Emilio Aguinaldo Lodge No. 31
This lodge is named in honor of General Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the First Philippine Republic and founder of the lodge.
The first name of this lodge was Magdalo, a name given by Filipino patriots to the town of Kawit and the Tagalog word for "helper" or "rescuer." Magdalo is also claimed to have derived from Mary Magdalene. It was in the church of Mary Magdalene where Aguinaldo started his attack on the guardia civil. He also named his unit Magdalo after the patroness of both church and town and selected "Magdalo" as his secret name in the Katipunan.
In January 1896, Emilio Aguinaldo, Baldomero Aguinaldo, Rufino Maya, Santiago Dario, Silvestre Legaspi, Canuto Encarnacion, Pelagio Ignacio and several others founded the Masonic Triangle Magdalo in Kawit, Cavite. It was destined to have a very short life, for the Philippine Revolution was about to begin and the founders of the Triangle were to figure prominently in the struggle for freedom.
We next hear of Magdalo Lodge when thirteen Masons under the leadership of Gen. E. Aguinaldo, Gen. B. Aguinaldo and Mata revived it in 1914. They sent their petition to form a lodge to the Gran Oriente Espanol and on December 21, 1914 Magdalo Lodge No. 371 was issued a charter. A Commission of the Gran Oriente Espanol headed by Past Regional Grand Master Santiago Barcelona, proceeded to the mansion of Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite on June 13,1915 to constitute the lodge and install its officers. The cream of Masonry was there. There were over three hundred guests coming from different lodges of the Gran Oriente Espatiol and other Grand Jurisdictions. The dignitaries included Grand Master Teodoro M. Kalaw, Manuel L. Quezon, Rafael Palma, Bernabe Bustamante, Isidro Morales, Timoteo Paez, Tomas Alfonso and Felipe Buencamino, Jr. Aguinaldo was installed as the first Master of the lodge.
In February 1917, a grand unification of Philippine Masonry took place. The 27 lodges of the Gran Oriente Espanol closed down and affiliated en masse with the Grand Lodge of PI. Thus Magdalo Lodge No. 371, received a new charter as Magdalo Lodge No. 31 and was duly constituted on February 14,1917 as a subordinate lodge of the Grand Lodge of P.I.
The unification had its birth pains. Those who came from the Spanish lodges, like the members of Magdalo Lodge, were unfamiliar with the York Rite ritual of the Grand Lodge of PI, and worse, many of them could hardly speak the English language. They had been initiated in the Scottish Rite ritual of the Gran Oriente Español and for most of them it was the only ritual they knew. To require them to shift immediately to the authorized ritual of the Grand Lodge of P. I. was out of the question, so the Grand Lodge reluctantly permitted them to continue working in the Spanish ritual. Thus, for a time there were two authorized rituals for the Blue lodges.
On May 3,1918, both the Spanish and the Grand Lodge ritual were used in Magdalo Lodge. On that day Grand Master Manuel Quezon and his Grand Lodge Officers congregated in the mansion of General Aguinaldo to initiate Consul General Kwei Chih of the Republic of China and Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, the titular head of the Philippine Independent Church. After the formal reception of MW Quezon, the Grand Lodge Officers led by Milton Earl Springer, Rafael Palma and Walter Macfarlane assumed the stations of the officers and conferred the first degree on Kwei Chih using the English language ritual. Immediately thereafter, they surrendered their chairs to a new set of officers led by Quezon, Pascual Lintag and Pablo Herrera. The new team initiated Aglipay using the Spanish ritual. After the ceremonies, Aglipay delivered a speech in which he compared the principles of Masonry with those of the Master whose service he followed, saying that they were nowise conflicting or antagonistic as he had often been told, but conduced both to the enlightenment and up-lifting of humanity.
More problems were in store for the Union. The Filipino lodges did not secure the prior approval of the Gran Oriente Espanol in Madrid when they affiliated with the Grand Lodge of PI. Moreover, not all Filipino Masons were in agreement with the transfer to the Grand Lodge of PI. They preferred the colorful rituals of the Grand Oriente Espanol to those of the Grand Lodge of PI. In the 1920's some disaffected Masons returned to the Gran Oriente ,Espanol and established clandestine lodges. Several members of Magdalo Lodge joined cause with them. The defections caused problems for the lodge, more so when a clandestine lodge named Magdalo was established in the community. A solution agreed upon in a meeting of the lodge held on October 6, 1928 was to change the name of the lodge to Ibarra Lodge after Crisostomo Ibarra, an important character in Jose Rizal's novel, "Noli Me Tangere."
The lodge prospered after it cleansed itself of disloyal members. In 1937, when the Grand Lodge of P. I. erected a commemorative monument in Kawit, Cavite on the site where Jose Malcampo y Monge is believed to have founded Priuiera Luz Filipino. Lodge in 1865, Ibarra Lodge was designated by the Grand Lodge to be its caretaker. The monument, by the way, has a statue of Dr. Jose p. Rizal, shown wearing the habiliments of a Master Mason, and was made by the eminent sculptor, Guillermo Tolentino.
When the Second World War erupted in 1941, Ibarra Lodge was forced to close. Many of its members joined the resistance movement, foremost of whom were Col. Emmanuel Baja, Capt. Modesto Dayrit, RW Teodorico Jimenes and WB Hammond Buck. Baja and Buck were both captured by the Japanese and executed in 1944.
Nineteen members of Ibarra Lodge who were in the United States during the war paid their dues through the Grand lodge of California. At the end of the war all their payments were remitted to the Grand Lodge of P.I.which, in turn, sent them to the Secretary of Ibarra Lodge. This was read during the first post-war meeting of Ibarra Lodge on May 12, 1945.
On January 1,1955, Aguinaldo renewed his active membership in the lodge. He had stopped attending lodge meetings when harmony was disrupted in the 1920's and after a lapse of time was declared a dormant member. In thepresence of Grand Master Werner Schetelig, several Past Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Offices and brothers from various lodges, Aguinaldo knelt at the Altar of Freemasonry and once again reaffirmed his faith in the validity of Masonic principles. It was exactly 60 years to the day when he was initiated into the Mysteries of Freemasonry in Pilar Lodge on January 1, 1895.
Aguinaldo remained an active Mason until his death on February 6, 1964 at the age of 95. On June 13, 1964, the members unanimously passed a resolution asking the Grand Lodge for authority to change the name of their lodge to Aguinaldo Memorial Lodge. The request was personally delivered to Grand Master Charles Mosebrook by a delegation headed by Rt. Wor. Teodorico Jimenez. On July 1, 1964, the Grand Master informed the members that he had authorized the change of name as requested. During the simple ceremonies that followed, the son of Gen. Aguinaldo was present and he gave his full consent to the renaming of the lodge in honor of his father.
Location: Kawit, Cavite.