FMV and GLP cement relationship by working hand in hand
By Dave Lacson Angeles
Australia and the Philippines enjoy a mature relationship, founded on reciprocity and a mutual desire for learning and cooperation. It encompasses a spectrum of engagements and that, together, has fostered a partnership of equals.
It is this context that encouraged the catalyst to reignite a rather dormant bond between the two nations – the bond of brotherhood forged in Freemasonry.
In mid-2014, a handful of Masons from Freemasons Victoria (FMV) and a group of interested Freemasons from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines (GLP) began numerous conversations that planted the seeds of encouragement. This was followed by an informal visit by the Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Victoria (a member of FMV) to the GLP head office in Manila in January 2015.
It was at a fraternal meeting during that visit, that the group rekindled their bond in Masonry, and agreed to work towards ensuring that at least some Freemasons from Melbourne would visit Tagaytay to attend the Annual Communication and Grand Installation of the new Grand Master of the Philippines (AnCom) in April 2016.
What followed was a coordinated mobilisation of interested brethren from FMV who seized the momentous occasion to enable the first, coordinated visit by FMV to the Annual Communication and Grand Installation of the GLP in the GLP’s 100th anniversary year and the 70th anniversary year of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Fast forward to April 2017 – in a world dominated by women in terms of the human male to female ratio, it was heartening to see a flock of men – garbed in suits and aprons, some even bemedalled – in one place. Especially so when one is able to essay the events as they happen and notice the show of respect, love and compassion for one another in a brotherly way.
During the Installation and Investiture ceremony of Grand Lodge officers of the GLP held at the Taal Vista Hotel situated in scenic Tagaytay in April 2017, part of the Annual Communication or AnCom 2017, Freemasons Victoria (FMV) again had the privilege to grace such a momentous event. Leading the Victorian delegation were Don Reynolds and Keith Murray, FMV Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master, respectively.
Reynolds sees a deeper sense in the opportunity to meet with fellow Grand Masters and members of the oldest fraternity in the world – Freemasons – believing that the primary purpose of participating in such a huge event is to “cement the good relationship between FMV and GLP”.
As second timers in a country known for its friendly and hospitable people, Reynolds and Murray couldn’t be any more satisfied with their recent visit.
Looking back, the bonds of friendship between Freemasons Victoria and the Grand Lodge of the Philippines continued to develop as the number of Filipino members within FMV increased over the years.
Last year, FMV and GLP conducted reciprocal visits with respective delegates meeting to discuss plans to enhance Freemasonry in the region. Imbued with the Masonic ideals of working together for the good of the community as brothers and members of the same human race, they shared each other’s knowledge-base of activities that could enrich multicultural aspects of their lodges. More so, working hand in hand for good causes gives expression to the ideals of Freemasonry, and realises the essence of becoming a better man through service to others.
Although they only had the opportunity to see a few places in the Philippines during AnCom 2017, Reynolds’ and Murray’s experiences have helped them appreciate the life, culture and people of the country. Their stay included a brief visit to a local orphanage in Tagaytay to witness firsthand an area of need in the community and to offer some relief to the less fortunate.
Filipino Masons in Victoria share similar sentiments. The various festivities that surround the Filipino culture in Victoria are examples of how the two countries reach out to each other at a communal level. The positive interaction, welcoming, fellowship and genuine gesture from families contribute in sealing that friendship even more.
“Isn’t it evidenced in my smile how Filipino people have been showing us warmth and affection here?”, Murray says matter-of-factly while brimming with a wide smile.
The fondest memories both men share, as well as the common objectives of coming together, will serve as encouragement to their fellow FMV members to participate in future events such as AnCom 2018, or in other activities that FMV and GLP will share in the future to achieve common goals – to personify Freemasonry and be the best person through the best way possible way – thinking, acting and speaking the Mason’s way and serving rather than being served.
Being the true Freemason that he is and deserving of the position of FMV Grand Master, Reynolds enthuses that the principles and tenets of the organisation allow him to become a better person – helping his brethren, his family and his community – to which he hopes others will aspire and emulate.