Palawan Lodge No. 99
This lodge was named after the island and province of which Puerto Princesa, the seat of the lodge, is the capital. Palawan is the local name for Cyrtosperma merkush, a large plant with a stout trunk, found in ravines along streams. It is cultivated for edible corms or as an ornamental plant. American soldiers who tasted this crop in the jungles swear it tastes like "army issue soap." It is also claimed that Palawan comes from the corrupted form of the Spanish word Paragua which means "umbrella" and which resembles the shape of the main island.
Palawan Lodge traces its origin to October 21, 1922 when Grand Master Quintin Paredes issued a dispensation authorizing thirteen brethren led by WB Ramon Victorio to form a lodge to be known as Palawan Lodge, U.D. At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in January 1923, Palawan Lodge was granted a charter as Palawan Lodge No.85. The members, however, failed to-have their lodge constituted. Nevertheless, they did not give up. In 1925 they again applied for a dispensation which was issued by Grand Master Christian Rosenstock on July 25, 1925. At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in January 1926, Palawan Lodge was again granted a charter but as Lodge No. 99, because the No. 85 had been given, in the meantime, to Luz Oceanica Lodge. On November 27,1926 a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge was opened at the Sala of the Provincial Governor's residence in Puerto Princesa, Palawan where the lodge was duly constituted and its officers installed. The Grand Master could not make it so he designated Emilio Araneta Diaz to Preside over the ceremonies as his representative. The first set of officers of the lodge were Sotero F. Cacdac, Worshipful Master, Valentin Macasaet, Senior Warden and Emelio J. Decolongon, Junior Warden.
Palawan Lodge attracted prominent residents of the province including the so-called "Builders of Palawan," namely: Ramon M. Mitra Sr., Valentin Macasaet, Ramon Victorio, Gaudencio Abordo, Emelio J. Decolongon and Aurelio Reynosa, Sr. It even had one Japanese member who served as Treasurer of the lodge in 1929 and 1930. Bro. Yaezo Minikawa was a rich businessman who made substantial contributions for the erection of the pre-war Temple of Palawan Lodge.
Palawan Lodge had one big problem. It never had a large membership and, moreover, most of them were employees who were subject to reassignment to other places. There were times that there were not enough members in Palawan to open the lodge. Thus, when Grand Master Samuel Hawthorne made an official visita lion to Palawan Lodge on June 24, 1935, there were only 4 members living in Palawan - two in Puerto Princesa and two at the lwahig Penal Colony. The editor of 111e Cabletow commented :
This last voyage, we might add, were all for the exclusive
benefit of one outlying lodge, whose total membership is 13.
And although the lack of a quorum made it impossible to hold
a meeting of the lodge, MW Bro. Samuel R. Hawthorne will
nevertheless have the satisfaction of having been the only Grand
Master who ever made a personal visit to distant Palawan Lodge No. 99.
When World War II broke out in 1941, the lodge was forced to close and it remained in darkness for 40 years.
In 1983, the Masons in Palawan decided to reactivate the lodge. It took over a year for them to come up with the needed petition. The problem that beset the group was that most of the sojourning and resident brethren were under suspension for non-payment of dues, having been absent for a long time from their mother lodges. To speed up matters, brethren from other lodges were requested to sign the petition. Meanwhile, the disenfranchised brethren in Palawan contacted their respective lodges and requested for restoration. Finally, a petition for the reactivation of Palawan Lodge signed by 42 Master Masons was presented to the Grand Lodge on August 22, 1984.
On December 18, 1984 Grand Master Reynato S. Puno, authorized the petitioning brethren "to revive, revivify, rejuvenate, reactivate and restore" Palawan Lodge No_ 99, and appointed the following officers: WB Perfecto L. Alibadbad, PM, Master; Bro. Baltazar Goh, SW; and Bro. Frank Igno, JW. After a fruitful Masonic labor within the time frame of its dispensation, the reconstitution of the lodge was confirmed at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge on April 26, 1985.
The formal reconstitution of the lodge did not occur until Sept. 28, 1985 when Grand Master Pedro W. Guerzon and his party came over to Puerto Princesa City to perform in public the historic rites at the Multi-purpose Gymnasium of the Palawan National High School. Installed that day were WB Perfecto L. Alibadbad, Master; Baltazar Goh, SW; Frank Igno, JW; Victoriano Magay, Treasurer; and Carlos Carlos, Secretary.
Today, Palawan Lodge is kept alive and vibrant by the worthy and able Master Masons she had raised and nurtured from its fertile quarries. Sojourning brethren, from the various civilian and military agencies of government have enlivened it. Imbued with the desire to restore the old glory that Masonry enjoyed in the days of yore, the brethren endeavored to construct a modest Temple to accommodate the growing membership on a lot donated by WB Baltazar Goh, PM. The brethren held their first stated meeting in their new Temple on August 11, 1990.
Location: Puerto Princesa City, Palawan