THE FIRST FILIPINO LODGE IN NORTH AMERICA est. 1978
THE PHIL-CAN LODGE STORY
By RWB Joel M. Mendigorin, PDDGM
& RWB Alberto G. Tan, PDDGM

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Several Filipino freemasons in good standing resided in the Greater Montreal Area in the late 1978’s. Among them were: W.Bro. Emilio Asistores, PM, Biak-Na-Bato Lodge #7, W.Bro. Joel Mendigorin, PM, High Twelve Lodge #82, Bros. Jaime Hernandez, Victor V. Aquino and Jose Azores of Malinaw Lodge #25. At one of their social gatherings, Bro. Hernandez broached the idea of forming an association of Filipino Masons in Montreal. W.Bro. Asistores went a step further by suggesting that a regular Masonic Lodge should be formed instead. After a serious debate, the Brethren opted to form a regular Lodge.

W.Bro. Asistores made initial inquiries at the Grand Lodge of Quebec as to the requirements of forming a Lodge under its jurisdiction. He was informed that, (a) seven or regularly made Master Masons are required to sign a petition; (b) they must all produce certificates of good standing from their respective Lodges; (c) a sponsoring Lodge in the Montreal District; (d) and the ritual of the Grand Lodge of Quebec shall be used.

The Brethren were all in good standing in their respective Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines and were likewise familiar with the Scottish Rite ritual. The only problem was a sponsoring Lodge in Montreal. W.Bros. Asistores, Mendigorin, and Bro.Hernandez presented their case to Transportation Lodge #103, who after careful deliberation, agreed to sponsor a new Lodge. W.Bro. James Harris, WM of Transportation #103, Bro. Ronald Lawson of Rosemere Lodge #123, and Bro. Lawford George Campbell of Harmony Lodge #131 joined the Filipino Brethren in their petition. A little later, W.Bro. Higinio Castronuevo of Union Lodge #70, G.L.P. joined the petitioners. The petition and sponsorship documents were forwarded to R.W.Bro. S.W. Tulk, D.D.G.M. for Montreal District #5 for further action. On November 19, 1977, the petition was submitted to the Grand Lodge of Quebec for consideration.

At it’s Annual Communications in 1978, the Grand Lodge of Quebec approved the petition and on November 4, 1978, at a solemn institution ceremony, Phil-Can Lodge U.D. was born and its officers installed – W.Bro. E. Asistores, Worshipful Master; W.Bro. Joel Mendigorin, Senior Warden, and Bro. Jaime Hernandez, Junior Warden.

Phil-Can Lodge U.D. was under dispensation for two years. On November 14, 1980, it received its Charter and became Phil-Can Lodge #137 and was included among the Lodges under Montreal District #5. The same set of officers was retained.

In a recent Grand Lodge of Quebec reorganization, Districts #3 and #5 were amalgamated and became District #3. At present, Phil-Can Lodge’s membership is 44. Of this number, several Brethren have already attained Grand Lodge rank:

MWB Maurice Kershaw (Honorary), Past Grand Master.
MWB John E. Leide (Honorary), Past Grand Master, Past Grand Secretary.
VWB James Harris, Past Grand Steward.
RWB Joel M. Mendigorin, Past District Deputy Grand Master, Montreal #5.
RWB Victor V. Aquino, Past District Deputy Grand Master, Montreal #5.
RWB Alberto G. Tan, Past Chairman: Finance Committee; Past Chairman: Board of Trustees; Past District Deputy Grand Master, Montreal #3 Masonic Year 2003 and 2004.
VWB George Campbell, Past Grand Steward.
VWB William McMeekin (Honorary), Past Grand Steward.
RWB Dave Durand (Affiliate), Past District Deputy Grand Master, Montreal #3.
RWB Donald Neilson (Affiliate), Past District Deputy Grand Master, Montreal #2.
RWB Noel Mendigorin, Past Member: Board of Trustees; Past District Deputy Grand Master Masonic Year 2009, Montreal #3; Past Grand Senior Deacon.
VWB Amado Liwag, Past Grand Steward
VWB Floresto Rillo, Past Grand Steward
VWB Armand Ramirez, Grand Steward

Under the leadership of R.W.Bro. Noel Mendigorin, the incumbent Worshipful Master, Phil-Can Lodge is alive again. There is a new sense of purpose, a re-awakening. The Lodge had been busy lately conferring degrees to its petitioners. It is expected that membership will surpass 50 by the end of Masonic Year 2013-2014.

“More men in Freemasonry. More Freemasonry in men”.