Rizal Lodge No.20
This lodge is named after Dr. Jose Rizal, the famous Filipino Mason, author and patriot, who was shot publicly on Bagumbayan Field in Manila on December 30, 1896.
Rizal was born to Francisco Mercado y Alejandro and Teodoro Alonzo y Realonda. How he got the name Rizal is an interesting story.
MW Michael Goldenberg, a noted Rizalist, relates that Rizal's great grandfather on his father's side was a foreigner of Chinese ancestry. He was a buyer and seller of fruits and vegetables, which he sold to the market vendors in the "Mercado," or market of Blinn, Laguna. When he was baptized, the Priest suggested that he be named "Mercado" because he became wealthy thru his business in the market. Since that time he and his family carried the name "Mercado." Thus, Rizal's father was born and baptized as Francisco Mercado y Alejandra.
In 1842, Governor-General Claveria issued a decree that all residents with two names only, such as Francisco Mercado, must adopt a new family name because of too many using the same "appellido." The town Mayors were directed to assist anyone in selecting and registering their new names. When Francisco Mercado appeared before his friend, the Spanish alcalde (mayor) of Calamba, he was greeted as follows:
"Here comes the 'racial' man," to which Mercado replied: "not so 'racial' my friend as I do not dislike all Spaniards for I do like those who are like yourself. Change it a little by calling me Metal or Rizal and I will adopt that as my name." He adopted Rizal as the required change in his name, but was never known by it until his son Jose adopted it.
Jose Rizal, in his youth, considered himself a Mercado, but when he enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila in 1872, his brother, Paciano, who in college was known as Paciano Mercado and who was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny of 1872, feared that Jose might run into trouble if it was known too openly that they were brothers. He advised Jose to style himself Jose Rizal. Jose took the advice and since then he was known as Jose Rizal.
Founded in Lopez, Quezon by Antonio Argosino, Ildefonso Tugueta and Getulio Capistrano, Rizal Lodge No. 312 was admitted into the Federation of the Gran Oriente Espanol in 1909. It had a prosperous beginning and even successfully spread the light of Masonry to different towns in the province. Thus, on June 15,1914, several of its members under the leadership of WB Antonio Argosino and WB Gerardo L. Tanada organized Balintawak Lodge No. 312 in Gumaca.
In 1917, all the lodges working under the Gran Oriente Espanol forged a union with the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands and were given new charters by the Grand Lodge of PI. On February 13, 1917, Rizal Lodge No. 312 received a new charter as Rizal Lodge No. 20 and was constituted the following day as a subordinate lodge of the Grand Lodge of PI.
Many prominent citizens of Lopez joined Rizal Lodge. Some of them are Hipolito Valencia, Ildefonso Jugueta, Perfecto Reyes, Andres Torres, Hipolito E. Valena, Simeon Pasamba and Melton Manza. Initially the lodge had a large roster. It had 72 members on its rolls in 1920. In subsequent years, however, it suffered a decline in membership, going down to only 25 in 1927. It never recovered and several times it had to recycle its officers. Nevertheless, peace and harmony prevailed within its precincts and the members contentedly practiced the Royal Art.
Like all other lodges in the Philippines, Rizal Lodge went into darkness during the Japanese regime. It was reactivated soon after the war and for about two decades thereafter had a steady existence. It even planned to construct its own Temple. On January 30, 1965, the cornerstone was laid. A few years later, however, the foundations of the lodge started to shake. It again lost many members and its finances suffered. At the Annual Communication in 1973, Grand Master William C. Councell informed the brethren that he suspended the charter of Rizal Lodge for non-payment of fees and dues to the Grand Lodge and its failure to keep proper records. The following year Rizal Lodge settled its problems with the Grand Lodge so its charter was restored. Its difficulties, however, persisted. Most of its members transferred residence to other provinces until there were only three left, because of which the lodge could not open for the conduct of business. After a few years of inactivity, the remaining members threw in the towel and surrendered the charter of their lodge in 1979. That however, would not be the last hurrah of Rizal Lodge No. 20. Once again it was resurrected, but its problems persisted. In 1990, Grand Master John L. Choa made one last try to save the lodge. He asked VW Ricardo Tan, DDGM, to try to invigorate the lodge. Tan, however, failed in his efforts and regretfully had to recommend the arrest of the charter of the lodge. In the Annual Communication held in April 1991, MW Choa informed the brethren that he had arrested the charter of Rizal Lodge No. 20. So far no attempt has been made to resurrect the lodge anew.
Location: Lopez, Quezon.