MW Rudyardo V. Bunda
A careful planner.
The life of the sixty-fifth Grand Master may be characterized as a triumphant struggle against overwhelming odds. Born on November 4, 1934 to Patricio T. Bunda and Remedios Villena, he was only seven when his father passed away during the Japanese occupation. Being the eldest son, on his tender shoulders rested the task of helping his widowed mother support the family while he was at the same time studying in the elementary and secondary grades.
Somehow he was able to graduate from Cavite High School in 1951, but he had to stop his schooling to work as a laborer handling odd jobs at the Philippine Naval Base in Cavite in order to support the studies of his brothers and sisters. For ten years, he sacrificed for them.
In 1961, when he was already 26 years old, he finally entered college as a self-supporting student, studying his lessons while commuting between Cavite and Manila. Here his will to persevere and his inborn qualities of leadership came to the fore. Notwithstanding the handicaps he faced, he was able to maintain a high scholastic standing at the Mapua Institute of Technology. But he did not limit himself to academics; he became a well-known and respected campus figure. He was elected President of the Student Council, and also President of the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants. On top of these, he edited the 1963 Cardinal and Gold Yearbook. In 1964, Bunda graduated cum laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and received the MIT’s Executive Vice-President’s Scholastic Medal.
After graduation, Bunda was hired as a bookkeeper at Bancom Development Corporation, a newly organized investment-banking firm. While working, he reviewed for the Board Examinations and when the results were released, his name was among the topnotchers. Immediately, he was promoted to the next higher position and not long thereafter, he was extended an appointment as Senior Vice-President of the Bancom Group of Companies. On his shoulders rested the responsibility for making vital decisions and pronouncing policies on matters of controllership, administration and manpower.
In June 1965, when he was 31 years of age, Bunda knocked at the door of the Fraternity, he being a great admirer of his uncle, WB Cenon Trias, a strict disciplinarian, a man of principles, one whom the people in the community held in high esteem. Another man who greatly influenced him to become a mason was his father-in-law, Marcelo Alvarez, one of the charter members of Bagong Ilaw Lodge No. 97, in whose house the lodge meetings were first held. It is no wonder then that he chose to knock at the fraternal door of Bagong Ilaw Lodge at Noveleta.
Bunda’s professional career and Masonic involvement soared.
Professionally, he started to branch out. He saw himself the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer of Union Bank of the Philippines, Board Member of the Banahaw Finance Company, Banahaw Pawn Shop, and Mantrade Development Corporation, a partner in the Financial Entrepreneurs and Associates, Comptroller of Financial Development Managers Incorporated, Chairman of the Board of Magdiwang Finance and Investment Corporation and RVB Realty Corporation based in Noveleta, Cavite. One of his memorable experiences, which he still cherishes to this day, was when he was sponsored by his company to undergo an Executive Development Program at the University of Michigan Graduate School in 1979.
In recognition of his signal accomplishments in his profession, the National Association of Mapua Alumni chose Bunda as its Most Outstanding Alumnus in the field of business administration. He was also given an Award of Merit by the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in accounting studies.
In Masonry, Bunda was elected Master for two terms of Bagong Ilaw Lodge. He joined the York Rite and now holds membership in the York Rite College, the Commandery Knights Templar, Kalayaan Council No. 4, R.&S.M. and Cavite Chapter No. 13, R.A.M. Moreover he is the Viceroy of the Asoka Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. He joined the Shrine and was elected the High Shereef of the Cavite Shrine Oasis and the President of the Philippine Shrine Oasis Association, A.A.O.N.M.S. for the year 1982. He was also invited to membership in the Royal Order of Scotland and is now its incumbent Provincial Grand Master, the highest position one can aspire to in the Philippines. He was one of the founding fathers of Ilang-Ilang Court No. 20, Order of the Amaranth, and was elected its first Royal Patron. Likewise, he is a member of the XIII Martyrs of Cavite Chapter No. 6, Order of the Eastern Star and the Widow’s Sons Fraternal Charity Association. As such, he was instrumental in organizing the Emilio Aguinaldo Chapter of the International Order of DeMolay and Magdiwang Lodge No. 238. With all these Masonic accomplishments it is no wonder he was elected Grand Master of Masons in the Philippine jurisdiction in 1982.
In the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Bunda was proclaimed a Master of the Royal Secret in the Philippine Bodies in April 1974. On February 12, 1979 he was invested with the rank and decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor and on February 11, 1983 he was made a 33° Mason. Two years later, on September 26, 1985, he was created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General and Active Member of the Supreme Council. During the session of the Supreme Council on March 10, 1994 he was duly elected Sovereign Grand Commander and two days later was publicly installed into office.
Bunda luckily is blessed with a caring family whose members fully support his Masonic commitments and all that he stands for. His amiable wife, Trifena Alvarez Bunda, is a Past Royal Matron of llang-Ilang Court No. 20 of the Order of the Amaranth and was at one time the President of the Mother’s Club of Emilio Aguinaldo Chapter, Order of DeMolay. His two sons, Ephraim and Reuel, are both Past Master Councilors of the same DeMolay Chapter, and both are members of Bunda’s Lodge, Magdiwang Lodge No. 238.
But the life of Bunda is not limited to his profession, his family and to Masonry. He is also deeply involved in social and civic activities, the concerns of the youth and, very important to him, his church. Characteristically, he does things without funfair, yet he makes his presence felt in such exclusive groups as Paul Harris Fellows of the Rotary International, the Philippine Association of Management Accountants (PAMA), the Philippine Institute of Certified Accountants, and the International Chamber of Commerce (Philippine Chapter). He is also actively involved in the philanthropic activities of the Philippine Band of Mercy.
From 1979 to 1985 he was a member of the Provincial Board of Cavite. As such, he was instrumental in the preparation of the Cavite Integrated Development Plan which became the basis for the present industrialization program of Cavite and which paved the way for the rising industrial status of the province.
His interest in and concern for the youth have spurred him to become a member of the Board of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (Cavite Council), Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Aguinaldo Chapter, International Order of DeMolay, and President of the Masonic Youth Foundation. His contributions to the development and upliftment of the youth have been amply recognized. In May 1983 the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay, based in Kansas, Missouri, honored him with the prestigious Legion of Honor Award. He was also made an Honorary Grand Master of the Supreme Council, Order of DeMolav in 1982.
Bunda is also an active leader of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. In fact, he was responsible for the donation of a lot and a church building while he was Chairman of his Church Council in Noveleta, Cavite. This feat was duplicated when he donated a sizeable land and personally financed the construction of a Masonic building in his hometown. In addition Bunda is presently the President of the Scottish Rite Foundation, an organization that is committed to the promotion of a program of character building among the youth, of granting scholarships to poor but deserving students, of stimulating Masonic research, etc.
Bunda still has many years ahead of him. As such, he looks forward; he has a vision. At the same time, being a well-seasoned businessman, he takes calculated risks, but these risks have blessed quite a number of lives, for once he decides his direction, he seems to possess the Midas touch. A perfectionist and an indefatigable worker, he plans his projects long before they are to be implemented. Like the illustrious Mason Apolinario Mabini, he has not allowed his humble beginnings to be a stumbling block to his reaching the height of success. There is no telling where this great man will end. One thing we can be very sure of: where there is challenge, he is made alive.