Masonic Year

I met a young Brother at a Masonic assemblage in Davao City many years ago. Since he at once treated me as a long-time friend, though that was the first time we met, I felt at ease with him. No hang-ups, no grandiloquence, no pretenses. In subsequent meetings, he remained constant. Since then, he has just been his natural and confident self, thereby demonstrating that sincerity and plain dealing distinguish Masons from those who are not. Yes, MW ROMEO A. YU, our Grand Master for 2006-2007, is a young man and Mason who shuns hypocrisy and indolence. He is tireless, dedicated, committed, selfless, caring. He exudes a vision truly attesting to his resolve to help bring our Grand Lodge to greater heights of achievement, as well as to help the Craft in our grand jurisdiction recapture its old glory. He has recurrently told the brethren, “Freemasonry, like brotherly love, which is one of its principal tenets, is a beautiful and many-splendored thing. We must keep its beauty and spendor unsullied. We should, each one of us, have the passion to do things beautiful because such a passion is power. We should always think, speak and act as worthy and exemplary Masons.” Indeed, our Grand Master for 2006-2007 has demonstrated a style filled with genuine love for the Craft and characterized by unfeigned humility and sincerity. He is happiest when he is sowing and sharing blessings with others, especially his brothers in Masonry. Youngest Post-War Grand Master MW Romeo A. Yu is the youngest Brother in the post-war era to occupy the Grand Oriental Chair. During this era, as imposed in the 1984 Masonic Law Book, the minimum age of a candidate for the position of Junior Grand Warden (JGW) is 40 years. MW Romeo A. Yu was born on March 10, 1963 to the late VW Raymundo L. Yu, Sr. and the former Joaquina Y. Ang. So, on installation night he is 43 years and one month old – approximately 10 months younger than MW Reynato S. Puno when he was installed Grand Master in 1984. Like MW Puno, he believes that we can regain the Craft’s old glory only if and when we do not suffer any consideration to induce us to act in a manner unworthy of the respectable character which we, as members of the Masonic fraternity, sustain; only if and when we ever display the discretion, the virtue, and the dignity which become a worthy and exemplary Mason – a Mason both in creed and in deed; only if and when we convince the world, by our actions, that, as a Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, USA, once said, “Freemasonry is having a faith to live by. Freemasonry is being a self to live with. Freemasonry is having worthy causes to live for. Freemasonry is a never-ending pursuit of excellence.” Thus, MW Romeo A. Yu has issued this clarion call to the brethren: “Our teachings in Masonry are all directed to excellence in performing our duties to God, our country, our neighbor and ourselves. Those precious Masonic teachings of love, benevolence, truth, temperance, prudence, justice and so forth should be internalized and showcased in our daily conduct. Many of us occupy influential positions in government and in private industry. We must constantly remember that in every moment of our life – in public, at work, at pleasure, or even when we are alone with ourselves, we are Masons. Then most probably we can influence the non-Masons and hopefully change the direction of our country towards a better future.” MW Romy A. Yu may be the youngest Brother in the post-bellum era who has reached the Grand East, but we are optimistic he will steer and guide the ship of the Craft in our grand jurisdiction safely to its destination because he belongs to a Masonic family and because a string of achievements and recognitions has been strewn in his path, preparing him for wider latitudes, bigger horizons, and firmer grounds for leadership in the Craft in general and in our Grand Lodge in particular. Belonging to a Masonic Family Our Grand Master for 2006-2007 may be said to be a chip off the old block; for his father was a Past Master of Sarangani Lodge No. 50 in Davao City, which is also the Lodge to which his maternal grandfather, Bro. Ang Kiong Yee, belonged; the Senior Grand Deacon during the term of MW Juan C. Nabong, Jr. (1989-1990); a 33º Inspector General Honorary (IGH) who got himself actively involved in the affairs of Davao Bodies, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (A.&A.S.R.) of Freemasonry; a Past Valley Deputy of the Valley of Davao City; a Past President of Filipinas Shrine Club; and a magnanimous contributor to the construction and completion of our present Grand Lodge building, Plaridel Masonic Temple II. MW Romy A. Yu’s paternal grandfather, Bro. Yu Tiong Sun, likewise, was a Widow’s Son. He was a member of Iloilo-Acacia Lodge No. 11 in Iloilo City. MW Romy A. Yu’s brothers, moreover, are all members of the Craft. VW Raymundo Jr., chairman of Merrill Lynch International Bank in Singapore since 1983, was Worshipful Master of Service Lodge No. 95 in 1988 and Grand Organist of our Grand Lodge in 1990. Bro. Valentino, a holder of a Master’s degree in Electronics who now works in the USA as a computer engineer, has continued to be an active Master Mason. VW Romero, MW Romy’s twin brother, who is a practicing lawyer whose line of specialization is Labor Law, served as Worshipful Master of Service Lodge for two consecutive terms (1990 and 1991) During this Masonic year, he serves as Grand Sword Bearer. VW Victor, a CPA-lawyer, has served as a strong pillar of the same Lodge, has contributed articles to The Cabletow, worked as Grand Historian during MW Napoleon A. Soriano’s year in the Grand East, and labored as Senior Grand Lecturer (SGL) during the administrations of MW Eugenio S. Labitoria and the late MW Ricardo P. Galvez. MW