Every Last Saturday of the Month at 9:00 AM
Charter Date
Rizal Masonic Temple
RIV Quezon-Marinduque
Brgy. Tan-ag Ilaya, Lopez, Quezon Province

The Name

This lodge is named after Dr. Jose Rizal, the famous Filipino Mason, author and patriot, who was shot publicly on Bagumbayan Field in Manila on December 30, 1896.

Rizal was born to Francisco Mercado y Alejandro and Teodoro Alonzo y Realonda. How he got the name Rizal is an interesting story.

MW Michael Goldenberg, a noted Rizalist, relates that Rizal's great grandfather on his father's side was a foreigner of Chinese ancestry. He was a buyer and seller of fruits and vegetables, which he sold to the market vendors in the "Mercado," or market of Blinn, Laguna. When he was baptized, the Priest suggested that he be named "Mercado" because he became wealthy thru his business in the market. Since that time he and his family carried the name "Mercado." Thus, Rizal's father was born and baptized as Francisco Mercado y Alejandra.

In 1842, Governor-General Claveria issued a decree that all residents with two names only, such as Francisco Mercado, must adopt a new family name because of too many using the same "appellido." The town Mayors were directed to assist anyone in selecting and registering their new names. When Francisco Mercado appeared before his friend, the Spanish alcalde (mayor) of Calamba, he was greeted as follows:

"Here comes the 'racial' man," to which Mercado replied: "not so 'racial' my friend as I do not dislike all Spaniards for I do like those who are like yourself. Change it a little by calling me Metal or Rizal and I will adopt that as my name." He adopted Rizal as the required change in his name, but was never known by it until his son Jose adopted it.

Jose Rizal, in his youth, considered himself a Mercado, but when he enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila in 1872, his brother, Paciano, who in college was known as Paciano Mercado and who was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny of 1872, feared that Jose might run into trouble if it was known too openly that they were brothers. He advised Jose to style himself Jose Rizal. Jose took the advice and since then he was known as Jose Rizal.

The Lodge

Founded in Lopez, Quezon by Antonio Argosino, Ildefonso Jugueta and Getulio Capistrano, Rizal Lodge No. 312 was admitted into the Federation of the Gran Oriente Espanol in 1909. It had a prosperous beginning and even successfully spread the light of Masonry to different towns in the province. Thus, on June 15,1914, several of its members under the leadership of WB Antonio Argosino and WB Gerardo L. Tanada organized Balintawak Lodge No. 312 in Gumaca.

In 1917, all the lodges working under the Gran Oriente Espanol forged a union with the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands and were given new charters by the Grand Lodge of PI. On February 13, 1917, Rizal Lodge No. 312 received a new charter as Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 and was constituted the following day as a subordinate lodge of the Grand Lodge of PI.

Many prominent citizens of Lopez joined Rizal Lodge. Some of them are Hipolito Valencia, Ildefonso Jugueta, Perfecto Reyes, Andres Torres, Hipolito E. Valena, Simeon Pasamba and Melton Manza. Initially the lodge had a large roster. It had 72 members on its rolls in 1920. In subsequent years, however, it suffered a decline in membership, going down to only 25 in 1927. It never recovered and several times it had to recycle its officers. Nevertheless, peace and harmony prevailed within its precincts and the members contentedly practiced the Royal Art.

Like all other lodges in the Philippines, Rizal Lodge went into darkness during the Japanese regime. It was reactivated soon after the war and for about two decades thereafter had a steady existence. It even planned to construct its own Temple. On January 30, 1965, the cornerstone was laid. A few years later, however, the foundations of the lodge started to shake. It again lost many members and its finances suffered. At the Annual Communication in 1973, Grand Master William C. Councell informed the brethren that he suspended the charter of Rizal Lodge for non-payment of fees and dues to the Grand Lodge and its failure to keep proper records. The following year Rizal Lodge settled its problems with the Grand Lodge so its charter was restored. Its difficulties, however, persisted. Most of its members transferred residence to other provinces until there were only three left, because of which the lodge could not open for the conduct of business. After a few years of inactivity, the remaining members threw in the towel and surrendered the charter of their lodge in 1979. That however, would not be the last hurrah of Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20. Once again it was resurrected, but its problems persisted. In 1990, Grand Master John L. Choa made one last try to save the lodge. He asked VW Ricardo Tan, DDGM, to try to invigorate the lodge. Tan, however, failed in his efforts and regretfully had to recommend the arrest of the charter of the lodge. In the Annual Communication held in April 1991, MW Choa informed the brethren that he had arrested the charter of Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20.

*During the District Convention held in Lucena City on August 19, 2003, the issue of the revival of the extinct Lodges in the Province of Quezon was taken into consideration.

Through the concerted effort of VW Alfonso Dagudag (who was then the Commanding General of the Southern Luzon Command in 2004 at Camp Nakar, Lucena City and President of the Banahaw Square and Compass Club, Inc.) and with the assistance of the Brethren of Quezon Province namely, VW Joselito Tamaray, VW Apolinario V. Panebe, VW Eduardo R. Somera, VW Jesus R. Decena, VW Edilberto De Luna, VW Ramon D. Borja, VW Romeo L. Villanueva, VW Augusto Angeles, VW Nestor Rivera, VW Reynaldo O. Calayan, Jr., VW Raul A. Ibal, VW Chito Ko, WB Totoy T. Gomez, to name a few, signed and formally filed the Petition for the revival of Rizal Lodge.

There were also three surviving members of Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 during that time, namely, Bro. Benjamin Marquez, Bro, Jorge Barreno and Bro. Alexander Requina.

On April 16, 2005, the Lodge was activated and ceremonies for the reconstitution of the Lodge was led by MW Oscar V. Bunyi, PGM under the authority of the Grand Lodge. The affair was held at Tayabas Lodge No. 43 with the Brethren of the District in attendance. The installed Master of the reactivated Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 was WM Benedicto P. Asi and he served for 2 years to revitalize the lodge after a long hiatus.

The first petitioners who were initiated, passed and raised to the sublime degree of Freemasonry by the reactivated Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 were Brothers Baltazar B. Taracina, Ronaldo G. Bulfa, Apolinario Neil R. Folloso and Marino Rommel D. Marquez.

Today, Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 continues to thrive, serving as a beacon of Masonic light in its district and continues to hold its meetings. This revival signifies an ongoing commitment to the Masonic principles of brotherhood, enlightenment and service within the community.

Finally, last October 30, 2023, a significant event took place at the site of the future home of Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20. Members of the lodge, distinguished guests, and community members gathered to witness the traditional cornerstone laying ceremony. This symbolic act marks the beginning of the construction of the new lodge building and signifies the values of unity, tradition, and commitment that the Masonic fraternity upholds and on April 22, 2024, the momentous occasion of the consecration and dedication of the newly constructed Rizal Masonic Lodge No. 20 building was presided over by the esteemed Most Worshipful Don Terng Ramas Uypitching. As a revered leader in the Masonic fraternity, MW Don Terng Ramas Uypitching brought a sense of solemnity and reverence to the ceremony, guiding the proceedings with wisdom and grace.

MW Don Terng Ramas Uypitching's presence and words of inspiration resonated with all those in attendance, reminding them of the importance of upholding the principles of Freemasonry and serving humanity with compassion and integrity. His dedication to the craft and his commitment to fostering harmony and enlightenment within the Masonic community were evident throughout the consecration and dedication ceremony, leaving a lasting impression on all who were privileged to witness this auspicious event.

*excerpt from A Glimpse of the Past, History of Kalilayan Lodge No. 37 by VW Joselito P.Tamaray,PDDGM