Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr. (December 9, 1934 – December 20, 1987), a Filipino spiritual leader who founded the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Incorporated (PBMA, INC.) in 1965.
He was born from a poor family in the Island of Cabilan, Dinagat, Surigao del Norte, in Northern Mindanao. At the age of 8 he started his mission as a transient healer-missioner assuming different personalities and travelled all over Mindanao Islands and in some parts of the Visayas Region. He learned Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Aramaic languages, from whence, he abled to interpret the ancient mysteries and read the Akashic Records and taught a different and unique doctrine of Christianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Akasha combinations.
On the early parts of 60’s he organized his first group of followers and called it the “First Thirteen” resembling the Twelve Apostles who have received Jesus‘s teachings and instructions. He eventually became known by the title “Divine Master” which is equivalent to “Grand Master” or “Worshipful Master” of the order of Freemasonry. In 1965, he organized and established his association, the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Incorporated and registered it with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He was once featured in the WHO Magazine (26-09-81) as “The South’s Mysterious Superstar.” Barangay San Jose of the Municipality of Dinagat, which was the home base of PBMA, Inc. was acclaimed as “Most Outstanding Barangay of the Philippines” by the eliteRotary Club of Makati in 1980. Then, he was elected as mayor of the Municipality of Dinagat and holds the record for serving the longest term for a mayor. He was chosen as the “Most Outstanding Mayor” of the Philippines in 1985.
Ruben E. Ecleo Sr. holds the record for serving the longest term as local executive in Dinagat for 24 years, from 1963 until his death on December 20, 1987. Days after his demise, PBMA’s leadership was bequeathed to his eldest son, Ruben B. Ecleo Jr. who was then a musician and a recording artist, who became the mayor of San Jose from 1991 to 1994, after its conversion from a barangay into a municipality in 1989. A mausoleum called the “Divine Master's Shrine” at the top of a hill in Barangay Aurelio, San Jose, Dinagat Islands was built by the PBMA members in honor of the elder Ecleo. This shrine symbolizes his lasting legacies.
Considered by his followers as a seemingly "Christ-like" figure, Ruben Ecleo Sr. and his group PBMA has an estimated membership of 3.5 million in 2002, but real statistics could be significantly lower.
RUBEN EDERA ECLEO, SR. lived life to the fullest. He is the embodiment of authenticity, integrity and compassion. To everyone who knew and loved him, his legacy will remain forever.
He was declared as “THE LOCAL HERO OF THE PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS” Per Provincial Ordinance No. BBE – 03 s. 2013
Ruben E. Ecleo Sr. was once called "The South’s Mysterious Superstar" by the WHO Magazine in (September 26 Issue) 1981, for being a charismatic leader, the undefeated mayor of Dinagat and the architect of Barangay San Jose in the municipality of Dinagat for making it as the “Most Outstanding Barangay of the Philippines” in 1980; a recognition given by the elite Rotary Club of Makati. San Jose was then home of his association, the PBMA. He was chosen as the “Most Outstanding Mayor of the Philippines” in 1985. The south mentioned here is Mindanao, being one of the three big groups of islands in the Philippine Archipelago. Mindanao is being tagged as the land of promised by some local writers and historians. This land is blessed with abundance of natural reasources, fertile soil, mineral reserves and the best climate in the world yet a dangerous place for many. It evokes contrasting images of bounty and want, of war and peace, of rapid development amid the increasing impoverishment of its people.