. 28, gave the charge to the Master, VW John Choa, DDGM District 1-A, was invited as guest speaker and WB Virgilio C. Cruz, PM as Master of Ceremonies. All the brethren, sisters, and DeMolays came to witness this memorable event and even the lost brethren paid a visit to extend their felicitations to Mindoro Lodge No. 157.
On May 21, 1988, almost twenty-eight (28) years after its inception, Mindoro Lodge No. 157 hosted the Annual District Convention for Masonic District No. 28.
Location: San Jose, Occidental Mindoro