Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27, F. & A. M., as it is known today, was formerly Bagumbayan Manila Lodge No. 27 under the Gran Orient Español. According to the reminiscences of elder brethren in and out of the folds of the present lodge, the organization of Bagumbayan Manila Lodge No. 27 was made possible by members belonging to Walana, Araw and other lodges.
On August 13, 1914, it was chartered by the Regional Grand Lodge of the Philippines No. 2 under the jurisdiction of the Gran Oriente Español with Bros. Jose Elchico, Primitivo Cruz, Patricio Mariano Cruz, Gonzalo Torrente, Francisco A. De Asis, Ruperto del Castillo, Amando Solionko, P. Medina, Tomas Lorenzo, Aurelio Rusca, Manuel de Leon and two others which records could not bear.
It was not until 1917 that Bagumbayan Manila Lodge No. 27 together with 26 other lodges formerly under the Gran Oriente Español applied for dispensation to the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. It was given dispensation to form a lodge on November 11, 1916. Its charter was granted on February 13, 1917 by MW William Taylor during the 5th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. In the afternoon of the following day (February 14) it was duly constituted, hence the “rebirth” of Bagumbayan Manila Lodge No. 27. There were three Entered Apprentices and twenty nine Master Masons in the roster including those of the original chartered members. The first officers of the Lodge were:
Worshipful Master - Jose Elchico
Senior Warden - Francisco A. De Asis
Junior Warden - Patricio M. Cruz
In the early months of 1921, Bagumbayan Manila No. 27 expelled all its members who assisted in the organization of Bagumbayan Lodge 352, a clandestine lodge. And to further distinguish it from that of Bagumbayan Lodge No. 4, the members decided to change the name of the lodge. Among the names submitted for considerations were “BATONG BUHAY”, “MABINI” and “SUMILANG”. BATONG BUHAY was selected by the members and its author, Bro. Pascual de Leon, eloquently explained the meaning and significance of BATONG BUHAY , and why he chose the said name., allegorically referring to the “granite stones” hewn, squared, marked and numbered in the quarries which were used in the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Thus, BATONG BUHAY came into existence.
The first meetings of the lodge were being held at the Temple of Solomon, a beautiful big wooden building along Bilbao St., Tondo, Manila.
After more than three years of inactivity due to the Japanese occupation and after due dispensation had been secured to recognize the lodge, the members of Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27 met for the first time at the Grand Lodge Hall located at the corner of Arlegui and Gunao Streets, Quiapo, Manila and elected its officers. Elected Worshipful Master was WB Eduardo Tankiang. The first candidate who was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason after the war was Bro. Felix R. Gabat on August 20, 1945.
On December 7, 1968, under the stewardship of WB Felix R. Gabat, the maiden issue of the newsletter “The Livingstone” was published to bridge the gap between the lodge and its absentee members with the end view of improving attendance. The last edition was published on October 30, 1970. In July 1994, the lodge revived the publication of its newsletter which serves as a convenient print medium by which the brethren especially those who cannot attend our meetings are duly informed of the activities of the lodge and other significant events in our district.
From the late 60s up to early 80s, Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27 was in moribund state. It encountered difficulty in mustering a quorum for its stated meetings and collecting dues from its members. Its accumulated accounts payable with the Grand Lodge reached five digit proportion. This became the immediate concern of the Grand Lodge and fearing that the lodge will lose its charter, a group of pilots/Master Masons belonging to the so called “357 Club” was persuaded to affiliate with Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27. The 357 Club founded in 1983 is an organization of Master Masons from different lodges mostly composed of airline personnel working with Philippine Airlines. Its purpose was to promote camaraderie and fellowship among its members. Among those who affiliated were VW Tito F. Garcia, WB Evaristo A. Leviste, WB Tolentino C. Arguelles, Bro. Ernesto Q. Llamas and Bro. Jose P. Apacible. As a consequence, the lodge was rejuvenated and retained its charter.
However, in the late 80s, the lodge again found it difficult to get enough members together during meetings mainly because its members found it difficult to meet at Plaridel Masonic Temple.
In 1991, under the leadership of VW Ricardo T. Misa, the brethren decided to move the meeting venue to Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz Masonic Temple located at Dao St., San Antonio Village, Makati. The interest and enthusiasm of the brethren was reignited and the period of Masonic inactivity was happily broken. During the same year, the lodge gained eight (8) dual members while three (3) were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Attendance during the stated and special meetings improved immensely. Fund raising by way of the printing of a Souvenir Program during the lodge’s 75th Charter Anniversary was undertaken to improve financial condition of the lodge. At the same time the account with the Grand Lodge was fully paid.
In 1992 with WB Ben T. Maturan at the helm, the By-Laws of the lodge were revised to conform with the changing times. It was approved by MW Agustin V. Mateo on September 11, 1992.
The following year, with WB Lauro F. Garcia occupying the Master’s chair the lodge decided to officially transfer to District 9-B. It was approved by MW Rizal D. Aportadera thru Edict No. 167 on April 7, 1994 whereby Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27 was excluded from Masonic District 1-B and placed under the jurisdiction of Masonic District No. 9-B.
Batong Buhay Lodge No. 27 presently has 75 members coming from various professions in Engineering, Airline Pilots, Armed Forces, Medicine, Government Service, Law Enforcement, Business and Law.
Batong Buhay denotes a live stone. The lodge is now strong and active.
Harmony is at an all time high.