Picture this, an iconic Sarao Jeepney is hurtling up the Hume Highway. It stops frequently as the passengers roadside flag the driver as it moves along the long stretch of the highway.
These passengers come from various socio-economic backgrounds; but they are bound by the desire to provide support to one another, to their own families and to their community.
This vehicle seems to be out of place on the Australian road, as there is already a designated transport system in Australia that can transport the same passengers towards the same destination.
At a glance, adding a jeepney may not make sense, as it is made for a different road condition and demographic. But what’s significant is that it adds value by taking the passengers through a journey of growth and self-discovery. It is as if two governing bodies in different countries, such as the Land Transportation Office of the Philippines (LTO) and VicRoads, harmoniously combined the work of two jurisdictions to create a new synergy that will mark history.
The vehicle that I am referring to is Freemasonry; the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Freemasons Victoria, Keith Murray describes Freemasonry as the original “Self-Development Movement” for men.
Freemasonry has its roots dating back centuries and upholds the tenets of Faith, Charity and Brotherly Love.
Simply put, Freemasonry is a unique system of morality, explained through allegory and symbols. As much as it is about developing the individual, Freemasonry was instrumental in the fight for the sovereignty of the Philippines. It was the foresight and passion to be independent that fuelled great men like Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Mariano Ponce, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, General Antonio Luna, and other Freemasons to sacrifice for the greater good.
The consecration of Plaridel Lodge No. 1893 on 18th September 2019 is a world first – a Victorian lodge permitted to work the Ritual of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. The event consisted of the consecration of the lodge on 18 September, followed by the installation dinner on 21 September.
The name “Plaridel” was the pen name of Filipino Bro. Marcelo Hilario Del Pilar, who is recognised as the “Father of Philippine Freemasonry”. The number of the lodge, 1893, was the year Bro. Del Pilar organised the first National Organisation of Masons in the Philippines.
The 70 petitioners of Plaridel Lodge became its foundation members at its consecration. Many of these men, who already belong to other lodges in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, and the Philippines, travelled to Melbourne to be part of the historical event.
In recognition of their tireless contribution and determined effort to establish the unique Lodge, The Grand Master of Victoria, Bro. Keith Murray and the Grand Master of the Philippines, Bro Agapito Suan Jr, became the first honorary and associate members of Plaridel Lodge 1893, and they were both presented with their own, one-of-a-kind Plaridel Masonic Apron.
Setting up a new lodge requires patience, planning, intestinal fortitude and a lot of open communication. The First Master of Plaridel Lodge, Bro. Greg Todio, and the Philippine Honorary Consul to Victoria, Bro Felix Pintado, worked diligently and collaboratively with other passionate and dedicated Freemasons, to take the initial single step that made Plaridel Lodge 1893 possible, and so the journey of ‘a thousand miles’ has commenced.
Plaridel Lodge 1893 welcomes Filipino and non-Filipino Masons, as well as any man interested in Freemasonry, to join in this wonderful journey of self-discovery and growth. Sakay na!
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