Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181
Sierra Madre is the name of the mountain range that hugs the eastern coast of northern and Central Luzon. It is 565 kilometers long, the longest mountain system in the Philippines. This range has an average width of 40 kilometers, and has peaks ranging from 1,150 meters to about 1,850 meters high.
The establishment of a separate Masonic lodge for those living in the eastern coastal towns of Laguna, was conceived by brethren who found Pinagsabitan Lodge No. 26 whose seat is in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, too difficult to reach. They believed that, for Masonry in Laguna to grow, another lodge that will cater to the coastal towns had to be established. Paete was pinpointed as the ideal place.
On February 2, 1966, Grand Master Serefin Teves issued a dispensation to twenty-nine Master Masons authorizing them to congregate as a lodge in Paete, Laguna. On March 12, 1966, the first meeting of the lodge was held with Bros. Tirso C. Caballero, Crispin G. Padilla and German Y. Asinas as its first Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, respectively.
During the annual communication of the Grand Lodge in April 1966 the lodge was granted a charter and assigned number 181. Grand Master Raymond E. Wilmarth constituted it on July 23, 1966 with the assistance of RW Mariano Q. Tinio, RW Manuel M. Crudo, VW Cecilio M. Bituin, VW Eulogio 0. Nadal and other Masonic dignitaries. Initially, the lodge held its meetings in one of the classrooms of the Eastern Laguna Institute. Later, the meetings were transferred to the residence of WB Eugenio A. Caguin up to the time that the members succeeded in constructing the Sierra Madre Temple along the National Highway in Paete, Laguna.
The construction of the Temple of Sierra Madre Lodge was made possible through the cooperative efforts of the brethren. Foremost among them were Bro. & Mrs. Miguel B. Dailo who donated the site, WB Nicolas G. Fadul, who organized the Sierra Madre Temple Association, and Bro. Leandro B. Balquiedra, who served as President of the Association. Brothers Andres Ramos, Quirico V. Cadang, Diego Calma, Ernesto Pagalanan, Rufino Bagabaldo, Atanacio Balsas, Emeterio Bandong Jr., and Cesar B. Gavia, also assisted in the building project. Starting in 1986 each member of the lodge was assessed P2,000.00.
The first to be installed Master in this newly constructed Temple was WB Leandro B. Balquiedra and the first to be raised was Bro. Vicente J. Go. It was during the incumbency of WB Emeterio Bandong Jr. that the lodge received a P28,000.00 donation from the brethren of Micronesia Lodge No. 173 for the construction of the ceiling. Micronesia Lodge later became its first sister lodge.
Officers and brethren from different lodges in the District were also instrumental in the completion of the Sierra Madre Lodge Temple, foremost among them being the late Gov. F. T. San Luis of Laguna, who was an Honorary Member of Sierra Madre Lodge No.181.
In 1996, Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 became the first lodge to have a Masonic Web Site Home Page on the Internet in the Philippines.
Location: Paete, Laguna