Laoag Lode No. 71
Laoag Lodge was named after Laoag City in Ilocos Norte where it is located.
On April 2, 1921, Grand Master Edwin E. Elser issued a dispensation to 16 Master Masons authorizing them to form a new lodge to be holden at Laoag, Ilocos Norte and to be known as Laoag Lodge. Named officers were Zoilo Toleritino, Master; Cayetano Ligot, Senior Warden; and Francisco B. Santos, Junior Warden. Among the organizers of the lodge were Mariano R. Marcos, Severino Fernandez, Frank V. Stipp, C. L. Pickett, Buenaventura Ocampo, and Miguel Guerrero.
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in January 1922, the Committee on Charters reported that the records of the lodge were in order, the books well kept, the accounts paid, and its work such that it merits approbation. The Committee, therefore, recommended the grant of a charter to the lodge. Accordingly the charter was granted on January 25, 1922.
On April 3, 1922, Monday, Grand Master Quintin Paredes, accompanied by Albert George Saunders, Ramon Romero, Gregorio Matti, Ramon Tuason, Urbano Bariez and other Masonic leaders, constituted the lodge and installed its officers at the Grand Auditorium of the provincial building in Laoag. Grand Master Paredes described the ceremonies as "magnificent." "The event," he said, "took place in the court-yard of the provincial building which had been converted into a large, elegant, well-lighted auditorium where the most select as well as the humblest citizens of the locality and many distinguished visitors from other towns and provinces attended." He had reason to be effusive. About 2,000 persons were present at the constitution and the grand banquet and dance. Two bands provided music for the occasion.
Laoag Lodge had very encouraging beginnings. Starting with only 16 members in April 1921 its roster improved to 48 before the end of the year. In 1922, the number of members went up to 70, 85 in 1923, 90 in 1924, 95 in 1926 and 97 in 1928. Thereafter, however, when the effects of the Great Depression in the United States brought about an economic downturn in the Philippines, the number of members slowly went downhill. It dropped to 93 in 1929, 44 in 1934, 30 in 1938 and only 24 in 1940. The lodge also went through some hard days, like the burning of the building where it held its meetings, which resulted in the loss of practically all its records and Masonic paraphernalia. During World War II, also, it lost some of its prominent members like Domingo J. Domingo Sr., a former Governor of Ilocos Norte and Mariano R. Marcos, father of President Ferdinand Marcos. The lodge was down on its knees and had it not been for the faithful stewardship of Alberto Saguitan, who kept its light burning through the war years, the lodge could have been a thing of the past. Amidst the ravages of the war he continued to operate and conduct its periodic meetings at the Laoag City YMCA, and later at the Auditorium of Northern Christian College that was offered free by VW Juan F. Santos.
In 1980, the lodge gained new life; the brethren began to seriously dream of erecting a Temple of their own. VW Ruperto R. Visaya and WB Irineo F. Santos, President of the Laoag Masonic Temple Association, Inc., inked a contract for the purchase of a suitable lot. On May 8, 1985, when Alex A. Nag talon was the Master, officers of the Grand Lodge laid the cornerstone of the building. On October 4, 1986, the lodge started using the ground floor. It was, however, during the term of VW Ernesto E. Cua that the work went into high gear. VW Cua dipped into his own pocket to insure that work would go on uninterrupted. His successor, Oscar Suguitan, was equally dedicated. When Laoag Lodge hosted the Tri-District convention comprising Districts 4, 5, & 24, on September 28 & 29, 1989 at the Mariano Marcos State University (MSSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte, with the cooperation of Bro. Philip (Felipe) Cachola, President of the University, the lodge was able to raise some fund, which were used to start work on the second floor.
Today, thanks to the teamwork of the brethren and sympathizers, the lodge is the proud possessor of a Temple located on top of the hill east of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital in Laoag City.
Location: Laoag City