Mabuhay Shriners Philippines is an Order in the Fraternity of Freemasons numbering 2,094 members from 16 Shrine clubs throughout Luzon & Visayas islands. For this year, the temple is gearing towards supporting each philanthropic commitment to help the “Burned & Crippled Children” throughout its jurisdiction and increase its membership by conducting four (4) ceremonials in different parts of the country.
Mabuhay! MA•BU•HAY | MUHBU-HAI
Mabuhay is a Filipino greeting which is also literally the imperative form of “live” from the root word buhay (life). Both a compliment and a greeting, the term “Mabuhay” is a fitting tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Filipino noble.
Mabuhay Shriners Philippines
Under the jurisdiction of Shriners International
A CENTURY-OLD QUEST
Every journey starts with a dream. For Filipino Shriners, the journey to a Temple of their own was a protracted quest for a century-old dream.
The Mabuhay Shriners Philippines was granted its charter three years ago on July 7, 2010. This came almost a century after the first ceremonial was held in the country by the Nile Temple through the Bamboo Shrine Oasis in 1914. And while it ranks as the 193rd Temple or Shrine Center, it sets a historic precedent by being the first in the Philip- pines and in Asia, and the first outside the Americas and the European continent.
After three years of existence, the Mabuhay Shriners Philippines has already distinguished itself with the honor of being enshrined in the Gold Membership Hall of Fame of the Shriners International for garnering more than a thousand members during its first two years of existence. It has also been cited for sponsoring another temple in the Philippines, the Agila Shriners which has been designated the 195th Temple. From hereon, the Philippine flag stands proudly shoulder to shoulder with other national colors flying in all the shrine centers in the world.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The quest for a Filipino temple dates back to American colonial times. American Shriners, mostly members of the US Armed Forces belonging to different temples, formed the Bamboo Oasis in Manila in 1902 and thus introduced to the Philippines the Shrine as an organized body. The Filipino brethren’s desire for a Temple of their own was as strong as their nationalist aspiration for independence. However, for most of the first and second decades of the 1900s, American nobles dominated the scene. Three Shrine temples alternately serviced their needs. They were the Nile, Afifi and Islam temples which made pilgrimages to the Philippines between 1914 to 1958 interrupted briefly by the First World War. In the 1930s, a group of Filipino and American nobles led by MW Manuel L. Quezon applied for the formation of a Filipino temple. This move was unfortunately overtaken by World War II.
In 1970, the Aloha Temple was granted permission to operate in the Visayas and Mindanao. In Luzon, Shriners belonging to different oasis formed the Philippine Shrine Association (PSA). On the other hand, nobles of various oases in the Visayas organized themselves into the Filipinas Shrine Club (FSC). Meanwhile the desire to form a Filipino Temple continued to grow and a concerted move towards this end gathered steam.
Subsequently, in the early 1990s Filipino Shriners sent a delegation to the Imperial Session in Tampa, Florida. But the number of signatures the delegation sub- mitted was insufficient. And so the expedition failed. Still the Filipino nobles remained undaunted. In 1999, the Aloha Temple was granted authority over Shriners in the Philippines and the whole of the Pacific Rim.
UNITING FOR ANOTHER TRY
Another attempt was made to obtain a charter for a Filipino Temple in 2007. The move was initiated by Noble Chuck Demorse. Once again, after signatures have been obtained, an application was submitted. But while this time the number of signatures was sufficient, some did not have the necessary certifications and were therefore invalidated. So the move flopped.
About this time, many oases in Luzon organized themselves into chapters and placed themselves under the Philippine National Shrine Club (PNSC). Another group of oases formed themselves into the Luzon Shrine Club (LSC). Shortly thereafter, leaders of both Shrine Clubs held a series of meetings to plan and formulate a common strategy for the achievement of the near century-old aspiration for a Filipino Temple. In line with this, the two clubs decided to merge into the United Shriners Group. On December 19, 2008, leaders of both clubs under the guidance of MW Pacifico Aniag and Noble Crispulo M. Fernandez formally inked a memorandum of agreement formalizing the merger. The United Shriners Group was co-chaired by Noble Rafael J. Roxas and Noble Enrique Y. Co.
Wasting no time, the United Shriners Group launched a massive signature campaign. It held a ceremonial to bring in more nobles and succeeded in obtaining more than five hundred signatures. Learning from past mistakes, the United Shriners Group with the help of MW Peter Lim Lo Suy had the signatures certified by the Grand Lodge. These signatures together with all required documents were promptly submitted in May 2009 to the Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. In June the following month, the United Shriners Group received the historic “Call” acknowledging receipt of its application and calendaring it for formal deliberation during the Imperial Session. Responding to this historic “call”, the United Shriners Group sent a delegation of nobles to San Antonio, Texas, USA to attend the Imperial Session. The delegates were Nobles Ace Espejo, Jose Rosales and Michael Setzer. The trio convincingly presented the Filipino nobles’ aspiration before the Imperial Session. Consequently, on July 8, 2009, the United Shriners Group received its dispensation.
THE SHRINE ARISES
At long last, Filipino nobles were able to elect their charter Divan. Elected were Most Worshipful and Illustrious Pablo Ko as Potentate; Most Worshipful Hermogenes Ebdane, Chief Rabban; Most Worshipful Peter Lim Lo Suy, Assistant Rabban; Noble Rafael J. Roxas, High Priest and Prophet; Noble Enrique Y. Co, Oriental Guide; Noble Ace Espejo, Recorder; and Noble Emmanuel Sanico, Treasurer. The charter Divan set out to work immediately on a myriad of activities all year long. A number of ceremonials were hosted thereby increasing the membership to over a thousand nobles. A substantial donation was obtained and office space was assigned by Most Worshipful Avelino Razon at the new building inside the Grand Lodge complex.
On July 7, 2010, the unrelenting Filipino nobles finally realized their century-old quest with the granting of the charter to the Mabuhay Shriners Philippines as the 193rd Shrine Center.
For now, the Mabuhay Shriners Philippines does not yet own or operate a hospital of its own. However, it did the next best thing. It adopted the National Orthopedic Hospital – School for Crippled Children in Quezon City as the beneficiary of its charitable endowments. It donated wheelchairs and computers to the school. It also partially subsidizes the school’s maintenance and operation by donating modest amounts of cash.
Having journeyed long, it now dreams big. Indeed, Mabuhay Shriners International of the Philippines will live on and prosper into posterity as it carries on its shoulders burned and crippled children in its jurisdiction.