Romy A. Yu’s lady and inspiration in his Masonic initiatives, Sister Christine Go, who is a political science graduate of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and the vice-president of Mintrade Corporation in Davao City, also belongs to a Masonic family. Her father, Bro. Guilbert C. Go, like MW Romy’s father, has been a member of Sarangani Lodge No. 50. Her mother, Sister Pacita Go, is the sister of MW Pablo C. Ko, Jr., our Grand Master in 1994, whose father, Bro. Pablo Ko, Sr., was long associated with the Craft, and whose brother, VW William C. Ko, is a Past District Deputy Grand Master (PDDGM). Sister Christine’s brother, Edward, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at Service Lodge No. 95 in 2001. Hence, MW Romy A. Yu is highly resolved to further strengthen the Masonic family in every district of our grand jurisdiction. He fondly hopes that the brethren will get members of their families more actively involved than before in affairs Masonic. His Profession Our Grand Master for 2006-2007 is a business executive by profession. As such, he has helped his family to gainfully engage in the lucrative business of real estate and agriculture. He will doubtless use his expertise for improving the financial condition of our Grand Lodge. The First DeMolay Grand Master Just as Walt Disney was proud of his membership in the Order of DeMolay, MW Romy A. Yu tells those with whom he comes in contact that he joined the Feliciano Iñigo Chapter, Order of DeMolay, when he was but 15 years old, and that at present, he is an Active Member of the Philippine Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay. With his ascension to the Grand Oriental Chair, the dream of MW Rosendo C. Herrera, PGM, Grand Master of the Supreme Council of the Order of DeMolay of the Republic of the Philippines, that a DeMolay become a Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons in the Philippine grand jurisdiction was finally realized. One of the thrusts during his year in the Grand East, therefore, is to give full support not only to the Order of DeMolay but to the other Masonic youth organizations as well, namely, the Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Order of Job’s Daughter. He wants to see members of these organizations get more actively involved than before in Masonic functions. He also wants the brethren in the different districts to harness the support of the officers and members of the Orders of the Eastern Star and the Amaranth. He really wants to see a stronger Masonic Family in the Philippine grand jurisdiction, and he fondly hopes that more DeMolays seek membership in the Craft. String of Achievements, Recognitions At 21, he filed his petition for membership in Beacon Lodge No. 213. He was initiated, passed, and raised in that Lodge on June 23, August 18, and September 8, 1984, respectively. In 1985, he acted as vice-chairman of his Mother Lodge’s Committees on Masonic Education and Rituals. He was at the same time Masonic District No. 18’s Correspondent to The Cabletow. In 1986, he was elected and installed Junior Warden of Beacon Lodge No. 213 and in 1987, its Senior Warden. On January 2, 1988, at age 24, he was installed as Worshipful Master of the same Lodge. When he was still a Warden, he chaired his Lodge’s Committees on Masonic Education and Rituals; besides, he served as overall coordinator of the district when this hosted the Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge in Davao City – the first Ancom outside Luzon. During his years in the South and West, he was a member of the Advisory Council of Feliciano Iñigo Chapter, Order of DeMolay. Since 1989, WB Romy A. Yu has been adviser to his Mother Lodge’s Committees on Ways and Means, Special Projects, Masonic Education, and Rituals. In 1989, at 26, he was the Grand Lodge Inspector (GLI) for Toril Lodge No. 208. In 1990, at the age of 27, he was appointed by MW John L. Choa as his Deputy for Masonic District No. 18. During his term as District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM), VW Romy A. Yu played a significant role in the formation of Podomo Lodge No. 294. Besides, he organized the District Council and made this fully functioning. Up to today, he has been one of the principal advisers to the officers of Podomo Lodge, a regular member of the District Council’s Board of Advisers, and a perennial resource speaker in the same district’s leadership training seminars. VW Romy A. Yu, moreover, chaired the Board of Trustees of the Davao Masonic Center (DMC) Foundation, Inc. He spearheaded the completion of the existing edifice; the construction of the DMC Multi-Purpose Social Hall, which was consecrated and dedicated by MW John L. Choa, PGM, on November 22, 1990; and the concreting of the vacant lot, which is now being used as sports and parking area. During the 1991 Annual Communication in Bacolod City, VW Romy A. Yu was chosen Most Outstanding District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM), while Masonic District No. 18 was declared Most Outstanding District. Subsequently, at 28, he was appointed by then Grand Master Jose R. Guerrero as Grand Bible Bearer. Since 1991, he has served as a member of the Working Committee of the Grand Guild of Past Masters of the Philippines (GGPMP). In 1993, he served as adviser on finance to the Executive Committee that oversaw the conduct of the Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge in Davao City. In Masonic years 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, during the terms of MW Pablo C. Ko, Jr. and MW Danilo D. Angeles, respectively, he served as Junior Grand Lecturer (JGL) for Northern Mindanao. In Masonic year 2002-2003, during the administration of MW Eugenio S. Labitoria, he again served as JGL, this time for South