Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 - Is it spring yet?

On March 2, I was saddened by the passing away of VWB Boy Panlilio, a good friend and Brother Freemason. He lost his battle with cancer. VWB Boy was a co-worker of mine at Purefoods Corporation in Manila, Philippines. We worked together on a number of projects. He was on the sales side and I was on the warehousing & distribution side. We traveled together to his sales region a number of times. We regularly socialized after work. We became friends even before I became a Freemason. He was a very good man and Freemason. He will be missed but never forgotten. VWB Boy, it was Happy to Meet. It was Sorry to Part. It will be Happy to Meet Again. May you rest in peace, my friend and Brother.

From March 5 to 9, I was in Tampa, FL, to attend the Oriental Guide (OG) Seminar put on by Shriners International. Since I skipped being OG, the Potentate had me attend the said Seminar as he and other Officers and Nobles deemed it will be beneficial to me and the Temple to do so. On Wednesday, I joined a tour of Shriners International Headquarters. They had some new items on display.
It was great to meet a few old friends and make new ones while there. There was a lot to learn and a lot more to do in preparation for higher positions on the Divan. It was, as I expected, an excellent Seminar.

On March 14, Thursday, Queen Winnipeg Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star (OES) honored the Grand Conductress, Sister Carole McElheran, and Grand Sentinel, Brother Chibu Uson, who are both Chapter Members. Thanks to the Chapter Officers & Members for their continuing support to Sister Carole McElheran and me as we serve as Grand Chapter Officers.

On March 17, Monday, the Royal Ark Mariner Degree was conferred on Companion Ken Cox at Lake Winnipeg Lodge No 4, Royal Ark Mariners of Western Canada. We had the usual dinner prior to the Meeting. We then held the Installation of the 2014 Officers of Cyrus Council No 2, Cryptic Rite of Western Canada. It was a wonderful evening of ritual of fellowship.

On March 20, Thursday, the Manitoba Sovereign Consistory, Valley of Winnipeg, Scottish Rite, communicated the 19° to 29° and portrayed the 30°. It was the first Meeting of the Consistory for this Scottish Rite Year 2013-2014. The Illustrious Commander-in-Chief, Illustrious Brother Al Hadley, 33°, did an excellent job presiding over the Meeting.

In the afternoon of March 22, Saturday, we attended the 100th Birthday celebration of Sister Daisy Tooth, a Member of Queen Winnipeg Chapter No 1, OES. Her family, friends and OES Sisters & Brothers were there to celebrate her being 100 years old. It was a lovely afternoon with warm fellowship.

In the evening of March 22, Saturday, Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 held its Ladies Night at The Players Course Clubhouse. The Grand Master, MWB Doug Webster, and his Lady Valerie joined us in honoring the Ladies. We had the usual entertainment (from singers), line dances and desserts. Everyone had a wonderful time.

On March 23, Sunday, Sphinx Temple No 116, Daughters of the Nile, held its Open Installation of Officers for 2014. Barb Queen was installed as Queen. The room was full, the ritual was great and the food was quite tasty.

On March 26, another exemplary Freemason, WB Nathan Fenton of Winnipeg River Lodge No 154, was called to the Grand Lodge Above. He will be missed but never forgotten. WB Nathan, it was Happy to Meet. Sorry to Part. Happy to Meet Again.

On March 27, Thursday, Queen Winnipeg Chapter, OES, held its Regular Meeting. It was a typical Chapter Meeting with great ritual and warm fellowship.

In the mid-day of March 28, Imperial Sir Jeff Sowder, Imperial First Ceremonial Master, came to Winnipeg for the Kickoff Meeting of the Pace Program, a Membership Initiative of Shriners International. The Kickoff Meeting started in mid-afternoon of the 28th, Friday. We had representatives from various groups within Khartum, e.g., Divan, Membership Committee, Ladies, Public Relations, Units & Clubs. We even had Thunder Bay join the General Session via videoconference. That evening, we had the first Mini-Ceremonial (aka Cold Sands) for 2014, after which we had a Meet & Greet. Congratulations to new Noble Israel Messan Kowuno, Noble John Hill and Noble Joe Tan. Welcome to Khartum and to the Shrine.

Imperial Sir Jeff is one of, if not, the best salesman for Freemasonry and Shrinedom, I have ever met. He was very insightful and able to identify Membership opportunities and tap these using some of the Membership tools. He will send us a list of his recommendations when he gets back home to Toronto, Kansas.

In the morning of March 29, Saturday, we held the General and Wrap-Up Sessions of the Pace Program Kickoff Meetings.

After that, most of the Divan and participants proceeded to the Manitoba Masonic Temple (MMT) for a funeral service for MWB Dave Love, who passed away on March 9, Sunday, after a massive heart attack. I had the honor and pleasure of serving as the Senior Grand Warden when MWB Dave was the Grand Master in Masonic Year 2009/2010. He touched many, many lives, including mine and my family's. He was a wonderful man, friend and Brother. He will be missed but will never be forgotten. MWB Dave, it was Happy to Meet. It is Sorry to Part. It will be Happy to Meet Again.

Later, in the evening of March 29, Saturday, we attended a Thanksgiving Dinner for the recent safe travels of Mr Nante Vergara and his family. There was a lot of food and very warm fellowship. From there, a number of us went to Logan Corner Restaurant for congee to celebrate Sis Aries' birthday (March 30).

