Inaugural Address of Worshipful Master Jose Eugenio B. Illenberger

64631_1408155149437076_752471577_nVW Antonio A. Tuason, Past District Deputy Grand Master and the Charter Master of my lodge, our Guest of Honor and Speaker; VW Eleuterio S.Logronio III, District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District NCR-E; VW Nicolas Manipon, District Grand Lecturer; WI Ramon Gutierrez, our Grand Lodge Inspector; Dignitaries on the Floor, VW Sirs, W Sirs, Brethren from this and foreign jurisdictions, Family and Friends of Masons, a pleasant Good Evening!

On behalf of Frank Reed Horton Memorial Lodge No. 379, I would like to thank you all for sharing your time with us tonight to witness the 7th Public Installation of the Elected and Appointed Officers of this Lodge for the ensuing Masonic Year 2014.

My profound gratitude also goes to our excellent Installing team led by VW AMERHASSAN G. LUCMAN, PDDGM of Masonic District R-1 and CAR-B, PJGL, ably assisted by VW AMER G. LUCMAN, Jr., PDDGM of Masonic District NCR-D & VW FAHAD AL-RASHID S. LUCMAN, PDGL as Master of Ceremonies and Assistant Master of Ceremonies, respectively. Thank you very much VW Sirs! I must also thank Brother Rpsol Galgana for delivering the tribute to the flag, WB Doods Hulipas our official photographer and Kuya Alan Bontuyan, our eternal musical director. Thank you very much Sirs!

Pinanganak po ako sa isang pamilya na tunog banyaga, apelidong aleman. I grew up in a household with a family history romanticized by relatives gifted with the art of storytelling and thus i am uncertain which parts of those stories were true and which of those are family myths. What i do know is that with the family coat of arms always figuring prominently in our living room and my dad telling me tales about Richard the Lionhearted, Roland, the Teutonic Knights, the tragedy of Knights Templar and others, i grew up a young man enamored by knighthood of old…and so while other boys my age wanted to grow up to be president or astronauts, I always knew I wanted to be a KNIGHT when I grew up.

Fast forward to the 1990s when i was a student at the University of the Philippines…In college freshmen year, a province mate of mine recruited me to join the UP Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. I had the choice of joining older and at that time more prominent fraternities on campus but APO has something that the others do not, it has a Coat of Arms…and in my young mind then, i thought this brings me one step closer to my childhood dream of joining an order of knighthood. And so I joined by own freewill to the detriment of my elder sisters all from UP who had their own opinions which was the top dog in UP greek life each one of them hoping me to join. The 1990s was a hardtime to be a fratman, several UP Students died due to fraternity violence but it was not all that bad because being greek gaved me the opportunity to meet and start to court the most beautiful UP student at that time, my sis in APO, who is now your Ateng.

To my wife Rosell, my BFF and my one and only, please be upstanding… Behold my brethren, my worshipful master!

Napakabait po na asawa at napakamaalagaing ina…at higit sa lahat, napakamaunawain, a trait all shared by the Atengs of Horton lodge. I cannot, my brethren, imagine my life without her.

Brother Marshall, you will retire and kindly deliver those bouquet of flowers to Ateng Rosell and my daughters.

Thank you Kuya.

As you can see apat po ang aming anak, dalawang magandang babae at kambal na lalake na syempre mga pogi rin katulad ng tatay. The smaller one is Arista and the the one with glasses is my eldest Sofia Elise. The boys who are of course the source of our sleepless nights are Tyler and Dean!

Ngayong naipakilala ko na po ang pinakamahalagang mga tao sa buhay ko, let me proceed.

It was during that time with my college fraternity that I learned about Freemasonry. I learned that most if not all respected alumni brods that I look up to were members of the Craft. I also later learned that the fraternity founder, an american named Frank Reed Horton was himself a mason. The organizer in the Philippines, an educator and scouting executive by the name of Librado Ureta was also a mason. Even our chapter organizers at the UP, Eliseo Clamor and Guillermo Lazaro Sr. are freemasons…I dared to ask why are so many of my fraternity brods members of the masonic organization?? It was a big question mark then to me as it is to many collegiate residents of APO I am sure today. In the mind and culture of collegiate fratmen: fratman ka na, mag ma-MASON ka pa? Bakit?

My curiosity aroused my interest about masonry. The masonic connection to the knights templars was very enticing as well. I started reading about the craft and learned that it was very far different from my definition of what a frat was and the more i learned the more i wanted to become one of these distinguished apron wearing gentlemen.

As a fresh grad, I remember inquiring with my uncle VW Asiong Illenberger, a past master of Labong Lodge #59 about freemasonry… ang daming magandang kwento tungkol sa atin ang kanyang binahagi but I later learned there are financial obligations too… so i put it off.

Pero ang pagmamason po pala ay parang pagpapari, isa siang calling… kirot sa puso.

