Jose Abad Santos Memorial Lodge No. 333
A Past Grand Master, scholar of distinction and man of deep spiritual conviction, Jose Abad Santos was a patriot, jurist, educator and statesman who willingly gave up his life for his country during the Japanese Occupation. He was the highest official of the Commonwealth still in the country when the Japanese occupied the Philippines. President Quezon appointed him acting secretary of finance, agriculture and commerce in the war cabinet before he went into exile in the United States. This lodge was originally named Dau Masonic Lodge, but prior to its constitution, the founding brethren, upon the suggestion of VW Vic Garcia, Jr., deemed it more appropriate to name it after the famous son of San Fernando, Pampanga.
Jose Abad Santos Memorial Lodge No.333 is the youngest of three lodges in Pampanga. Its birth was not easy and smooth. Tragically, at this stage of its infancy, the founding father and Charter Master, VW Virgilio E. Bunao, died of lung cancer on April 4, 2002 in Summerville, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Sometime in 1999, between rounds of golf, the idea of forming a new lodge in the Dau area was conceived by a group of brethren belonging to different lodges who were residents of Angeles City and surrounding areas. They discussed the matter with VW Virgilio E. Bunao and convinced him to lead the movement. VW Bunao at that time had just concluded his three consecutive terms (1996 thru 1998) as Master of Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 in Angeles City. The brethren in the area were then invited to a meeting. Present were VW Virgilio Bunao, VW Antonio J. Guzman, Bros. Nelson Villamor, Godofredo M. Delos Santos, Eladio S. Dela Cruz, Carlos P. Baltazar, Danilo F. Deocales, Alexander R. Uy, VW Cesar L. Go, VW Vicente S. Garcia, Jr., WB Lamberto P. Ocampo, Rodolfo L. Ocampo, Nicandro S. Montes, Bartolome M. Tomas, Jr., Lorenzo B. Detran, Jr., Efren Y. Miranda, Ramon Victoriano, Ruben Rodriguez, and Ramon Santos, among others. Everyone present was agreeable to the organization of a new lodge and were unanimous in choosing VW Virgilio E. Bunao to be the first Master, VW Antonio J. Guzman, the first Senior Warden and Bro. Nelson V. Villamor the first Junior Warden.
VW Bunao then brought up the subject at the stated meeting of Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105, and being the nearest lodge, he requested it to sponsor the proposed new lodge. The request was denied on the ground that the formation of a new lodge would divide the brethren and because the two lodges
would later be competing for petitioners in the same area.
Undaunted, VW Bunao sought the support of Pampanga Masonic Lodge No. 48 in San Fernando. Pampanga, which gave its wholehearted support to the cause and adopted a resolution recommending the formation of a new lodge. The DDGM of the District, VW Carmelo T. Naguiat, also endorsed the plan and even signed the petition for dispensation. However, Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 persuaded VW Naguiat to withdraw his endorsement, citing that it violates the Constitution since only the nearest lodge could sponsor the proposed new lodge. Because of this development, VW Bunao sought the help of Grand Master Franklin J. Demonteverde.
Subsequent meetings continued to be held at B.I. Cotton. A formal Petition for Dispensation was then passed around in Pampanga Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. More than 60 brethren expressed their support and most of them affixed their signatures as Charter Members. Not all of the signers, however, were able to obtain a certificate of good standing from their Mother Lodge on time. Therefore, only the 24 brothers were named in the original petition for dispensation. JASML No. 333 records, however, carry the names of all the 65 brethren as Charter Members which include among others, three Past Grand Masters, MW Rosendo C. Herrera, MW Franklin J. Demonteverde and MW
Oscar V. Bunyi.
On the 15th of February 2000, Grand Master Demonteverde issued the requested dispensation for the formation of a lodge to be named Dau Masonic Lodge and named Virgilio E. Bunao as the Dispensation Master, Antonio J. Guzman, as the Senior Warden and Nelson V. Villamor as the Junior Warden.On the same day, at his request, Deputy Grand Master Oscar V.Bunyi instituted the lodge at the Temple of Pampanga Masonic Lodge No. 48.
The brethren then focused on the next task - the construction of a suitable Temple. VW Bunao made arrangements with Bro. Charlie Baltazar to use the latter's vacant lot located at Casmor in Mabalacat, Pampanga as site of the lodge building. On the 23rd of February 2000, the cornerstone was laid in ceremonies officiated by Grand Lodge officers led by RW Oscar V. Bunyi and attended by Charter Members and brethren of the lodge.
The building project of the lodge proceeded as planned. VW Bunao, funded the construction and contracted Raymond Rodriguez, a civil engineer and who was then a petitioner for degrees, to undertake and supervise the construction. While construction was underway, stated and special meetings were held
alternately at Pampanga Masonic Lodge No. 48 and Malolos Lodge No. 46. On 8 April 2000, the sublime degree was conferred upon Bro. Dela Cruz. This brother has the distinction of being the first son of Jose Abad Santos Memorial Lodge No.333.
On the 12th of April 2000, the dispensation was returned to the Grand Lodge and a Petition for a Charter and a formal Request for Constitution, dated 11 April 2000, was submitted to Grand Master Franklin J. Demonteverde.Having met all the requirements, the lodge was granted its Charter on the 28th
of April 2000 during the 84th ANCOM in Iloilo City.
On the 1st of July 2000, at 2:00 P.M., officers of the Grand Lodge, led by Grand Master Oscar V. Bunyi, constituted Jose Abad Santos Memorial Lodge No. 333. Immediately after the ceremonies, the lodge officers were installed into office. Installed were: VW Virgilio E. Bunao, Charter Master; VW Antonio
J. Guzman, Senior Warden; and Bro. Nelson V. Villamor, Junior Warden. Presently, the lodge has only 23 active members thus forecasting a difficult future ahead, but the brethren are confident that they will overcome.
Location: Mabalacat, Pampanga