The brethren of Model Lodge No. 373 joined Masonic District RIII-D in the commemoration of the Philippines’s 112th year of independence in simple rites led held at the grounds of the Cabanatuan City Hall. As flowers were offered, speeches made, and gun salutes fired under the shadow of the patriot Bro. Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s monument, Model Lodge remember those brother Masons who fought for freedom and earned for the province of Nueva Ecija the pride and honor of being among the 8 rays of the sun in the Philippine flag:
Bro. Gen. Mariano Llanera who started the War for Independence against Spain in Nueva Ecija by attacking the Spanish garrison in Cabiao on 02 September 1896 which is now celebrated as “The First Cry of Nueva Ecija”, and who is honored by the brethren in Nueva Ecija with the establishment of the General Llanera Memorial Lodge No. 168 in Gapan City.
Bro. Gen. Manuel Tinio, the Philippines’ youngest general ever, who led Bro. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s “Tinio Brigade” in liberating the Ilocos provinces from the Spanish colonists and honored by the brethren with the establishment of the Gen. Manuel Tinio Memorial Lodge No. 167 in Guimba.
The brethren of Penaranda’s Masonic Triangle No. 80 namely Bros. Pablo Padilla, Mamerto Natividad Sr., Pantaleon Valmonte, Domingo Cecilio, Marcos Ventus, Epifanio Ramos, Cipriano Sarile, and Teodorico Lagonera who bravely fought for independence and yet remained anonymous in the history books.
Bro. Apolinario Mabini is also honored in the province with the establishment of the Apolinario Mabini No. 237 in Cuyapo --- the town where he was captured by the Americans on 11 December 1899 during the Filipino-American War. Meanwhile in Cabanatuan City, a rundown historical marker is the solemn reminder of where Bro. Gen. Antonio Luna died.
After the Independence Day rites, the Model Lodge contingent led by its Master Bro. Manolo M. Mercado visited Talavera Lodge No. 273 and later Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73 to start its Lodge Visitation program which aims to promote affinity and cooperation with other Lodges in Nueva Ecija.
Incidentally, the Lodges visited had their parts permanently woven in the tapestry of Model Lodge’s history being the wombs which nurtured its birth. Bro. Felicisimo Joson, Jr. who was supposed to be the Charter Master of the Lodge until his untimely demise belong to Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73 along with Bro. Prudencio J. Elegado who became Model Lodge’s Charter Master, Bro. Monico G. Elegado who is considered as “The Grand Old Man” of Model Lodge, Bros. Perfecto S. Parinas, Jimmy C. Obejas, Hermenegildo C. Gines, and Eugenio Ramirez who are all founding members of Model Lodge. Except for Brother Eugenio, all brothers mentioned served as Master of Nueva Ecija Lodge No. 73.
Talavera Lodge No. 273 meanwhile gave the endorsements which enabled Model Lodge to be instituted and finally constituted as a regular Lodge. Bro. Antonino Z. Manabat authored the first endorsement in 2005 and Bro. Arnel M. Landingin the second endorsement in 2007. Brother Arnel along with Bros. Emil Andrew M. dela Rosa II, Lamberto Miranda, Arthuro Ilagan, Narciso B. Cuison, and Jun S. Capulong became founding members of Model Lodge while Brother Antonino later petitioned for dual membership. Except for Brothers Narciso and Jun, all brothers mentioned served as Masters of Talavera Lodge No. 273.
Fittingly enough, Model Lodge’s visitation program commenced on an Independence Day and to those who it considers are its Mother Lodges.
FOOTNOTE: The historical data cited in this article was taken from an article authored by Bro. Jose Ariel G. Domingo titled “Nueva Ecija Revisited” and previously published in a Cabletow special edition and in The Craftsman’s September 2008 issue. Brother Jose Ariel is a 2-time Master of the Apolinario B. Yap Memorial Lodge No. 328, a past District Grand Lecturer of Masonic District RIII-G, and one of Model Lodge No. 373’s founding members.