PMAAI, A Brief History
By W.'. Carlito R. Gallardo
To serve as channel into the participation of Filipino Masons in America and Filipino American Masons in American Masonry, to help facilitate the formation of lodges with predominantly Filipino membership, and to unite Masons of Philippine ancestry in America was the foundation of which the Philippine Masonic Association of America, Inc. was founded, 21 years ago.
It was the vision and leadership of RW Manuel Obligacion that spearheaded the formation of this association. With a number of brothers from Park Lodge in the Grand Jurisdiction of New York sharing the hopes and dreams of RW Obligacion for the future of Filipino Masonry in America, PMAAI was born.
From the very beginning, PMAAI aspired to unite the Filipino Masons in North America. Starting in New York in 1978 with New York as its only chapter, it steadily spread to the whole of United States over the course of twenty years. From the one chapter in 1978 to 15 in 1998, PMAAI is on a growth swing as Filipino Masonry slowly but surely makes its mark in American masonry in Grand Jurisdictions across this great country.
One of its early successes was the spearheading of the formation of a lodge whose members are predominantly of Filipino decent. In May 1984, Jose Rizal Lodge, 1172 was consecrated with its members coming from the ranks of Philippine Masonic Association of America, Inc. Its first Worshipful Master was RW Manuel Obligacion.
Several Filipino masons from other parts of the United States had the same vision of uniting Filipino Masons in America. Thus during the late seventies, several other organizations were formed. Filipino Masonic organizations were also formed in the city of Chicago and the Tidewater Area of Virginia. Still others were formed in Washington, DC, and Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1984, exploratory talks were initiated to unify the several Filipino Masonic organizations under a national umbrella. Meetings were held in cities along the East Coast of the United States where Filipino Masonic Organizations exist for this purpose. A historic signing of the intent to unify under the banner of Philippine Masonic Association of America, Inc. was signed in Washington DC during the year.
And on Labor Day weekend 1984, the First national Convention of the PMAAI was held in the Big Apple under the leadership of the first National President, RW Ricardo Talusan. So started the tradition of PMAAI Labor Day weekend conventions.
In the succeeding years, chapters from Chicago, IL, Jacksonville, FL, Houston TX, Great Lakes, IL, Jersey City, NJ, Seattle, Washington, Sacramento & Los Angeles in California and Memphis, TN among others have united with PMAAI.
The vision of some twenty years ago is surely being attained with each passing year. A second predominantly Filipino lodge was formed in Houston Texas through the efforts of the members of PAMAT.
The vision of unity of Filipino Masons in America is a reality. The association's achievements in making its founding visions a reality will ensure the stability and success in the coming years plus the continued influx of new member chapters to infuse new ideas will surely contribute to the mix that makes the association what it is now.