HISTORY of our lodge

                     When brother masons assembled even in the least conducive environment, the result indeed most often exceeds anyone's most sanguine expectations because masons have had the habit by no means to be discouraged to first invoke the blessings of the Great Architect of the Universe before ever entering upon any great or important undertaking. It was on a summer night of 1958 when masons in the persons of Bros. Mariano C. Ramirez, Gavino Montillo, Benito Samonte, Bienvenido Burgos, Fidel del Rosario, Florencio Bunye and Captain Lukban of the General Shipping Company, informally assembled in a kiosk at Dunkel St., later renamed as Liboro St., now Felix Manalo St. San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and lo, a beautiful piece of industrial and mental accomplishment emerged - a concept of a Masonic Lodge in this jurisdiction.

                    Their desire to make a petition to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines for dispensation was as burning as the thirst of the fever-stricken. During exchanges of view on how to materialize this concept, they were as thrilled as a debutante at her first ball. Convinced that they were one in purpose, they finally agreed to recall and rehearse the rituals which were after all well rooted in the garden of their Masonic memory.

                    Their plan, however, almost vanished like a snow falling in the river, when it suffered a set-back, due to the transfer of Bros. Burgos, a PC Major and Lukban, a ship captain to other official stations. This was made even worse by the subsequent travel of Bro. Fidel del Rosario to Australia.

                    But like a spring whose waters cannot fail, the remaining brothers were not shaken and continued to be equipped with the same amount of energy but this time more intense and appeared strong as well founded as the law of, gravitation, their goal, to go around the sun until light is cast on their place of darkness. In the early part of 1959, the remaining brothers and some replacements in the persons of young and newly raised brothers (Manuel C. Garcia, Bienvenido Samonte and Crisostomo Clarito) and an elderly brother Ricardo Nostratis, revived the concept and invigorated the plan.

                    Bro. Ricardo Nostratis, a rice mill owner and palay trader, cleared the upper deck of his bodega located at Capt. Cooper St. San Jose, Occ. Mindoro near the market site and there the brethren conducted their practice of the rituals, under the guidance of Bro. Clarito whose proficiency was beyond question. Though the rusty old timers and neophytes began to shine and learn as easily as a spider mends its rneb, it rnas indeed a work too hard for the teeth of time. A petition for dispensation was prepared and submitted to the Grand Lodge. The signatories were as follow:
                                       1. Bro. Ricardo Nostratis
                                        2. Bro. Lorenzo T alatala
                                        3. Bro. Honofre Restor
                                        4. Bro. Paulino Ganda
                                        5. Bro. Fidel del Rosario
                                        6. Bro. Geronimo Malaluan
                                        7. Bro. Bienvenido Samonte
                                        8. Bro. Benito Samonte
                                        9. Bro. Mariano Ramirez
                                       10. Bro. Gavino Montillo
                                       11. Bro. Domingo Hornilla
                                       12.Bro. Buhay Medina
                                       13. Bro. Manuel Garcia
                                       14. Bro. Artemio Tiangco

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                    When the date of inspection was scheduled, misfortune came. A conflagration broke in the early morning of April 1959, and the warehouse intended to be used as lodge hall and the rice mill of Bro. Nostratis burned and were nzed to the ground. Whenthe fire stopped and the smoke faded, nothing left of the wareouse and all that remained was the echo of disappointed souls of brother masons, who took every beat of nature in silence like a thousand silent years. However, our brother masons could not be shaken. They remained stubbornly clinging to their desire with all the tenacity they could rnuster. They labored with the utmost intelligence and energy in pursuing their dream. The brethren salvaged some of the burned GI sheets and temporarily built a building for the lodge on the same site. And by the gentle stroke of hand of destiny, their efforts were eventually crowned with blessings upon the coming of replacements in the persons of Bros. Lorenzo Talatala, Honofre Restor, Paulino Ganda, Domingo Hornilla and Artemio Tiangco, and the return from Australian trip of Bro. Fidel del Rosario.

                    Not swerved from their unchanging goal by a hair's breadth, the brethren seemed extraordinarily provided with a fountain of boundless energy to bluster into orbit the capsule of desire for a Masonic Lodge in the person of Bro. Talatala. Like his family name "Tala" "Tald'translated into "Star" "Star", he served as the guiding star that showed the path to the birth of MINDORO LODGE NO. 157 in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Under the patient guidance of Bro. Talatala, the brethren zealously trained themselves on the various aspects of the ritualistic work. On certain weekends the brothers met to share the benefits of their experience among themselves

                    On October 21, 1959, a dispensation was granted to Mindoro Lodge No. 157. The officers named in the dispensation were: Bro. Ricardo Nostratis - Worshipful Master, Bro. Benito Samonte - Senior Warden and Bro. Lorenzc Talatala * Junior Warden. On June 11, 1960, Mindoro Lodge No. 157 was formally constituted by a team of Grand Lodge dignitaries led by MW Macario N. Ofilada, then Grand Master, in an appropriate cerernonies held publicly at the reconstructed rice mill bodega of WB  Nostratis with the following officers installed: the three (3) lights unchanged, Honofre Restor - Secretary and Mariano Ramirez - Treasurer. MW Macario N. Ofilada signed and granted the Charter denominating Mindoro Lodge as No. 157. Among the first to be initiated were Bros. Ireneo Condes, Felix Flores, Mariano Jondonero, Toribio Cajiuat and Catalino Torre.

