Magat Lodge No. 68
This Lodge was named after the Magat River, one of the four main river systems, which drain the Central Cordillera mountain range. The Magat River flows into Cagayan Valley where it merges with the Cagayan River.
Two prominent individuals were responsible for the organization of this lodge - Lope Kanseco Santos, Governor of Rizal, Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, Senator, Tagalog novelist, and the recognized Father of Filipino Grammar, and Tomas Madella, Governor of Nueva Vizcaya.
On December 29, 1920, Grand Master Rafael Palma issued a dispensation for the organization of this lodge in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. The following month, on January 26, 1921, after it was verified that the lodge had complied with requirements, the Grand Lodge granted it a charter as Magat Lodge No. 68. Three months later, on April 18, 1921, Magat Lodge was duly constituted at the Provincial Capitol in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya by the new Grand Master, MW Edwin E. Elser. The public installation of the officers, led by Senator Lope K. Santos, Master, Domingo Madella, Senior Warden and Frank Danao, Junior Warden, immediately followed. Incidentally, the 28 members of Magat Lodge at the time it was constituted and who may be considered its charter members, were Kirico Abordo, Pedro Afalia, Pastor G. Aluning, L. W. Bartlett, Juan Cabal, Alfonso Castarieda, Benito Ciscar, Ernesto Cuisa, Frank H. Danao, Daniel Galeon, Bruno Garingan, R. E. de Guzman, Toribo Joson, Hipiloto Lazam, Vicente Lumicao, Domingo Maddela, J.R. Maddela, T.P. Maddela, Vicente B. Oledan, Evaristo Panganiban, Bernardo de la Pella, Julian Pinaroc, Alberto Ramos, Claro Samonte, Lope K. Santos, Pedro R. Santos, Sienando Silvestre and Emilio Tolentino.
Magat Lodge registered a steady growth. From only 14 members in 1920, its roster increased to 28 when it was chartered in 1921, 37 in 1922, 46 in 1923, and 51 in 1924. In 1924, the members decided to build a temple of their own. They purchased a suitable site for a Masonic Temple, but it was not until 1931 during the term as Master of Sisenando Silvestre, that they succeeded in constructing their Temple.
Magat Lodge was very active in 1931. It averaged 5 meetings a month, constructed a hall and organized a fraternal club. The club was provided with billiard and ping pong tables and other equipment for games. Nearly every Sunday some brother or group of brethren offered lunch in the club. The lodge also created a local relief fund, managed by five brethren elected annually.
On December 26, 1931, Grand Master Willy W. Larkin, accompanied by a team from the Grand Lodge, visited Magat Lodge to dedicate its Temple and install its officers. The party of the Grand Master was met at the Baliti Pass by a committee headed by the Master of the lodge, Sisenando Silvestre. The party arrived at the Bayambang Ferry at about 4:30 p.m. They then proceeded to lodge hall for merienda. Thereafter the Grand Lodge was opened in due form for the purpose of dedicating the Temple. The dedication ceremonies were accomplished at about 7:45 p.m.
The next order of the day was a banquet at the residence of WB Domingo Maddela, a member of the House of Representatives and Inspector of the lodge. The Grand Lodge officers returned to the lodge at about 8:30 p.m. where Grand Master Larkin installed the officers of the lodge. After the public had left the hall, Demetrio Quirino was raised to the sublime degree of Masonry. The team was composed of all the visiting members of the Grand Lodge. MW Larkin explained the Working Tools, while C.S Salman and Edward W. Lawson gave the Lecture and Charge, respectively.
The lodge was closed in due form at about 11:45 p.m. The members and the visitors immediately went to the dance awaiting them at the house of WB Maddela which lasted until about 2:00 in the morning.
In 1932, WB Silvestre initiated the practice of holding gatherings of the members and their ladies in the various towns of Nueva Vizcaya. The first meeting was held in Solano on May 22, 1932 with about 100 persons present who enjoyed the dance and refreshments offered by the Solano brethren.
Aside from Lope K. Santos, several other distinguished individuals have served as Masters of Magat Lodge. Governor Domingo Maddela was Master in 1922, Governor Alfonso Castaneda in 1924, and Governor Tomas Maddela in 1926. Also, Roy D. Bennett, Vice-President of the Philippine Education Co. was Master in 1925, Jose Virtucio, the head of the Bureau of Public Works was Master in 1935, Guillermo Bongolan, who was an Assemblyman and Provincial Board Member, was Master in 1947, and Court of Appeals Justice and Grand Master Eugenio S. Labitoria was Master in 1976. Other prominent men from all walks of life have also served as Master of the lodge. Some were regional directors, school administrators, and heads of government and private agencies.
Worth mentioning also are members of the lodge who gained national prominence like Demetrio Quirino who was Provincial Governor and delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention and Dr. Cicero Calderon, President of Siliman University and President of the International Labor Organization. Governor and Bro. Leon Cabarroguis was not a member of the lodge, but was a frequent visitor. Among the other members of the lodge were then Provincial Commander Alberto Ramos, who later rose to the rank of General, Deputy Governor Jose T. Lazam and Representative Panganiban.
Through the years Magat Lodge has shone as a model organization for making good men better and imbuing them with a love of God and country.
Location: Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya