Category Archives: Corporate Social

30th Year RCDM Write-up PRM

by Dinah Ventura
(Manila, Philippines)

Rotary Club of Downtown Manila
District 3810

The Legend Lives On

When the members of the Rotary Club of Downtown Manila (RCDM) look back at the last 30 years, they often refer to certain record-setting events, starting with the birth of their club, to the many achievements they have notched with pride in the pages of their colorful history.

Dubbed as “The club with a legend,” RCDM was conceived in the old downtown area of Manila on February 9, 1979. Then and there, with 26 charter members present at the old Grand Hotel in Echague St., Quiapo, Manila, a new club was born — on its very first meeting.

Such a thing was previously unheard of in Rotary, but in the years that followed RCDM proved that its lightning birth was only a sign of things to come.

RCDM is a club that wastes no time putting into action its goals and objectives. This is primarily the influence of then district governor, RIDE Paing Hechanova, who was known for his expeditious leadership style.

Organized in February, the provisional club of RCDM was accepted into the membership of Rotary International just three months later, on May 23, 1979. The following month, on June 11, RCDM received its official charter. On this same date, its original membership of 26 grew to 33.

It was the Rotary Club of University District Manila (RCUDM), one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the district, which spawned RCDM. Then RCUDM president Rosito “Chito” C. Manhit thought it would be a good idea to form another club in their area. At the time, the District Governor Felix “Bing” N. Limcauco, Jr. had called on all clubs to promote membership through club extension. Thus, an Extension Committee was created, with the following RCUDM members: Sonny T. Ventura, DGSR & Chairman; Jesus T. Gesolgon (+), Leon T. Santos Jr., Angel C Sepidoza (+), Jolly L. Ting, Jesus Perez, Ronnie Asuncion, Willie Limqueco and Amang Samson.
Rotarian Sonny Ventura, who was the club secretary of RCUDM when he was appointed by DG Limcauco to be the district governor’s special representative, was elected charter president of the newly-born RCDM. He acknowledges the late PDG Pepot Barredo, who had invited him to join Rotary in the first place, for encouraging the club to undertake the extension of Downtown Manila.

Charter officers and directors of RCDM were:

Juanito “Sonny” T. Ventura — Charter President
Johnny “Johnny” C. Aruego — Vice President and Director, Community Service A
William “Willie” N. Sato — Secretary and Director, International Service
Nemesio “Nemy” G. Co + — Treasurer
Louis “Louie” T. Yang — Director, Club Service
Godofredo “Godo” N. Orosa — Director, Community Service B
Jesus “Jess” R. Rivera — Director, Vocational Service
Zosimo “Susing” U. Angeles — Sergeant-at-Arms
Edmundo “Ed” J.O. Rimando — Auditor
Nemesio “Jun” A. Aranzaso Jr.– Legal Counsel

Taking to heart the fact that Rotary is an action-oriented service organization, RCDM pursued expansion with a zeal that could only translate to positive results. Under its wing has sprouted seven new clubs: R.C. Manila Midtown, R.C. Manila East, R.C. Manila Metro, R.C. Quiapo Manila, R.C. United Nations-Manila, R.C. Lubang Island and R.C. Maynilad Seafront.

Foreign matched clubs from Japan also sprung up through the initiative and dedication of PP Willie Sato. Others soon followed from the United States, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, Pakistan and Korea. Local matched club relationships with clubs located in almost all the 10 districts in the Philippines were also developed.

As for its own membership, RCDM has grown over the decades, continuing to welcome new faces even as its pillars — headed by its “Twin Towers,” past district governors Sonny T. Ventura and Johnny C. Aruego — continue to provide the inspiration to keep the club strong, solid and successful.

The current RCDM Officers and Directors are:

Alejandro Rodriguez, Jr. — President
Lucenio Tagle — Vice President

Pedro Kho — Secretary
Fernando Cheng — Treasurer
Gonzalo Co — RCDM Rotary Foundation
Johnny Cheng — Club Administration
June Dy Ning — Membership
Peter Uy — Public Relations
Arsenio Ong — Service Projects
Willie Yu — Service Projects (International Service)
Henry Kho — Immediate Past President

It has been with tireless dedication that RCDM has gone from one accomplishment to another, forging new roads and trekking well-traveled paths — all leading toward its motto, “Service Above Self.”

Beginning with the leadership of PDG Sonny (who was the first district governor of R.I. District 3810), this Rotary club has enjoyed a series of “firsts” — from the formation of a provisional club in its first meeting, to the establishment of the first RCDM Center in Manila. And in between there have been endless opportunities to make life better in their communities and beyond.

Among others, RCDM pursues health and oral hygiene education through its various projects and activities. Aside from conducting at least three regular free dental missions every year, RCDM also supports three day care centers through milk feeding programs projects: Craig Day Center in Manila spearheaded by PP Arsenio Ong, Chamberette Day Center and Yakap Day Center supervised by PP Peter Kho. Other projects are gift giving to the “Batang Quiapo,” the donation of baseball equipment to the Little League, a tribute to high school valedictorians in Metro Manila every April, book donations to needy public elementary schools for their libraries, dental hygiene seminars and youth exchange programs with D-2820 Japan.

Of note is RCDM’s 100% attendance in the District Conference every year. Bonded by a common cause and camaraderie, the RCDM family makes it a point to celebrate together with their spouses and the club’s Scholars during Christmas, Chinese New Year and the Mooncake Festival. The RCDM members also participate in the District Alay Lakad every year, after which a Mooncake Celebration is held with RCDM Scholars. The Club also conducts out-of-town educational field trips with its Scholars every December.

The RCDM Scholars are the products of the RCDM Charitable Foundation.

The RCDM Charitable Foundation was conceived 16 years after the Club was chartered. It started with RCDM’s hosting of the 1992 D-3810 District Conference, a huge success under the leadership of then District Governor Johnny C. Aruego, DISCON Chairman Nemesio G. Co and RCDM President Gonzalo Co.

From the proceeds of the DISCON, a total of PhP900,000 was set aside as initial fund to realize the Club’s dream of “establishing a foundation that would serve purely humanitarian, benevolent, educational and philanthropic causes.”

On Feb. 18, 1994, the Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The RCDM Charitable Foundation was born, with PP Gonzalo “Along” Co as chairman.

RCDM conducts numerous programs and activities founded by matching grants from The Rotary Foundation with the help of its partner clubs overseas.

The Foundation aims to promote, support and maintain social welfare, civic, charitable and humanitarian projects to help the less privileged in our society. It also establishes scholarships and professional chairs in the colleges and universities of good standing in the Philippines for the advancement of education, agriculture, science and technology. Only the fruits or earnings of the initial fund are spent to meet the Foundation’s expenses in pursuit of its mission.

The Foundation’s leadership changes hands, and this year the new set of officers are PP Along Co, Chairman; PP Willie Yu, Vice Chairman; PP Johnny T. K. Cheng, Treasurer; PP Peter Uy, Auditor; PP Peter O. Kho, Secretary; and PDG Juanito T. Ventura and PDG Johnny Aruego, Trustees.

As the Rotary Club of Downtown Manila celebrates its 30th year of Service Above Self, its members, past and present, will always be guided and inspired by the legend that was born like a whirlwind amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Manila.

RCDM 30th Year Anniversary

by Dinah Ventura
(Manila, Philippines)

