Saturday, September 15, 2007

A History of Lincoln Lodge (F&AM)

Ninety years ago, seventeen big hearted men, conscious of their duty to their country and their people, met in humility and dedication, and with boldness proclaimed their sincere belief in freedom necessary for the happy existence the human race.

Unrelenting in such belief, and compelled by a strong conviction and duty to their fellowmen, those men founded Lincoln Lodge No. 34 F. & A.M. They were members of Bagong Buhay Lodge No. 291, San Roque, Cavite, who were residing in Olongapo. The Charter Members were as follows:

Evaristo Bautista
Francisco Castro
Robert Cabezae
Amado Espiritu
Isabelo Espiritu
Domingo V. Garcia
Lorenzo Gonzales
Eusebio H. Lorenzana
Domingo Manipis
Manuel Miranda
Ruperto Ramos
Victor de los Reyes
Jose Salamante
Leandro Salvador
Trinitario Segue
Flaviano Sindiong
Jose San Lorenzo

Imbued with the desire to be united in carrying on the work of the Fraternity in the area of their new home, they petitioned for a Special Dispensation from the GRAN LOGIA REGIONAL de FILIPINAS to establish and open a Masonic Lodge in Olongapo to be known as "LINCOLN LODGE". During the same year, the dispensation was granted. And on the first meeting held at No. 304 Harris St., Olongapo Naval Reservation, the following three principal officers of the Lodge were elected:

Wor. Master................................ Bro. Domingo V. Garcia
Senior Warden............................. Bro. Domingo Manipis
Junior Warden.............................. Bro. Isabelo Espiritu

A petition for a charter submitted to the GRAN LOGIA REGIONAL de FILIPINAS before the end of 1916 was granted. Under this charter, the Lodge was finally inaugurated on February 4, 1917 as Lincoln Lodge No. 382. The fusion of the GRAN LOGIA REGIONAL de FILIPINAS with the GRAN LOGIA de las ISLAS FILIPINAS resulted in the formation of what is now known as the "GRAND LODGE OF THE PHILIPPINES". Under this Grand Lodge, the charter of Lincoln Lodge No. 382 was changed to Lincoln Lodge No. 34 F. & A.M.

The house at No. 304 Harris St., Olongapo Naval Reservation, where the seat of the first meeting took place was selected and rented for use as the lodge hall. Through the able administration of its finances, the lodge succeeded in buying a big building at No. 102 Harris St. in 1923. This was rebuilt into a Masonic Temple, complete with furniture and Masonic paraphernalia.

Unfortunately on April 1931, the Masonic Temple was burned and all important documents and Masonic papers were reduced to ashes. This misfortune did not deter the brethren from carrying on the Masonic work. Returning to the former building at No. 304 Harris St. the members subsequently reconstructed the burned edifice and on April 26, 1933 a new building was again ready for occupancy. Although the new structure was not an imposing building, yet at that time it stood as a monument for all the hard work and sacrifices of the brethren in their effort and determination to have a temple of their own.

In 1924 the members of Lincoln Lodge mostly composed of the civic leaders in town, recognizing the urgent need for unification and leadership, organized their wives and daughters into a semi fraternal association known as "FRATERNIDAD de MUJERES." This organization brought closer the relations between the families of masons. It can be said that this was the forerunner of the post war "Ladies Fraternity" which later became the basis for establishing the Order of the Eastern Star Chapter in Olongapo.

The membership of Lincoln Lodge No. 34 before the outbreak of the Pacific War was 112 comprised of 60 Filipinos, 41 Americans, 10 Chinese and 1 Spanish. Of the total number, only 59 were residents of Olongapo. All the other were located in other towns and most of the Americans were in the United States.

At the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 7, 1941, Lincoln Lodge No. 34 was completely destroyed by the Japanese enemy action... nothing was saved. The Japanese Imperial forces occupied Olongapo from February 1, 1942 to February 1, 1945 - exactly three years. During the occupation of Olongapo by Japanese Forces, all Masonic work was suspended; even informal gatherings of masons were likewise prohibited.

Olongapo was liberated by the American forces on January 31, 1945 and the U.S. Navy re-occupied its former naval station in Olongapo forming a nucleus of naval support for the U.S. fleet operating in Philippine waters.

