Makabugwas Lodge No. 47
Makabugwas is a Visayan term for “Morning Star”, “East,””Orient.”
In the early part of 1918, several Masons residing in Tacloban, Leyte conceived the idea of bringing the light of Masonry to the province. Led by Judge Fernando Salas of Nilad Lodge, Provincial Fiscal Emilio Araneta Diaz of Mak tan Lodge, PC Provincial Commander I. Hilliard of Maktan Lodge, and Aurelio Diokno of Walana Lodge, they held several preliminary meetings for the purpose of organizing a lodge. They held their meetings in the residence of Salas at the corner of Trece Martires and Lopez Jaena Sts (then Pelayo and Pizarro Streets, respectively), at times at the residence of Benito Gallardo of Walana Lodge at Gran Capitan St. and at other times on board the S/S Batanguerio which was then making weekly trips to Tacloban and which was under the command of Diokno.
Their plans were crystallized in the later part of 1918. A petition for authority to establish a lodge was sent to the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands by Salas, Diokno, Gallardo, Emilio Araneta Diaz, Jose Alba of Silanganan Lodge, J. Hillard, Zacarias Salem of Sinukuan Lodge, Gregorio Barreto of Biak-na-Bato Lodge, Santiago Franco of Bagumbayan Lodge, Walter Price of Cosmos Lodge, Gregorio J. Mariano of Sinukuan Lodge and R. G. McLeod of Cavite Lodge. Diokno, who had earlier founded Bulusan Lodge, secured the favorable endorsement of this lodge. Grand Master Manuel L. Quezon issued the requested dispensation for the formation of Makabugwas Lodge UD, on March 26,1918. After the lodge complied with the requirements of the Grand Lodge, it was granted a charter on January 28, 1919 during the annual communication of the Grand Lodge.
On May 31, 1919, Grand Master Milton E. Springer, assisted by Grand Secretary Newton C. Comfort, Fernando Salas, William A. Weidmann, Walter S. Price, Aurelio Diokno and otner brother masons, opened a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge in Tacloban, Leyte where they constituted the new lodge. Immediately thereafter Grand Master Springer installed the officers led by Worshipful Master Salas, Senior Warden Araneta Diaz, and Junior Warden Gallardo. The affair was held in public at the Rizal Community School Building and was attended by about 400 persons which included provincial officials and officials of the neighboring municipalities.
The first meetings of the lodge were held in a house on President Wilson St. They later moved to the house owned by brother R. B. Shellbourne at the corner of Gran Capitan and Paterno Sts. It was in the later house where the first products of the lodge - Antonio Barretto Po Elut, Federrico V. Laraga and Januario Perez - were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. Subsequently, the lodge transferred to several other meeting places.
Early on, Ivfakabugwas Lodge recorded several notable accomplishments. On February 23, 1932, the lodge sponsored an oratorical contest on George Washington that was held in the spacious grounds of the Provincial High School of Leyte. All the contestants received valuable prizes, however, the First and Second Prizes were won by the Leyte High School. The audience was the biggest ever convened in Tacloban up to that time. Flushed with success, the lodge announced an essay contest on Rizal open to all school undergraduates, which would close on June 19, 1932, the birthday of our national hero.
Later in the year, the Grand Lodge announced that the celebration of its 20th Anniversary would be broadcast over station KZRM. The radio was a novelty in those days, so the lodge installed an RCA Victor radio receiving set in its hall, courtesy of Bro. J. C. Price, and invited the families and friends of Masons to hear the broadcast. The squally weather did not prevent more than seventy people to gather in the lodge hall. The reception was near perfect. Needless to say the audience listened attentively. MW Teodoro M. Kalaw's voice was most clear of them all. The mention of the names of great patriots and Masons in the address of MW Eugene Stafford was a happy revelation.
In 1937, the lodge followed up its successes with the publication of a new letter called the Makabugwas Letter edited by Francisco Tantuico.
When the Second World War broke out in 1941, the lodge had to close, but the Master of the lodge, WB Benedicto Cunanan, and the members kept the spirit of Masonry alive. WB Cunanan, Pio Advincula, Gonzalo N. Varona and Federico V. Larraga, at great personal risk, preserved the records and paraphernalia of the lodge.
At the end of the war, American, Filipino and Chinese Masons organized two Masonic Clubs in Tacloban - the MOPI or Masonic Organization of the Philippines with William J. McBee, as its Secretary, and the Philippine Square and Compass Club headed by J. E. Berber. Pending the reorganization of Makabugwas Lodge, Masonic affairs in Leyte were handled by these two organizations. Under their auspices many Masonic meetings were held in the small Island of Hinamoc, Samar, and in the municipalities of Tacloban and Palo, Leyte. One meeting in Hinamok Island was memorable. To reach the place, the brethren had to cross San Pedro Bay on barges supplied by the American Masons, and while they were in the middle of the hay, Japanese planes appeared and strafed the barges. Meetings in Palo, Leyte were also well remembered as they were held in a chapel that the Masons shared with Catholics, Protestants, etc., alternately.
Largely through the efforts of the American Masons in the Liberation Forces, the Masons were able to construct a Temple in 1946 which they called Kalinaw Temple, meaning Temple of peace in the local dialect. Makabugwas Lodge would meet in this Temple for the next 18 years.
In the 1960's, the members of Makabugwas lodge started the construction of a new Temple to replace the Kalinaw Temple which by then was dilapidated. On February 2, 1963 they were able to hold their first meeting in the new Temple, but it was not until February 25, 1964 that they inaugurated their Temple.
Location: Tacloban City