                    The need for fixed quarters was a problem that beset Mindoro Lodge No. 157 from the very moment of her inception. During the time it was under dispensation, the struggling lodge was temporarily housed in the rice mill bodega of WB Nostratis which was unfortunately burned. From there, the lodge in her vain efforts to find herself a temporary home moved from one place to another in a virtual odyssey. With the benevolent gesture of WB Flaviano Ramirez alat at the heart of the commercial center of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro locate at Lopez Jaena St. was donated.

                    On December, 1967 under the determined leadership of WM Manuel Garcia, a building was constructed for the lodge. Bro. Jose Pendon was the foreman during the construction. Donations were solicited from among the brethren in the form of cash and materials. WB Pablo dela Rosa, WB Virgilio C. Cruz and Bro. Li Chiao Kaw took the generous role of being financiers. The building eventually saw its completion and thereafter meetings were held in the new temple. A number of brethren were initiated, passed and raised in that lodge. In April 1983, the building frontage was remodeled and behold on that ground the present lodge stands to continue to shed light unto the world.

                    On April 15, 1985 thru the untiring effort of WB Florencio Ramirez and WB Albert Balayan, the Order of DeMolay Mindoro Chapter was organized as an appendant body of Mindoro Lodge No. 157 and in December 1985, under the initiative of WB Wendell S. Dy, then Junior Warden, devised a scheme of asking pledges from among the brethren for the lodge renovation due to the increasing number of the craft. And the dream came true. While the building was under renovation under the supervision of WB Aurelio Peflaflor, Jr., lodge stated meetings were temporarily held at the 3'o floor of Samonte building located near the market site for almost six (6) months.

                    In December 1987 , the blessings of this modest edifice and the installation of the lodge officers were held. Rev. Fr. Gregorio Buenavista, SVD officiated the blessing and likewise said the invocation during the installation. Dignitaries from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines led by RW Raymundo N. Beltran, then Grand Senior Warden, presided over the rites as installing officers. WV Geminiano Noche, DDGM District No. 28 gave the charge to the Master, WV John Choa, DDGM District No. 1-A was invited as guest speaker and WB Virgilio C. Cruz, PM as master of ceremonies. All the brethren, sisters, DeMolays came to witness this memorable event and even the lost brethren paid a visit to extend their felicitations to Mindoro Lodge No. 157

                    On May 21, 1988, almost twenty eight (2S) years after the inception, Mindoro Lodge No. 157 F.&A.M hosted the 15th Annual District Convention for Masonic District No. 28.

                    The continuous maintenance, renovation and beautification of the lodge temple started in the year 2006 during the term of WB Leodegario B. Ramos as Worshipful Master with full cooperation of all brethren and with special participation of Sister Marcelina A. Guinto  being with the construction business as over seer in all works done.

                    The shared vision of the brethren led by Past District Deputy Grand Master, VIV Nolasco E. Talucod to establish more lodges in the province of Occidental Mindoro came to materialized when 30 brethren all coming from Mindoro Lodge No. 157 filed dispensation to form a lodge in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Said lodge was instituted on September 1, 20A6 and, was finally given its chartered by the Grand Lodge of the Philippines on June 21, 2008 now known in this jurisdiction as Generoso D. Madrigal, Sr. Memorial Lodge No. 368.

                    Through the untiring effort of the brethren led by its incumbent Worshipful Master, WB Ruben G. Guinto, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls was organized on June 6, 2009 as another appendant body of Mindoro Lodge No. 157.

                    Generations of  exemplary masons who made a positive difference in society came into this lodge bringing unto different significant contributions into the community. Preeminent for his social attainment is WV Antonio Q. Guinto, PDGL who has been a recipient of appreciation from DENR-CENRO of San Jose for continuous participation in the "Tree for Legacy  Reforestation Pragram" having planted Mahogany and Gmelina trees in their 65 hectares property located in Brgy. Mapaya and commendation and appreciation from the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose for donating to the Provincial Government a 1.5 hectares lot at Brgy. Bagong Sikat for establishment of a 75-bed capacity secondary hospital which aimed to optimized health care facilities in the province.

                    At present Masonry works actively in Mindoro Lodge No. 157 San Jose, Occidental Mindoro incessantly building temples in the hearts of men.

Author : W Aurelio Pefraflor
Revised in Style : Bro. Ferdinsnd B. Mercene
Updcted : IlW Rey ArnoldM. Psstores, PDGL
(Nov. 24, 2009)

Mindoro Lodge #157 Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines
Flaviano Ramirez Memorial Lodge, Lopez Jena Street , San Jose, Occidental Mindoro