Camarines Norte Lodge No.107
This lodge was named after the province of which its seat, Daet, is the capital. Camarines comes from the small huts, or "camarines" in Spanish, which the Spaniards saw when they first came to the place.
Camarines Norte Lodge was founded by Jose Muniain, Felipe Fernando, Jose Santos Seeping, Luis Miguel, Elmer 0. Worrick, Mariano Sta. Romana, Clemente Bernabe, Basilio Peña, Alfredo Suabillo, Antonio Baltazar, Gan Bok, Jr. and Tranquilino Natera. The founders labored at a time when identity with Masonry carried with it social ostracism and economic boycott.
On May 5, 1931, Grand Master William W. Larkin issued a dispensation to the founders to organize a lodge in Daet, Camarines Norte. He observed that before he signed the dispensation, Camarines Norte was one of the few provinces in the country without a Masonic lodge.
After the lodge complied with requirements it was granted a charter by the Grand Lodge. On May 25, 1932 Grand Master Antonio Gonzalez, assisted by a team of Masonic dignitaries, opened a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge at the Constabulary Building in Daet, Camarines Norte and constituted Camarines Norte Lodge No. 107. That same day the officers were installed led by Jose Muniain, the Master of the lodge. In his report to the Grand Lodge the following January 1933, Grand Master Gonzalez proudly announced that the ceremonies were public and the “elite of Camarines Norte society was present.”
In spite of its auspicious beginnings Camarines Norte Lodge No. 107 struggled early on. For a number of years she barely existed. Her roster remained static. Sometimes the lodge could hardly gather a quorum. From the day the lodge was founded to December 1940 it was able to raise only six members with one affiliation or a total of seven. She went dead during the Japanese occupation. After the war years, with most of her paraphernalia lost, the lodge was resuscitated by WB Bartolome Ortega with great effort. Down to 1949 another five new members were added. In short the lodge averaged less than one new member per year from 1932 to 1949.
In 1950 an application for affiliation was received from Maximo Abatio, a Mason from Dapitan Lodge No. 21. He exuded a buoyant personality. He freely fraternized with his brethren, was always eager to talk of the stand of Freemasonry on life, on beliefs, on immortality. He was elected Worshipful Master the following year and for the first Camarines Norte witnessed a public installation of the officers of a Masonic lodge. Other Masonic functions that subsequently took place were the second public installation the following year and the convention of Bicol Lodges held for the first time in Daet. Distinguished personalities were brought together on these occasion. Grand Master Sidney Austin, Deputy Grand Master Mauro Baradi, Senior Grand Warden Werner P. Schetelig, Grand Secretary Antonio Gonzalez, members of the Knights of Columbus, public officials, and other prominent men and ladies of the town all came. Baradi delivered a forceful oration on "Faith, Fidelity, Freedom, Fellowship" on which Masonry is anchored thereby giving enlightenment to many and effacing many unfounded prejudices and misgivings about Masonry in general.
When WB Maximo Abaño relinquished his stewardship of the lodge, he predicted: "This lodge shall never again find difficulty in gathering a quorum."
The desire of the members to achieved further progress in Masonry in Camarines Norte was on the ascent in the years that followed. This time it centered on the construction of a Masonic Temple for Camarines Norte No. 107. Its completion was the fruit of the cooperative efforts of all the members, but the high honors should fall on WB Manuel K. Ong who contributed the largest and labored the hardest and on WB Santiago M. Ferrer who bankrolled the painting of the entire building.
The cultivation of fellowship among brethren and their families occupied the administration of some of the Masters most notably Vicente Ongtenco and Gregorio Mariano. In 1960, it went beyond the province. A delegation of brethren together with their families visited the families of Masons in Sorsogon, Sorsogon and performed Masonic work at Bulusan Lodge No. 38. The Sorsogon ladies warmed up to the work of the Masonic ladies and daughters of Camarines Norte. Like them they worked in the kitchen, on the feast table, in the social halls during family gatherings and public Masonic functions in Daet.
Camarines Norte Lodge No. 107 through the work and leadership of WM Primo C. Ong, has acquired a cemetery which now carries the approval of the civil authorities. The lodge has also set up a complete set of Scottish Rite Bodies that goes by the name Bicol Bodies.
Summing up, the Camarines Norte Lodge No. 107 has, through the years, proven the true worth of Masonry (1) by rising above inherited ostracism, (2) by providing herself with leaders with sterling qualities, ideas, and convictions, (3) by constructing a Masonic Temple on her own lot, (4) by providing and sharing the goodness of life, promoting the attainment of the ultimate goal of existence which is happiness here and ever after, (5) by acquiring a Masonic cemetery, and (6) by providing intellectual growth for its members.
Location: Daet, Camarines Norte.