When I got up on March 30, Sunday, I learned of the passing away of RWB Wally Roth. We will include him and Lady Christine in our thoughts and prayers. RWB Wally was very active in a number of Masonic Bodies, including the York Rite, Shriners and OES. He will be missed but never forgotten. RWB Wally,  it was Happy to Meet. It is Sorry to Part. It will be Happy to Meet Again.

In the afternoon, I attended the practice of the Installation of Queen Winnipeg Chapter No 1, OES. The Open Installation is on April 10, Thursday, at 8 PM, at the Manitoba Eastern Star Chalet, on 525 Cathcart Street. The practice went very well. It was a long week and a very busy weekend.

My family then went to one of our favorite Pho restaurants for a wonderful dinner.

On March 31, I attended the Regular Meeting of the Past Masters Club of Khartum Shriners. The food at Canad Inns Windsor Park was very tasty. I had two (2) servings of chicken noodle soup because I had colds (hopefully, not the flu). I felt a lot better after having the soup. After dinner, we held the Meeting, which went on very well. I was "railroaded" into becoming the 1st VP, replacing the late RWB Wally Roth. Congratulations to RWB Rico Villarin who was elected to replace me as the 2nd VP.

March is thus ended but we still have a lot of snow and the temperatures are still lower than normal. But today, I saw Canadian geese flying around our office. Spring is here and summer will be upon us soon.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Later in February, 2014

On February 18, Tuesday, Illustrious Sir Rick Holberg, Potentate/CEO of Khartum Shriners presided over this year's Divan's first Meeting. The 2013 financial statements were discussed and later presented at the Executive Meeting with the Past Potentates. The 2014 budget was also discussed and adjustments were made for Membership expenses.

On Feb 19, Wednesday, I joined my first Oriental Band practice after I agreed to play the Derbakki, a beautiful Lebanese drum. However, when I play with them at the parades or circus, I will most probably be in clown makeup and costume.
On February 20, Thursday, a funeral service was held for VWB Roy Chu, who was the Worshipful Master of my Mother Lodge, Capitol City Lodge (CCL) No 174, MW Grand Lodge of the Philippines. VWB Roy was here in Winnipeg in June 2011 with other CCL Brethren for my Installation as Grand Master of Manitoba. At that time, he and his wife lived in New Jersey. Sometime thereafter, he and his wife moved back to the Philippines to be closer to their children and grandchildren. He was recently installed as the Secretary for MY 2014. I just received my 2014 Dues Card and receipt which he mailed. VWB Roy is the 2nd from the right in the picture taken in June 2011.

His siblings (one of who is Bro Marlo Chu from Montreal, QC) and he were together on vacation in one of the islands in the Philippines in early February. I am not sure if that was when he had his fatal heart attack.
It was a shock to hear of his passing away. He was an exemplary Freemason and I am fortunate to have known him and be one of those whose lives he touched. He will be missed but never forgotten.
VWB Roy, it was Happy to Meet. Sorry to Part. And it will be Happy to Meet Again.

On February 22, Saturday, we attended the 7th birthday party of Filarey Angcaya, the lovely daughter of Bro Jayson & Sis Grace Angcaya. It was a wonderful party and celebration. The 7th birthday is one which has a big celebration in the Philippines.

Later that afternoon, we attended the Potluck Dinnerof Queen Winnipeg Chapter No 1, Order of the Eastern Star (OES) at the Manitoba Eastern Star Chalet. The food was great and the fellowship was very warm. I successfully defended my title as the eggplant and grapefruit race champion.

On February 24, Monday, I presided over my first Assembly as the Venerable Master of  Council No 172, Allied Masonic Degrees. It was the Official Visit of Rt Ven Bro Richard Hobbs, the District Deputy Grand Master of District 3 of the Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada. He drove in from Assiniboia, SK, to be with us that very cold evening. However, the reception for him and the fellowship after the Assembly was very warm. We had very tasty pizza prepared by the Junior Warden, Bro Mason Jardine.

Khartum Shriners held a Stated Meeting on February 27, Thursday, the first one presided by Illustirous Sir Rick Holberg, Potentate/CEO. Before the meeting, we had a dinner of sloppy joes, coleslaw salad and dessert. The Nobles generally liked the new meeting format but based on some of the feedback, we will make some adjustments to the arrangements. The 2013 financial statements were presented and the 2014 budget was proposed and approved. At the Meeting, we presented Certificates of Membership to the new Nobles. L to R: Noble Bert Manalang, Captain of the Guard; Noble Rico Villarin; Noble Alan Gomez; Illustrious Sir Rick Holberg, Potentate; Noble Kelvin Carrothers; Noble Efren Ramirez; Noble Lito Culanag; and Noble Chibu Uson, High Priest & Prophet.

On February 28, Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 held its Meeting. It was the Official Visit of the Grand Master, MWB Doug Webster, to the Lodge that evening. We also had Lodges of the 1st Masonic District, along with their District Deputy Grand Master, RWB Tim McIsaac, who was our Special Guest. Our new FC, Bro Richard Belmonte, impressed everyone in the Lodge with his proficiency in the FC Degree. We then conferred the MM Degree on Bro Richard. Congratulations, Bro Richard, on your Raising to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. We all look forward to Bro Richard's serving the Lodge and his active participation in the various activities of our Lodge.

This ends the report on February. However, there does not seem to be any end to this winter. : (