Refer to: RCDM President

Double anniversaries for Rotary Club of Downtown Manila

The Rotary of Downtown Manila (RCDM) is all set for the club’s week-long 30th Foundation Anniversary, which is also the 25th anniversary of its Free Dental Mission project, an initiative inked with Japanese Rotarians.
Known as “the Club with a Legend” RCDM of RI District 3810, with its Charter President PDG Sonny Ventura, will observe the double anniversary celebrations from February 18 to 21, 2009. The club has timed its activities to coincide with the arrival of more than 100 foreign matched clubs representatives.
RCDM President Alejandro Rodriguez Jr. said as part of the celebrations, a Free Dental Mission will be held at the Plaza Miranda, as chaired by Past President (PP) June Dy Ning.
Past District Governor (PDG) Johnny Aruego, overall chairman of the anniversary committee, said this is one way of showing how “Service Above Self” is translated into action. The club’s different humanitarians projects and activities will be showcased for all guests, local and foreign.
According to PP Peter Kho, club secretary, there will be blessings of several Rotary Foundation matching grant projects, local tours and a golf tournament chaired by PP Willie Yu.
The club is supported by the RCDM Charitable Foundation, Inc. led by its Chairman and Past President Gonzalo “Along” Co . The Foundation is also behind RCDM club projects.
PP Arsenio Ong stated that since its establishment in1979, RCDM has spawned no less than seven extension clubs: RC Manila Midtown, RC Manila East, RC Manila Metro, RC Quiapo Manila, RC United Nations-Manila, RC Lubang Island and RC Maynilad Seafront.
PP Ben Pineda said RCDM currently has a total of 65 Paul Harris Fellows, three Major Gift Donors and 15 multiple Paul Harris Fellows, with a total contribution of $96,752.08. The club has sponsored 293 scholars. It has been honoring high school valedictorians in Metro Manila for the 27 past years in its annual “Tribute to High School Valedictorians.”
PP Willie Yu disclosed that more than 100 golfers will participate, mostly from international matched clubs of the host, RCDM. These include the RC Itako, RC Yao East, RC Iwakuni West, RC Changi, Hongkong, RC Hongkong Island West, Taiwan RC Taipei Yangming and RC Taichung, North East.
The Japanese Rotarians participating in the celebration with their spouses are coordinating with PP Willie Sato for the upcoming events.

A Gleam of Silver, A Shining Example of Service

by Dinah Ventura
(Manila, Philippines)

For 25 years, the medical-dental missions conducted with Japanese Rotarians have been bringing smiles all over the Philippines and beyond

Every year since 1981-82, a team of Japanese Rotarians arrive in Manila bearing a load of gifts – a variety of medical and dental aids, their time, expertise, commitment and an endless well of generosity.
Theirs is no ordinary mission.
From a goodwill visit by the members of Rotary Club of Itako, Japan, headed by the late PP Takeo Naka, who was a physician by profession, this charitable pursuit has gone beyond duty to heartfelt commitment, conducted at least thrice yearly through a matched club agreement in 1983 between the Rotary Club of Downtown Manila (RCDM) and R.C. Itako (District 2820).
Rotarian Dr. Yo Omori, who had been joining the mission from the beginning, took up the cudgels after Dr. Naka passed away. The dedicated dentist, who later became president of R.C. Itako, has continued to lead the Japanese team year in and year out, quietly yet efficiently touching the lives of poor Filipinos and those who have been fortunate enough to witness their kindness. Unknowingly, PP Omori has, many times over, mended old wounds made during the second world war in this part of the world.
For his work, Dr. Omori has received the Rotary International’s highest recognition award, “Service Above Self,” as well as a Japanese government award for his service and dedication to our countrymen.
This international medical-dental mission, to date, has conducted countless missions to various locations in the Philippines — from Metro Manila to Mindoro, Bulacan, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas, Baguio, Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan and Davao. Together with members of RCDM and some Filipino dentists, the mission also went once to Cambodia and twice to Pakistan. Thousands of indigent patients have received free medical and oral healthcare treatments through these missions.
Its rousing success inspired the members of RCDM to conceptualize and later adopt WCS Project No. WO 4185, the formal registration of which was encouraged by the support of R.I. Districts 2670 and 2820.

Through the dental missions and proper education, the WCS project strives to help improve the general dental health of Filipinos who cannot afford to pay for or are unable to have access to these services. According to statistics, 91.6% of the population has dental caries and 78% has gum disease.
The cause of “bringing smiles” was soon blessed with a Mobile Dental Van, which has been instrumental in the undertaking. During the incumbency of PP Ben Pineda, the initial contribution for the Mobile Dental Van was made through a WCS donation by PDG Masaru Hara of District 2670 during his term as district governor in RY 1999-2000.
The Mobile Dental Van was inaugurated by DG Hideaki Ota of District 2670 and PP Omori on March 7, 2001 in Manila. The custom-made dental vehicle was locally constructed and assembled with the financial assistance of Rotarians.
With this dental van, other Rotary clubs have also been able to conduct their own dental missions, spreading the cause to more beneficiaries all over the Philippines.
Believing that a greater part of dental care is prevention, RCDM members have also taken it upon themselves to organize school visits, lectures and symposia to spread information on proper dental care and hygiene. They form tie-ups with local Rotary clubs, schools, local government units and non-government organizations to facilitate their activities.
Such has been its impact that other Rotary Clubs have joined in the altruistic venture, including clubs from R.I. District 2550 and Districts 3790, 3800, 3820 and 3830, which have made use of the Mobile Dental Van for their dental service projects.
This noble undertaking achieves the sheen of silver this year, gleaming with the bright smiles of Dr. Omori’s team of Japanese volunteers, now coming up to more than 100, and like-minded Filipino brothers.