On March 4, 1945 while the battle for the Philippines was still raging in central Luzon and the U.S. Army, locked in battle along Zig-Zag Pass with dug-in defenders, a meeting was held at the home of Bro. Marcial dela Cruz. All members of Lincoln Lodge present at the time attended, and it was the first happy meeting of friends and brethren within years. At this meeting, it was agreed that a "get-together party" be held for the members acting as hosts with sojourning American brethren as guests. It was an inspiring occasion to see so many masons from the U.S. Armed Forces. They soon learned of the plight which Lincoln Lodge was undergoing in their efforts to rebuild the shattered remains of what was once a happy lodge. They generously offered to help the brethren reactivate the lodge, and through their efforts, a temporary lodge building beside the present Chapel on the Base was obtained for use in meetings and degree works.

The temporary lodge was granted a dispensation by the acting Most Wor. Grand Master, Michael Goldenberg to reactivate the charter formerly granted to Lincoln Lodge. On May 30, 1045, an election was held and the following were elected and appointed the first post-war set of officers:

Wor. Master............................... Bro. Purisimo Ramos
Senior Warden........................... Bro. S.M. Domingo
Junior Warden............................ Bro. B. del Rosario
Treasurer.................................... Bro. G. M. Cabling
Secretary.................................... Bro. V.E. Abad
Chaplain.....................................Bro. R.S. Mercado
Senior Deacon............................ Bro. D. P. Santiago
Junior Deacon ............................ Bro. M. de la Cruz
Senior Steward............................ Bro. F. O. Adamos
Junior Steward ........................... Bro. F. M. Arcala

The Inspector, Wor. Bro. D.F. Bala having found all the newly elected officers to be duly qualified in their respective offices certified and installed them according to our ancient rules and regulations.

Many American brethren gave their help and assistance to Lincoln Lodge but the lodge owned a deep sense gratitude to three very energetic and outstanding masons: LCDR, Stephenson, Lt. Warner and Lt. Roy T. Elder, the last became the first American post-war Worshipful Master because of his untiring efforts in rebuilding the Lincoln Masonic Lodge. They were the leading spirit behind the formation of the "SUBIC BAY SQUARE AND COMPASS CLUB," which spearheaded the large portion of work on the new lodge, which was located just outside the first Main Gate. The lot was allocated by the first Civil Affair Officer, Lt. Fendler, who was also a member of the Craft.

The lodge served as the Masonic Temple until 1952 when the new lodge was built at the present site. Even this new building received sweat and labor of our American brethren who during their off duty hours dedicated their skills to the completion of the temple without thought of any reward. To them we owe a strong bond of brotherhood which shall withstand the ravages of time and, as long as the building stands, it is monument to brotherly love in the many years to come.

In point of membership, Lincoln Lodge No. 34 used to rank first in the entire Masonic Jurisdiction of the Philippines. Lincoln Lodge has sponsored subsidiary bodies namely: DeMolay, Job's Daughters, Boy Scouts Troop No. 5, besides being instrumental in the establishment in Olongapo City of Rebecca Parish Chapter No. 5 Order of the Eastern Star, and the Western Luzon Bodies Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of the Republic of the Philippines.

The history of Lincoln Lodge No. 34 serves as a testimony to the unwavering principles for which this Lodge stands. Those of us who are now living, pray and hope that the future shall hold forth the same if not better, opportunities for serving our masonic ideals, the community which we live in and the Philippines which gave us a home and a country. We shall never see the day but we are confident that those who shall follow our footsteps will be equipped with same fortitude and courage to meet the challenges of the coming age.

May the GAOTU bless us all!

Reposted from Lincoln Lodge No. 34 website.


FilMasons NSW said...

Bro Ollie,

Read this post a long time ago. While re-reading it again, I must congratulate you for re-posting and revising it here.

Bro Mar

Unknown said...

How wonderful! Domingo Garcia is my great Grandfather and I am so proud that he was Wor. Master!

Unknown said...

Hi Julie Robbins... I was also amazed than he is my Grandfather. I always looked at his portrait in our living room, but never knew that he was once a Wor. Master.

Unknown said...

My Great grand father is Domingo manipis of cavite city..just wish to have a picture of him since he had been
a senior warden of the group during early 1920...

Unknown said...

Hi this is Bro. Jordan Dizon of Lincoln Lodge No. 34 a Past Worshipful Master. May I ask if you have any remaining pictures of WB Domingo Garcia? We would apprrciate anything you can share with lodge pertaining to your great-grandfather. Thanks!I could be reach thru my email All we have is a painted picture of WB Domingo Garcia. Hoping you could share us some of his pictures. Thanks!