Central Mindanao. He “traveled” to different parts of the country, serving as Installing Officer during the installation of the officers of various Lodges, as well as lecturer during the conferral of the degrees of Masonry on candidates therefor. He also attended the conventions of other districts than Masonic District No. 18. When time permitted him, he attended the special events of different Masonic Districts and Lodges. Because he got actively involved in their affairs, the following Lodges made him Honorary Member: Mati Aurora Lodge No. 190 Don Salvador P. Lopez Memorial Lodge No. 276 Panabo Dalisay Lodge No. 237 Dadiangas Lodge No. 225 Maribulan Lodge No. 304 Sultan Kudarat Lodge No. 348 Ruperto S. Demonteverde Memorial Lodge No. 320 Gen. Artemio Ricarte Lodge No. 322 Bukidnon Lodge No. 245 Leonardo T. Pañares Lodge No. 220 Elected Junior Grand Warden (JGW) In the Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge held in Manila (which was supposed to have been held in his native city, Davao), VW Romy A. Yu was catapulted by the brethren to the honored position of Junior Grand Warden (JGW). This was the first time ever that an alternate nominee was elected to the Grand South. His election as such was viewed by the brethren as the GAOTU’s way of saying that he could help a great deal in the task of leading our Grand Lodge to greater heights of achievement, so that, eventually, the Craft would recapture its golden moments when it was able to exert its deciding influence on the affairs of our nation. The brethren were confident that, with his youthful dynamism as well as his zeal and enthusiasm for the Craft, RW Romy A. Yu could contribute significantly to the task of regaining our old glory. Truly, the GAOTU causes many a tight spot to open into the right place. Involvement in Grand Lodge Committees RW Yu has worked in various Grand Lodge Committees, such as the following: Committee on Masonic Education (1994-1995, 1995-1996) Committee on Works (1994-1995, 1995-1996) Committee on Necrology (1994-1995, 1995-1996, 2003-2004) Committee on Revision of the Constitution (2001-2002) Committee on Finance (2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006) Committee on Masonic Temples/Buildings (2005-2006) Ancom Special Committee (2005-2006) Subsequent Grand Lodge Positions RW Romy A. Yu worked “in the quarries” as Senior Grand Warden in 2004-2005 and then as Deputy Grand Master in 2005-2006. A Scottish Rite Mason and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine Like his father, our Grand Master for 2006-2007 belongs to Davao Bodies, A.&A.S.R. He was, moreover, created a Noble of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.); specifically, he is a member of Aloha Temple. A Grand Representative MW Romy A. Yu, furthermore, is the Grand Representative of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of China near the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines, which, by the way, sponsored the formation of the former in 1949, during the term of MW Esteban Munarriz, who served the Craft as Grand Secretary for 24 years. Theme, Slogan, and Thrusts during His Year in the Grand East The brethren are optimistic that he will perform well his assigned task to lead the Craft during his year in the Grand East because he is willing and ready to spend time and effort to serve the brethren and their families; because he is proficient in the rituals; because he is possessed of knowledge of the Craft’s teachings and principles, rules and regulations; and because he himself may be considered a Mason in creed and in deed. Hence, our theme for 2006-2007 is “Masons in Creed and in Deed,” and our slogan is “Think, speak, and act as Masons.” His thrusts are (1) maintenance of high ethical and moral standards in public; (2) membership growth and development; (3) financial discipline in the Grand Lodge and subordinate Lodges; (4) well-oriented members through continuing Masonic education and studies; (5) uniform and impressive rites and ceremonies; (6) promotion of harmonious relationships among Masons and between Lodges; (7) support of the public school system; (8) support of youth organizations and appendant bodies; (9) environmental concerns; (10) concern for sick and elderly brethren, widows and orphans; (11) lost sheep program; (12) improvement of communication and flow of information; and (13) building bridges of understanding between the Craft and its critics. MW Romy A. Yu has put together a program of administration designed to bring into a happy reality our vision of a dynamic Masonic fraternity committed to becoming once more a deciding influence in the affairs of our nation. To this end, he urges each of us to exert a little more effort to continue learning and living Masonry’s touchstone tenets and pure principles, so that our conduct will so reflect the effectiveness of these tenets and principles as to stimulate other good and true men to seek out Masonry. Listen to this urgent message of his: “If and when all of us without exception avidly study Masonry and strictly obey with all our heart its mild and gentle teachings, we will doubtless be recognized by all and sundry as a fraternity marked by moral leadership, educational advancement, and philanthropic endeavors. We should, each one of us, ever remember that to preserve unsullied the reputation of our fraternity, as well as to remove every aspersion against it by the regularity of our conduct on all occasions and in all places, is a duty incumbent on every Master Mason. By the actions of each one of us the name of our fraternity is kept strong, unblemished and honored. Our fraternity is made real through the behavior of each one of us. How important, then, it is for each one of us to be a Mason both in creed and in deed at all times.”