Kasilawan Lodge No. 77
Kasilawan is a Tagalog word for "that which dazzles the eye," or "brilliance." It was the name given by the Katipunan leaders to the district of Sta. Ana in Manila. In the days of the revolution, the Katipuneros adopted substitute names for places or districts to maintain the secrecy of the locations of their organizations..
In 1921, several members of Mount Mainam Lodge who were residing in Sta. Ana, Manila found it difficult to attend the meetings of their lodge in Naic, Cavite. Through the initiative of Marciano P. Gatmaitan, they induced other Masons from Bagumbayan Lodge No. 4, Walana Lodge No. 13, Silanganan Lodge No. 19, Dapitan Lodge No. 21, Zapote Lodge No. 29, Pintong Bato Lodge No. 51 and Angalo Lodge No. 63 to join them in forming a Masonic lodge in Santa Ana, Manila. A caucus was called on September 4, 1921 at the Masonic Temple at the Escolta that was attended by 41 Master Masons during which they signed a petition for dispensation to form a new lodge. On September 22, 1921, Grand Master Edwin E. Elser issued the dispensation and appointed Marciano P. Gatmitan as Master, Zosimo F. Dimaano as Senior Warden and Felix A. Sapalicio as Junior Warden.
The founders named their lodge Kasilawan in memory of the Katipunan name of the district of Santa Ana, Manila. Unfortunately, after the lodge was organized, they could not find a suitable hall in Santa Ana, so they had set up the lodge in the Masonic Temple on the Escolta. On November 24, 1921, the lodge raised Pablo C. Cortes, its first product. More petitioners were raised later, so much so that in a short space of three months and eight days, the membership swelled to forty-five active members.
Kasilawan held its first election of officers on Tuesday, December 6, 1921. Selected was WB Marciano P. Gatmaitan, as the first Master. He was ably assisted by Zosimo F. Dinmano as Senior Warden and Ernesto S. Salas as Junior Warden.
On Wednesday, January 23, 1922, the Grand Lodge in its Annual Communication granted a charter to Kasilawan Lodge No. 77. Incidentally, the Committee on Charters commented: "Kasilawan Lodge presented an excellent record of all their doings which will serve as a very good model for all lodge who petition for charters from the Grand Lodge in the future.
On Thursday, February 2, 1922, the newly installed Grand Master, Quintin Paredes, opened a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge at the Central Hall of the Masonic Temple at the Escolta and proceeded to constitute Kasilawan Lodge No. 77. Immediately thereafter the Grand Master publicly installed the officers.
The lodge raised Thirty-six Master Masons in 1922, thus increasing the membership to 83.
During the next twenty years, peace and harmony prevailed in Kasilawan Lodge No. 77. Those years were also a period of tremendous growth for the lodge.
When World War II broke out, Kasilawan Lodge went into darkness. The meeting place of the lodge was sequestered by the Japanese, fortunately WB Braulio M. Espino was able to carry out some records of the lodge including it By-Laws, before the Japanese entered the building. The lodge, however lost several members during the war. Dr. Jesus V. Duque, died in the battle of Abucay, Bataan on Jaunary 24, 1942. Cirilo Bustos, a member of the U. S. Army, died in the concentration camp at Capas, Tarlac in 1942. Florentino Inocentes, the Chief of Police of Mandaluyong, Rizal, was executed by the Japanese for his guerilla activities in 1943. Domingo H. Mendoza and Alipio P. Ymson died of disease caused by malnutrition during the Occupation.
When peace was restored after the liberation of Manila from the Japanese forces, some members resumed the activities of the lodge on June 11, 1945 at the temporary offices of the Grand Lodge at 126 Gunao, St., Quiapo, Manila. Those who reactivated the lodge were: Filemon Asuncion, Juan Velasquez, Baldomero Torres, Jose F. Fetalvero, Marcelo Pascua, Agustin Parina, Pablo C. Cortes, Quintin San Miguel and Delfin C. Medel. An election was held during the meeting and the following were elected to serve for the remaining months of 1945: Filemon Asuncion, Master, Pablo C. Mariano, Senior Warden, Baldomero Torres, Junior Warden, Quintin San Miguel, Treasurer and Jose F. Fetalvero, Secretary.
The 27th Anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated on September 22, 1949 with an official visitation by the Grand Master Albert J. Brazee, Jr., who presided at the second section of the Third Degree during the raising of Bonifacio L. Javier. Earlier in the afternoon, the Third Degree of Masonry was also conferred upon Bro. George S. Serbrenikoff and Teodulo Serrano. The families and friends of the Brethren participated in the program. They had a dinner and dance at the social hall of the Plaridel Masonic Temple after the visitation of the Grand Master.
During the installation of officers on January 5, 1949, WB Primo I. Guzman surprised everyone by presenting to every member, both active and honorary, gold plated souvenir pins with the Kasilawan seal. Two years later, he gave Masonic coins with appropriate blank spaces for engraving of the dates of initiation, passing and raising to every Mason who attended at the installation of officers.
Due to a lingering illness from which he had suffered for many years, Marciano P. Gatmaitan finally responded to the call of the Creator on the night of January 21, 1969 at the Manila Sanitarium. He was interred at the Manila Memorial Park in the afternoon of January 25, 1969. By coincidence, January 25 is the day Kasilawan Lodge No. 77, exactly forty-seven years before (January 25, 1922), was given its charter and designated to be the 77th lodge of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Forty-seven years thereafter, the mortal remains of its organizer, Marciano P. Gatmaitan, was consigned to Mother Earth. May the Almighty Father bless his soul and may he rest in peace.
Some of the present leaders of the lodge are Jacinto Q. Astrero, Vicente Que, Jr., Sonny Wang, Ruben Tingco, Rolan B. Llamas, Mariano K. Lee and Vicente 0. Que.
Location: Plaridel Masonic Temple, Manila