Araw Lodge No. 18
Araw is a Tagalog word for “sun” or “day”.
Masons who were members of different lodges working under the Gran Oriente Español provisionally established this lodge in 1908. In a meeting held on June 8 of that year at the residence of Juan S. Hernandez, located near the bridge along Arlegue St. in Quiapo, Manila, they elected Estanislao Vergara as Venerable Master; Eugenio Ocampo, First Vigilant; Narciso Vergara, Second Vigilant; Juan S. Hernandez, Orator; Potenciano Salita, Secretary Guardian of the Seal; Justino S. Ocampo, Treasurer; Dalmacio Monroy, Expert; Luciano Bernabe, Master of Ceremonies; Crispulo Layok, Temple Guard; Jose Silos, Supervising Architect and Carmelo Basa, Almoner.
A petition for membership was sent to the Gran Oriente Espanol and on August 14, 1908, Araw was officially admitted into the Federation of the Gran Oriente Español as Lodge No. 304. The zeal and dedication of its members immediately became evident.On August 26, 1913, the Grand Assembly of the Gran Oriente Español, gave due recognition to their devotion to Masonry and awarded Araw Lodge No 304 the honorary title of Benemerita de la Orden. That was the first major honor extended to Araw Lodge.
In August 1915, Araw Lodge recorded another outstanding accomplishment. Twenty-seven members led by Mariano Santos, Miguel Gozon, Marcelino de Vera, Ramon Mendoza, Apolinar Arevalo and Vicente Tagudin conceived the idea of spreading the light of Masonry to other areas. They successfully reestablished Dapitan Lodge No. 313 which had been dormant for over five years.
Two years later, 1917, the Masons in the Philippines united under one roof. All the lodges under the Gran Oriente Espanol, including Araw Lodge, joined the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. Araw Lodge became the 18th lodge under the new umbrella organization. It was given its charter as Araw Lodge No. on February 13 and was constituted the following day.
Araw attracted prominent men who brought fame and honor to its history, men like Antonio G. Llamas, Angel Ma. Albert, Tirso Garcia, Ildefonso-Villareal, Diego Locsin, Gonzalo Puyat, Cu Uy Gam and Manuel Tiaoqui. Between 1920 and 1930, Araw enjoyed the influx of prominent Chinese businessmen and a score of other non-Filipinos.
World War II disrupted the activities of the lodge and claimed the lives of dozen, of members. When the smoke of war subsided, only 27 members could be accounted for and only about a dozen could still afford to pay their dues. Some members considered merging the lodge with Mencius Lodge. However, Jose N. Quedding of Isagani Lodge No. 96, who affiliated with Araw earlier, resisted the plan and pledged his best efforts to rehabilitate the lodge. With the help of Anastacio Uy Mochay and Ong Tiong Chie and a few others, the work to beef up the roster progressed impressively. Araw Lodge was saved.
In 1948, Quedding was elected Master of the lodge. He adopted a number fine-tuning measures without straying from the dictum of the Fraternity. Thus, English was substituted as the official medium for instructions and floor work, attracting more petitioners who were unfamiliar with Spanish. The Masters who came after him contributed their own nuggets of gold to the labors and impressive record of the lodge. Some focused on improving the quality of the roster, others tried to firm up the financial base; a number endeavored to bring back dormant members; still others wrote of their reflections on the workings of the craft, particularly VW Mabini Hernandez.
In the last decades of the 20th Century, well-qualified applicants were initiated, injecting new blood into the lodge. Lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, businessmen, military officers, journalists and other professionals shine in the pages of its roster. Eliseo Miranda, a top business executive, General Rene Cruz, Abelardo Mojica, a noted journalist, James Raterta, now a corporate lawyer, Conrado V. Sanga, a highly successful businessman, Emil Langomez, businessman, and several others have created new standards of Masonic leadership insuring more successes for the lodge and its continued existence in the coming years. Worth mentioning too among the new crop of leaders of the lodge are Fernando Carayo, Emmanuel Yano, Roly Sarmiento, Cesar Cortez, Felipe del Rosario, Ireneo R. Roset, Ramil Alvarez, Johnny Mendoza, Arthur Velasco and Ruben O. Bautista, PJW.
Location : Plaridel Masonic Temple