Runway to street: A fashion show for a cause

(Manila City, Philippines)

Since 2006, members of the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM) — or more popularly known as Ambassadors’ Spouses — have been supporting ChildHope Asia Philippines, a non-profit, nongovernmental organization that aims to educate and protect street children.

This year, the Ambassadors’ Spouses take their cause to a higher level by choosing ChildHope as its sole beneficiary of a fashion benefit in cooperation with Rustan’s.

“The idea for this fashion show and charity gala was born in Denmark, where we all gathered together to think of a way of raising money,” related Finland’s Eleonora de Strobel-Hannikainen at the recent press gathering at Diamond Hotel. At the time, they were able to work with a boutique, and the event was a tremendous success that they thought they could do the same here. The Finland Ambassador’s wife expressed their gratitude for Rustan’s huge support for their cause, as well as their excitement for the upcoming event.

The fashion show is set on Tuesday, May 24, where the Ambassadors’ Spouses will model Rustan’s’ “Cruise Collection” at the Diamond Hotel. Some 19 spouses plus one ambassador will model two outfits each. Labels will include Sinequanone, Façonnable, Tadashi Shoji and Laundry.

According to the Ambassadors’ Spouses present in the launch, “All funds that will be raised from this gala event will be given to ChildHope in order to help them continue promote their cause, as well as for them to continue making a difference in the lives of more children. With the generous support of Diamond Hotel and together with Belvedere and Charriol Parfum, guests will be entertained as they see the spouses of different ambassadors’ showcase and walk down the runway.”

“We have been supporting ChildHope for five years now. One of the ways in which we do so is collecting coins through the different embassies. This is an opportunity to support them in a greater way than we have in the past,” noted New Zealand’s Sue Cotton.

Also present at the press briefing were Italy’s Silvana Novelli Fornari, Switzerland’s Gracita Tolentino and Venezuela’s Silvia Gonzalez Perez.

The ladies said they chose ChildHope for this venture because they want to help street children with no opportunities to “change their lives.”

Representing ChildHope Asia Philippines were Rhea Villaruba and Maribel Flores, who said the Philippines currently, has at least 250,000 street kids, with some 40,000 to 50,000 in Metro Manila alone. “We are able to reach 1,200 street kids every year. ChildHope is one of the pioneers in terms of providing street education program in the country. We cover 20 areas all over Metro Manila and we currently have 31 street educators, who go by pairs from Tuesday to Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m. in those areas,” they said.

Founded in 1986, ChildHope Asia Philippines advocates the welfare of street children. Members of this foundation work together to liberate street children from the suffering they experience from living in the streets. Some of the ChildHope’s programs include counseling, alternative basic education, mobile health clinic, financial education program, vocational training, skills development, development of leadership and organizational capabilities and more.
Participating in the fashion show, aside from the ladies mentioned above, are: Argentina’s Marta Otero, Australia’s Leanne Brueckner, Austria’s Yan Donko, Canada’s Cathy Thornley, Chile’s Paulina Mayorga, Cuba’s Maite Perez, EU Delegation’s Margaret Ledoux, Greece’s Kostas Kanavariotis, India’s Indira Kumar, Indonesia’s Caecilia Legowo, Iraq’s Nadia Mati, Israel’s Limor Vapni, Norway’s Audhild Solem and Russia’s Elena Kudasheva — making it a truly “global effort” for the sake of our street children.

Tickets will be sold at P2, 000 per head. For inquiries, please contact Leif-Erik Hannikainen at 813-3739 or 09166961739. To know more about ChildHope Asia Philippines, you may contact them at 563-4647 or at