PINTONG BATO LODGE NO. 51
Pintong Bato is Tagalog for "gate of stone." The lodge was so named after a pass or smoken road by this name near Bacoor, Cavite, which was the scene of important engagements during the Filipino struggle for liberty in the last decade of the 19th Century.
In 1918, a small group of Master Masons, who were all members of Magdalo Lodge No. 3 1, met in Bacoor, Cavite under the leadership of Julian C. Balmaceda for the purpose of Organizing a Masonic lodge. They were able to secure a dispensation from Acting Grand Master Milton E. Springer on December 10, 1918. The following month, on January 28, 1919, the Grand Lodge granted a charter to the lodge under the name Pintong Bato Lodge No. 51. On February 15, 1919, Grand Master Springer assisted by Manuel X. Burgos, Rafael Palma, Emiliano T. Tirona, Conrado Benitez, and other Masonic dignitaries, constituted the lodge and installed its officers. Balmaceda was installed as its first Master.
Many applicants soon flocked to the lodge so a plan to construct a Temple was hatched. A suitable site was purchased and on February 22, 1921 a three-story wooden building was inaugurated. The inauguration coincided with the holding of adoption ceremonies. Twenty minor sons of active Master Masons, members of the lodge, were adopted as Lewises in accordance with the ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity.
Although a provincial lodge, the members of Pintong Bato Lodge have played a major role in diffusing Masonic light in many parts of the country. Its members helped in the oruanization of Masonic lodges in Rizal, Bataan and in other places. Thus, for example, its members Irineo C. de Vega and Angel Lazaro were charter members of Labong Lodge and later became holders of the gavel in said lodge.
To keep the members informed of the doings of the lodge, a monthly bulletin (Bolitin Masonico) was published. Later, the lodge put out a more elaborate magazine, entitled The Trowel. The lodge also trained several teams that used the English and Spanish rituals in conferring Masonic degrees on the growing number of applicants.
Worthy of mention is the fact that it was WB Julian C. Balmaceda, the first Master of the lodge, who was instrumental in introducing the use of Tagalog in the rituals of the Grand Lodge. He translated the rituals for the Installation of Officers, for Funeral Services, and for Memorial Services into Tagalog. He also authored, in Tagalog, the ritual for the Dedication of Masonic Cemetery Plots.
The pre-war years were years of plenty for the lodge, but the Second World War put an end to those happy days. The invading Japanese soldiers occupied the Temple of the lodge and later tore it down, carting away its GI sheets, lumber and paraphernalia. At the end of the war, however, the members constructed a concrete edifice in place of the old Temple.
Location: Bacoor, Cavite