June 2024

The Masonic Education Lecture for the 2nd month of Masonic Year 2024 – 2025, is being delivered in commemoration of the 126th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence. Among the teachings imparted by VR Samuel Fernandez, former IMES Dean and now consultant, is the marked difference between Heroism, Patriotism, & Nationalism – they are the important concepts involved in Nation-Founding, Nation-Building, and Nation-Cleansing.  The conceptual triumvirate inspired the SGL’s Masonic Lecture 2 years ago. This is a follow through to the said Lecture.

HEROISM came from the Greek word herṓs, and refers to a demigod. As a virtue it is associated with great courage and selflessness, putting others first even at one’s own peril. In the process, a high purpose or noble end is attained. As an act, it can happen in an instant which although short-lived can be retold and later on inspire more among us to practice the same virtue.

PATRIOTISM is based on patriot, derived from Greek patriṓtēs, or “fellow-countryman or lineage member.” The root word, means “fatherland” as in paternal, patriarchy, etc. It is the devotion to and the vigorous support for one's country including the willingness to defend it. 

NATIONALISMis a derivative of NATION from the Latin word natio, or “something born,” which the Romas used when referring to a community of foreigners. It is a belief system focused on the expression of identification, loyalty, devotion, or allegiance to a nation or nation-state and holds that such obligations outweigh other individual or group interests.

Although these concepts are open to everyone (both Masons and the un-initiated), they are aligned with the Grand Master’s theme “Let there be more Men in the Light, and let there be more - Light among Masons” when taken within the context of the three Speculative Phases, namely: EDUCATION, ENLIGHTENMENT, and EQUILIBRIUM. It must be understood that each Speculative Phase is a progression with each level founded on the previous one.

EDUCATION - the Initial Phase is about the imparting of knowledge; next is ENLIGHTENMENT - the application of what was taught; EQUILIBRIUM - the third Phase is the full realization of what was both taught and applied. Based on this premise, HEROISM, PATRIOTISM, and NATIONALISM can be expounded as follows:


Heroism - a virtue of courage and selflessness, is cultivated thru Education. At this stage, Masonry teaches the brethren about the virtues of courage thru Fortitude and selflessness by Brotherly Love. It can also be found in our Obligations.

That particular instance or several situations when a Mason display(s) courage and selflessness leading to a higher purpose or a more noble end can be considered an Enlighted act of Heroism. Among the examples are the services made by Bro Gregorio “Greg” Macasaet III, MD at the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the actions done by Bro David Jonathan Pagaduan, MD in assisting a pregnant woman during the lockdown.

When heroes or potential heroes become committed to a life of courage and selflessness – Heroism has reached Equilibrium. An example of this is VW Adriatico “Akok Tan” Tee who from 2016 until his demise in 2021 has dedicated his life in Blood-Letting Programs with his actions saving innumerable lives.


Patriotism is a devotion of loyalty and support to one’s country. Institutionally, it can be indoctrinated thru military schools and similar institutions. Jurisdictionally, it is taught thru certain lectures by the Corps of the Grand Lecturers (such as this), thru classes in IMES, or as published literature in The Cable Tow and other Masonic Publications. Personally, Patriotism is shown by example – this can be seen in the bearing and aura of our Brethren in Uniform. But Patriotism is not limited to those drilled in military science. 

Devotion of loyalty and support to the Philippines can be practiced by ALL Masons. Showing up on time and in the proper habiliments of a Mason in the Wreath-Laying of our National and Local Heroes regardless of the date, time, or season, every year without fail, is a simple but difficult example of loyalty and devotion akin to Patriotic Enlightenment.

When several or majority of the Brethren can do the same year in and year out, regardless of their position in their Lodge or District. Patriotic Equilibrium is almost within reach.


Nationalism as a belief system is a collection of inter-related teachings on the love of country. At the Educational Level, it is partly introduced to Masons from the 10 moral standards in the Craft which are: The three tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth; the four Cardinal Virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice; and the three Christian Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Include the obligations, working tools, lectures, and charges of the First, Second, and Third Degree plus the Pledge of Allegiance, Tribute to the Flag, and National Anthem – and a collective Nationalist Education can be seen in place within the scope of our individual compasses that will surely make each of us a better Citizen, a better family man, and a better individual.

When we as a Lodge, District, or as a Group of Masons help each other in practicing these collective standards of morality and move in unison – Nationalist Enlightenment is being manifested.

The highest attainment within this matrix is a Nationalist Equilibrium. At this level majority of the members of the Grand Lodge are acting in accord with the Nationalist Belief System mentioned earlier.

Full Realization
Cultivation of Virtues of Courage & Selflessness Virtues bloom thru one or more act(s) of   Courage & Selflessness Heroes or potential Heroes become Patriots for Life
Devotion by Example Show of Loyalty & Support One or more act(s) of Devotion becomes a Person’s Way of Life  One Patriot Inspires a group or community - became Nationalists
Belief System

Introduction of the Collective Teachings on love of Country 
- with Cultivated Virtues
- devotion as a Way of Life

Collective Teachings  are Lived by a Nationalist group or community Nationalist Way of life of a group or community inspires  an entire  Nation or Jurisdiction

Note: DGL’s answers to these questions shall be among their contributions to the Lecture:

1. Who are the known Masonic Personalities (both living and dead) in your Masonic District or Province that can be considered as Heroes, Patriots, or Nationalists?

Take Note that not all Heroes are Masons.
              Eg. Emilio Jacinto and Gregorio Del Pilar have no record as Masons

2. Feel Free to cite other examples or instances of
Heroic Education, Heroic Enlightenment, and Heroic Equilibrium
Patriotic Education, Patriotic Enlightenment, and Patriotic Equilibrium
Nationalist Education, Nationalist Enlightenment, and Nationalist Equilibrium

A non-Mason once asked the Brethren – three loaded questions: 
Why is it that many (if not ALL) of our Heroes are Masons? 
Were they made masons because they are Heroes? 
Or did they become Heroes because they were masons?

Historically, our National Heroes and other Masons who stood out in History, like WB Greg Macasaet,  Bro. Pagaduan, VW Akok Tan, and many more, were Masons first long before being distinguished for their acts of bravery, devotion to duty, selfless advocacy, and the sincere desire to uplift their Country and Countrymen. The lives that they have lived provide a clear answer to that third question.

Our Fraternity have instilled in each Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason the Cardinal Virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice; added Faith, Hope and Charity; PLUS the tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth; and tempered each MASON with our Obligations, Working Tools and Degree Lectures, and Ancient Masonic Charges. The names mentioned in this lecture are exemplars of what Masons can be if they remain to be good men and true. 

Brethren there is a potential Hero, Patriot, and Nationalist in each of us…

VW Dennis L. Cunanan