A layman’s tour of the Scottish Rite Temple on Taft Avenue, Manila.
My husband Sam became a Freemason late in December of 2006. It is by this association that I finally entered that building on Taft Avenue that I had seen often enough as a child. The Scottish Rite Temple is a stone’s throw away from my paternal grandmother’s dress shop at the corner of Nakpil and Taft, a mere arm’s breadth from the Philippine Women’s University. In the numerous times that I had passed it, whether looking out of of the window of my aunt’s old Ford Taunus or with my head turned east while I held my older cousin Binggay’s hand while walking to the Goldilocks outlet on the west side of Taft, I had always thought the SRT was a church of some sort.
I have been inside the SRT only twice. Once was in January of 2007, to witness the installation of officers of the Jacques deMolay Lodge No. 305. The second time was last Saturday, the 19th of January 2008, also for the installation of officers of JDML 305, to which Sam was the newly installed Lodge Secretary. I brought a camera during the first visit, but I only took pictures of the ceremony, and not of the features of the building itself. On this second visit, I took more liberties with my camera. Let me take you on a slow walk through the interiors of the Scottish Rite Temple.
Marker on the right wall outside the ground floor entrance.
The SRT caretakers swear that some tortured souls still inhabit the building.
The ground floor lobby.
Marker facing the lobby entrance.
Other than Emilio Aguinaldo, only two other Philippine Presidents were Freemasons, Manuel L. Quezon and Manuel A. Roxas.
Waiting area on the upstairs lobby outside the Conrado Benitez Hall.
Petitioners, otherwise known as those who wish to enter the fraternity,
would wait with patience here during stated meetings.
The upstairs lobby.
On the walls are portraits of Past Sovereign Grand Commanders
of the Supreme Council of the 33rd and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Philippines.
Scottish Rite Degree Aprons.
The portrait above the aprons display is of Justice Jainal Rasul.
Stairway leading to where
the Douglas McArthur Chapter of the Order of deMolay meet.
Sam by the doorway of the Conrado Benitez Hall.
“My hope is in God”
Inside the Conrado Benitez Hall.
I suppose the male exclusiveness of Freemasonry should make my feminist hackles rise, but it is easily overcome by my fascination for ceremony and ritual. And there is the undeniable fact that a majority of our National Heroes are Freemasons: Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, Rizal, del Pilar, Mabini to name a few. Add to that the wartime history of the Scottish Rite Temple and the influence of Freemasonry on the history and politics of this country, and I can easily believe how Freemasonry can truly build its temples in the hearts of men and among nations.