Tayabas Lodge No. 43
Tayabas is the name of the town in which this lodge is situated. It is also the old name of the province of Quezon. Tayabas is a variation of the Tagalog word "Tayabas" meaning "guava."
In January 1947, this lodge changed its name to Jose Abad Santos Lodge in honor of the great Filipino martyr and Past Grand Master, but in 1968 it reverted to its old name.
On October 13, 1917, Grand Master William H. Taylor, upon the petition of a group of Masons from Tayabas and neighboring towns headed by Eufemio Jara, issued a dispensation authorizing them to from a lodge in Tayabas, Tayabas. Among the other petitioners were: WB Jose Veles Martinez, Ramon San Agustin, Vicente Ragudo, Teodorico Dolendo, Governor Primitivo San Agustin, Monico Songco, Luis Mallari, Santiago Reyes, Epifanio Palad, Luis Araya, and Simeon San Agustin. Named officers of the lodge under dispensation were Eufemio Jara, Master; Ramon San Agustin, S. W., Jose Velez Martinez, J. W.; Vicente Ragudo, Treasurer; and Sergio Caparros, Secretary.
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in January 1918, it granted a charter to the lodge under the name Tayabas Lodge No. 43. On June 22, 1918, Grand Master Manuel L: Quezon, with the assistance of Timoteo Paez, Francisco Delgado, Conrado Benitez, Manuel Paredes, Arsenio Gomez and other Masonic dignitaries, constituted the lodge in Tayabas. The following were installed as officers: Primitivo San Agustin, Master; Vicente Ragudo, S. W.; Luis Mallari, J. W.; Monico Songco, Treasurer; and Sergio Caparros, Secretary. Coincidentally, Tayabas Lodge No. 43 had 43 members to start with.
During the Spanish regime, Tayabas was the capital of Tayabas (now Quezon). When the Americans occupied the country they transferred the capital to Lucena because of its closeness to the seacoast, which facilitated communications and transportation to and from Manila. All government buildings were abandoned, including the provincial jail. The members of the lodge then entered into negotiations with the provincial government for the acquisition of the jail. They bought it for P 2000.00, but after the deal was closed, the Municipal Council of Tayabas, under pressure from the Catholic Church, filed a petition to reconsider the sale arguing that the jail should have been sold to the municipal government rather than to a private entity. The matter was brought up to Secretary of Justice Quintin Paredes for decision. Paredes, after due study and investigation, declared that the acquisition of the land by the lodge was above board and valid.
There were two buildings in the site. One was for male prisoners and the other for female prisoners. The former was remodeled to meet the requirements of a lodge room. The red-tiled roof was changed to galvanized iron, the floorings were cemented, and the windows were provided with shutters to replace the wooden grills. The main gate was also improved. The rooms adjacent to the main gate were repaired and converted to the office of the secretary and a recreation hall. The improvements cost the lodge a whooping P4,000.00.
The membership of the lodge was at its peak from 1920 to 1923. There were 58 active members in 1922. Thereafter, due to some reasons beyond their control, the membership declined considerably until 1941 when there were only 10 active members left. Were it not for the sacrifices of those few devoted members, the lodge would have been dissolved and its charter arrested. The remaining members had to serve as officers of the lodge in rotation. They sacrificed money, time, and effort to overcome the crisis. In spite of its depleted coffers, the lodge was able to meet its financial obligations to the Grand Lodge.
During the Second World War, the lodge stopped meeting, but the members kept the Masonic fire burning. When two of its members, WB Luis Arraya and Pablo Perez died of illness, Masonic funeral services were performed over their remains, but for reasons of safety, the ceremonies were done privately.
In March 1945, the town was bombed to dislodge the Japanese who were entrenched in buildings. Unfortunately, the lodge building was directly hit by incendiary bombs and was completely destroyed. Immediately after liberation, WB Jose Velez Martinez and Luis Pineda gathered the surviving members. To increase the roster, old members who had been dropped for non-payment of dues were restored and their back accounts condoned. WB Jose Velez Martinez was then elected Master of the lodge. Meetings were held in his residence.
In order to have a building of its own, the members pledged to contribute P25.00 each. They then moved to the women's quarters opposite the old lodge building. From the contributions of the members, they were able to construct a temporary building made of nipa and bamboo with earthen flooring. Unfortunately, during that year, a series of intense typhoons visited the area that leveled the newly constructed lodge hall to the ground. Undaunted, the members resolved to rebuild. They borrowed P 1,500 from the P.N.B. and pledged anew a personal contribution of P25 each. They also increased the monthly dues from P2 to P5. With the money raised, they were able to construct a sturdy building and repair the concrete fence that was partly destroyed during the war. A claim for war damage was filed. When they received payment from the War Damage Commission, they settled all their standing financial obligations.
In the meeting of the lodge held in January 1947, the members, greatly inspired by the life of MW Jose Abad Santos, whom they looked up to as a genuine exemplar of the true principles of Masonry, passed a resolution that was ultimately approved by Grand Lodge, changing the name of the lodge to Jose Abad Santos Lodge No. 43. Twenty-one years later, however, the lodge reverted to its original name, Tayabas Lodge No. 43. By way of honoring Abad Santos, the lodge erected on its premises a beautiful statue of Abad Santos.
Location: Tayabas, Quezon