And so, after close to 10 years i felt i was ready. This time i approached brods i knew were masons, to ask how i can become a Mason myself…one of them, the late VW Ed Paredes referred me to VW Antonio Tuason, our guest of honor and speaker tonight and the rest as they say is history.

And lest I be misunderstood my brethren alam ko po magkaiba ang college fraternity at ang Masonerya but that is how I got here, my own personal journey. A journey which is probably echoed by most brethren who have knocked on both doors.

Mason na po ako ngayon, and I still couldn’t believe that I am now even…incredibly..the WM! Like the other two Frankies who led and came before me, I also asked myself what right do I have to lead a lodge of elder and wiser men by the likes of VW Ike Arribas, VW Tonette Tuason, VW Tony Zeta, VW Waidah Lucman and many other VWs that comprise this lodge? Like the two others that came before me, I feel elated and at the same time humbled by this task of leading this lodge that immortalizes a great mason; and I could still remember asking my predecessors…why me?

At talaga naman pong napakasarap ng sagot nila.

They said, “it’s because of your hard work and diligence but most especially your dedication to the Craft, that the brethren have entrusted you to lead this lodge, our lodge.

“Di ko lang po alam kung totoo ang sinasabi nila o binibilog lang nila ang makintab kong ulo.” Be that as it may, pangangatawanan ko na po ito.

Sabi nga ni spiderman: “With great power comes even greater responsibility” and so aside from the usual lodge operations and betterment, my programs for the year are…divided into 3 parts, wherein we will find a part for leadership, a part for friendship and a part for our usual service.. and so…my theme for my year in the East is:

“Just Leadership,
True Friendship,
and Responsive Service”

As masons, we all know that as to matters of membership, we practice a rule of minority. In matters of election, we practice rule of democracy, and in matters of governance the Worshipful Master enjoys the powers of a great dictator.

Let me assure all of you, my brethren, that during my stay in the East, I will not practice the iron fist of a dictator. All my decisions will be carefully based on our laws and consultations with all of you. I only ask that you extend me your understanding when I rule differently from your views. Be assured that I will hear you first before I decide.

I also want to focus on “Friendship”…true friendship…not the kind that smiles on its face but stabs on its back. I believe that if we cannot help a brother or a friend in need, whether it be financially, emotionally or in his reform, We should at least give him the proper respect or a whisper of good counsel and in no case hurt him by our slandering tongues. Let us be a true brother to a brother and a true friend to a friend. Bring to my attention any erring brother, and I will speak to him..but never ever commit slander against him.

I also plan to strengthen our bond by conducting family outings where our atengs and children could fraternise and become friends. So much has been said about masonic fellowships but this year during my term I plan to involve our families and develop programs which will help gel the members of this lodge deeper with support of family. i believe that if we are to grow old together as brethren of this lodge, our families should grow with us too …After all, sino sino pa ba ang unang magdadamayan kungdi tayo tayo….Strong family ties…Strong lodge…

A take off from Dr. Seuss’ Horton hears a who, a famous children’s book which was even made into a hollywood movie, our unofficial lodge motto has always been: Horton hears a woe. Indeed Horton Lodge always responds whenever it hears a Woe. This year, we will be back helping our adopted students at the Minalin Elementary School in a perennially flooded part of Pampangga and other sectors of our community in need of our assistance..the rural poor, the elderlies and the orphans..

And realizing that not all of us in masonry are wealthy, we will also focus in helping our distressed lodgemates better. I plan to increase the monetary assistance given by the lodge to a brother in distress to meet the need of times rather than a measly token of help. I need your inputs and cooperation on this my brethren.

Let us scout for communities that need our help..and we will mightily try to give them what they need to the full extent our cabletow will allow.

In closing, let me just say “all flowers bloom in their own time.” That time, brethren, has come for this beautiful “fleur de lis”. it has been almost a decade since the constitution of this lodge and much has been accomplished since then and being continued to be accomplished by the brethren raised in this lodge with the help of our affiliate, dual and charter members. Slowly but surely the “buds” of our collective hardwork are now in bloom.

Tinuruan nyo po kami ng tamang mga alintuntunin sa masoneriya at panahon na pong kami ay …mamulaklak. Sana po ay tulungan nyo kaming dumami para lalo namin pang pagyamanin, pagyabonging at lalong pagandahin ang inyong nasimulan na.

I am sure the frankies, the brethren raised by this lodge is more than up to the task. and with your help, this lodge will realize greater potentials. who knows…even a repeat of MOST OUTSTANDING LODGE? Sabi nga, reach for the stars…let us set our standards high and we will never be disappointed even if hindi man natin marating ang rurok dahil we would have achieved so much already for just trying.

On this masonic year, with your help and support and the freedom to pursue it, we will show you Leadership that is Just, True Friendship and Service that is ever responsive to our own members and to our community.

Again, thank you brethren for your trust. These are big shoes to fill, I hope not to fail you as I lead. Let us travel together in this ancient world of modern knights..practicing the tenets of this knighthood of old.

Mabuhay po ang masonerya. Mabuhay po tayong lahat.

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