ILO-ILO ACACIA Lodge No.11
Originally this lodge was named Ilo-Ilo in honor of the town and river on the island of Panay where the lodge is located. Incidentally, the town of Iloilo, now Iloilo City, used to be called Yrong-Yrong because the creek, which flowed through the place, resembled a human nose. Yrong, in the Ilongo dialect, mean nose.
In 1945, Iloilo Lodge merged with Acacia Lodge No.78 and they are now called Iloilo-Acacia No.11.
There were several American and Filipino Masons residing in Iloilo, Iloilo, in 1917 but they had no Masonic lodge to go to. All the lodges established in the Visayan Islands during the Spanish regime had closed down more twenty years before. The Masons, therefore, in one of their fellowship meetings held in a three-story concrete building on Rizal St., took steps to organize a lodge. They sent a petition to the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands which approved it forthwith. On February 13,1917, the Grand Lodge of PI granted a charter to Iloilo Lodge and assigned to it number 11. The lodge was supposed to be constituted the following day in Manila, but the affair had to be postponed because the officers were not present. The constitution and installation of the officers finally pushed through in Iloilo on March 30, 1917. Wm. MacMurray, acting as Grand Master, conducted the ceremonies in the presence of 34 Master Masons. Installed as officers were: Amos Dorr Haskell, Master; Henry F. Schult, Senior Warden; Felipe W.Gomez, Junior Warden; Chas. B. Dodds, Treasurer; and Eriberto N. Gonzales, Secretary. Some of those pioneering Masons who established the lodge were: Marcelino Monfort, Rafael Santos, Guidalia S. Assayas, Archibald Stevens, James Kerr, Eusebio R. de Luzurriaga and Antonio Horilleno.
During the early years of the lodge, it used the third story of the building on Rizal St. where it was organized as a lodge room while the second floor was converted into a Club room, with a library and space for billiard tables, chess tables and other games to entertain the members.
In time Iloilo Lodge attracted many prominent Filipinos, Americans, Hindus and Chinese who were residing in Iloilo and neighboring provinces. Membership reached over a hundred. Some of those who joined were Alejo Aquino, District Engineer; Jose Ma. Araneta, businessman; Antonio Barrios, Ship Captain; Geo K. Berden, Superintendent of Schools, Francisco Campos, businessman; Timoteo Conning, physician; Jose Virto Gomez, agriculturist; Antonio Horilleno, Judge of the Court of first Instance; Jose Lopez Vito, attorney at law; Vicente Lopez, agriculturist; Aurelio Montinola, attorney at law; Rosendo Mejica, newspaperman; Mapa, physician; Sixto B. Ortiz, chief clerk; Vicente Ong Chuck Ching, businessman; Engracio Padilla, attorney at law; Rafael Santos, physician; Anselmo Sotero, civil employee; Manuel C. Torres, businessman; L. W Thurlow, businessman; Santos Urra, agriculturist. In later years the majority of the members became prominent in government, business and education.
With the increase in membership, the lodge was able to set up a free medical clinic to serve the poor in Iloilo.
Soon the lodge room became too small for the needs of the lodge. The members therefore organized the "Masonic Temple Association of Iloilo, Inc." with the end in view of constructing a suitable building. The papers of the Association were filed in 1927, and shares were sold to lodge members. In no time enough money was raised, thanks to the efforts of WB Thomas N. Powell, a prominent American lawyer in Iloilo. The cornerstone of the Temple was laid in 1927 and in due time an imposing three story edifice was constructed in front of "Plaza Libertad" on Jose Ma. Basa Street.
From 1919 to 1921, the members of Iloilo Lodge No. 11, actively propagated the tenets of Masonry in the Visayan Islands and played a major role in the establishment of lodges in neighboring provinces. Thanks to their active assistance the following lodges were established in the Visayas: Maka-wwili Lodge No. 55, in Capiz; Kanlaon Lodge No. 64, in Bacolod, Occ. Negros; Hamtik I Moe Nn_ 76. in San Tose. Antiaue: and Acacia Lodge No. 78, in Iloilo, Iloilo.
When the imperial Japan occupied Iloilo during the Second World War, they used the Mason Temple as their headquarters. In April 1942, they removed the Masonic emblem that adorned the facade of the Temple. Providentially, this saved it him, total destruction. After the war, an American pilot attended a meeting of Iloilo Lodge and disclosed that prior to the landing of the American forces in Iloilo, he was instructed to identify the Temple. They wanted it destroyed, as they knew it served as the headquarters of the Japanese. Being a Mason, he looked for a building with a Masonic sign. He spent several days searching, flying very low around the city, but he could not find it. Thus, the Temple was saved from complete destruction.
When the war was over, members of the lodge trekked back to Iloilo. They found their Temple damaged and their lodge equipment and paraphernalia missing. They also learned that, during the occupation, the Japanese executed WB Engracio Padilla and WB F. Garbonilla. Both died heroically.
On June 2, 1945, the remnants of the lodge met in a downtown restaurant to discuss its reorganization. WB Walter M. Saul, of Acacia Lodge No. 78, who was invited to speak, explained that he was appointed by MW Michael Goldenberg, the Acting Grand Master, as his special representative to help in the reorganization of the two lodges in Iloilo and, if possible, to bring about their consolidation. After WB Saul spoke, those present unanimously approved a Resolution expressing agreement to the idea of consolidating with Acacia Lodge.
WB Saul was requested to inform the members of Acacia Lodge of the Resolution. On June 19, 1945, a joint meeting of the two lodges was held in a downtown restaurant that resulted in the formal ratification of the consolidation. They named the consolidated lodge "Iloilo-Acacia Lodge No. 11" but agreed, in the meantime, to use the name "Iloilo Lodge" until the Grand Lodge shall have taken action. The Grand Lodge gave 51 approval M January 1947, and on February 4,1947, Grand Secretary Antonio Gonzalez informed the members that henceforth they "may use the new name in all your Masonic activities.
The elected officers of the newly consolidated lloilo-Acacia Lodge No. 11 were: Genaro C. Bermejo, Master; Serafin J. Gustilo, Senior Wardem I. Gatanela, Junior Warden; C. Kwan Tay, Treasurer; and, WM Jose L. Zerrudo, Secretary
During the early reorganization years, from 1945 to 1948, the American Masons in the liberation army donated much needed Bibles, aprons, jewels, and working tools. Also, several American servicemen were admitted and raised in the newly consolidated lodge.
Today, Iloilo-Acacia Lodge No. 11, is enjoying the respect and goodwill of the people of the city of Iloilo. The growing interest of the Ilongos in Masonry is a healthy sign for the lodge. It is still in the forefront of efforts to spread Masonic tenets in Iloilo and has helped in the establishment of numerous other lodges in the region.
Location: Iloilo City