Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73
Nueva Ecija is the name of the province where this lodge is located. It is claimed that Governor Fausto Cruzat named the province Nueva Ecija, after his home town, Ecija in Sevilla, Spain.
In the early months of 1921, Emilio Cabrera, Marceliano Hidalgo, Ricardo S. Nilo and Marcelo E. Jose initiated the organization of a Masonic lodge in Quezon, Nueva Ecija. Organizational meetings were held, during which the founders were joined by Juan Sanciatco, Jose Sacramento, Jose C. Jacinto, Ruperto D. Joson, Jose V. Cruz, Martin Villasan, Saturnino Garcia, Emilio Cabrera, Vicente Garcia, Marcelo E. Jose, Tomas Joson, Sotero Garcia, and Gaudencio Tolentino. In February 1921, a petition for dispensation was drafted and presented to the Grand Lodge. Two months later, on April 14, 1921, the Grand Master issued the requested dispensation and named Ricardo S. Nilo as Master of the lodge; Jose Sacramento as SW; Ruperto D. Joson as JW; Martin Villasan as Treasurer, and Emilio Cabrera, Secretary. Interestingly, the signers of the petition were all members of Noli Me Tangere Lodge No. 42, with the exception of Cabrera and Jacinto who were members of Walana Lodge No. 13 and Cosmos Lodge No. 8, respectively.
In its first meeting Nueva Ecija Lodge, UD gave due course to the petition for degrees of Benigno T. Reyes, the Principal Teacher of Quezon Elementary School. He would eventually become the first petitioner to be raised to the 3rd degree in the lodge. In a subsequent meeting all the officers of the lodge were reelected. Also, sixteen new Master Masons made common cause with the petitioners.
At the annual communication held in January 1922, the Grand Lodge granted a charter to Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73. Two months later, March 4, 1922, it was duly constituted and its officers installed by a team of Masonic dignitaries led by Grand Master Quintin Paredes, Simplicio Ocampo, Dionisio San Agustin and Doroteo Joson. The affair was graced by the presence of brethren from Cabana tuan Lodge No. 53, Walana Lodge No. 13, Noli Me Tangere Lodge No. 42, Sinukuan Lodge No. 16, Rizal Lodge No. 22, Malolos Lodge No. 46, Cosmos Lodge No.8 and Batangas Lodge No. 35.
The outbreak of the Second World War in December 1941, forced the closure of the lodge, but the members continued to practice the tenets of Masonry, particularly that of charity. Outstanding in this regard were Martin Villasan, Tomas Joson, Jose V. Cruz, and Gaudencio Tolentino. The members also extended full support to the underground movement. The atrocities of the enemy, however, claimed the lives of some worthy brethren, including WB Felino Villasan who was then the Provincial Governor.
In June 1945, shortly after the liberation of the province, the first meeting of the lodge was held through the efforts of its Master, Gregorio D. Robles. The Secretary, Primitivo Lumibao, had saved all the lodge paraphernalia so the lodge was able to buckle down to work. Petitions for degrees were received from Eulogio Sta. Maria, then Municipal Treasurer of Quezon, Nueva Ecija, and Eduardo L. Joson, who later became Governor of the Province.
The membership grew slowly, but the lodge encountered difficulties in forming a quorum. In the hope of improving attendance and of giving the lodge a boost, the members transferred their lodge to Guimba, Nueva Ecija. That was in 1951. In Guimba, the lodge acquired sixty-nine new members.
After over a decade, the old members opted to return to home base. A friendly parting with the members who were residents of Guimba ensued. The Guimba residents, 26 in all, petitioned the Grand Lodge for a dispensation to form a new lodge in Guimba to be named Gen. Manuel Tinio Lodge. Nueva Ecija Lodge gave a favorable recommendation for the approval of the petition. Thus, in 1962 the Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73 formally returned to Quezon and Gen. Manuel Tinio Lodge No. 167 was born.
Where to hold meetings was a problem that bugged the members of the lodge for decades. During its organization stage, a room in the Elementary School was used as meeting place thanks to the efforts of Ruperto D. Joson, the principal of the Quezon Elementary School. During the early liberation period, the lodge was able to borrow the Shop in the Elementary School, thanks to the principal of the school. After the transfer of the principal to Talavera, the meetings were moved to the house of WB Martin Villasan, and later to the house of Bro. Gaudencio Tolentino. It was at this time that the lodge was transferred to Guimba. In Guimba, the lodge used the upper floor (2 rooms) of the Corregidor College, which was offered by its head, Bro. Eulogio Dizon. The lodge held meetings at the College until the members succeeded in constructing a Temple. When the lodge returned to Quezon, the Temple was left with the new Manuel Tinio Lodge. In Quezon, the lodge once more used the residence of Bro. Tolentino.
On July 10, 1965, Don Senen Gabaldon donated a 1,393 sq. m. lot to the lodge. Two years later, the construction of a building on the lot was begun and in another two years, the work was completed. On October 5, 1968, the Nueva Ecija Masonic Temple was dedicated and duly consecrated by Grand Master Joseph E. Schon.
Location: Quezon, Nueva Ecija