Makawiwili Lodge No. 55
“Makawiwili” is the name of a mountain in Capiz Province where the Filipino patriots found refuge during the insurrection against Spain. It was also the Masonic name of Senator Jose Altavas, the first Master of the lodge. To retain these memories and at the same time make the name of the Lodge expressive of peace it was called “makawiwili” a Visayan word denoting a peaceful and attractive place.
Jose Altavas of Sinukuan Lodge No. 16 organized this lodge in Capiz, Capiz, with the assistance of Robert Clauson of Corregidor Lodge No. 3, Amando Avancenia of Sinukuan Lodge and several other brethren. On September 11, 1919, the founders sent a petition to Grand Master Milton Earl Springer requesting for the issuance of a dispensation to form a lodge in Capiz. The following October, Iloilo Lodge recommended the issuance of the dispensation. The organizers, however, encountered difficulties in securing demits from their lodges so the issuance of the dispensation was delayed until it was too late to open the lodge and return the dispensation in accordance with the requirements of the Masonic Law Book. The Committee on Charters, however deemed it "of manifest propriety that a lodge be formed in Capiz." Taking into account "the character and Masonic standing of the signers of the petition" it recommended that a charter be granted. The recommendation was approved so on January 25, 1920, Makawiwili Lodge No. 55 was granted a charter even though it had not worked "under dispensation."
On April 9, 1920, Grand Master Rafael Palma, accompanied by Antonio de las Alas, Teofisto Guingona, Daniel Maramba, Lope K. Santos, Enrique Filamor, Conrado Benitez, and other Masonic dignitaries, went to Capiz and constituted Makawiwili Lodge and installed its officers in the "palatial residence of Brothers Jose Altavas.”After the ceremonies Palma and the newly installed Master, Jose Altavas, delivered speeches. Altavas would serve the lodge as Master for four consecutive terms (1920-1923), and then again in 1937 and 1940.
The first meetings of the lodge were usually held at the beach house or town house of Altavas. Barely four months after the constitution of the lodge, or specifically on August 14, 1920, then Governor Manuel A. Roxas, later the President of the Philippine Republic, was honored as one of its first initiates. A year later, on September 23,1921, the lodge raised him to the sublime degree of Master Mason in the beach house of Altavas. Incidentally, Roxas served as Master of the lodge in 1927. Another early initiate was Gabriel K. Hernandez who became Master in 1936, the same year that he was Governor of Capiz.
Sometime during this period the lodge acquired a 7,000-sq. m. lot for its cemetery.
The roster of the lodge reached 123 hill-fledged members, and was looked up to as one of the more progressive lodges in the Visayas, but when World War II broke out it was forced to close. Makawiwili Lodge remained in darkness for a quarter of a century.
In the Regional Convention of Visayan Lodges held in Dumaguete City in January 1966, the delegates gave top priority to efforts to revive Makawiwili Lodge. A group of dedicated Masons, led by Judge Valerio Roviro, put their shoulders to the task. In 1967, Grand Master Raymond E. Wilmarth formally authorized the reactivation of the lodge and on April 8, 1967, Deputy Grand Master Mariano Q. Tinio presided over the reactivation ceremonies. The members immediately buckled down to work. In 1970, they constructed a temporary Temple for their lodge, then in 1983 they built a permanent structure on a lot donated by the heirs of Rufo Arcenas, who, during his lifetime, was a member of the lodge.
Location: Roxas City