By Netnet Camomot
Rotary Club of Kalayaan CDO
THERE I was last July 17, taking my oath as the president of the Rotary Club (RC) of Kalayaan Cagayan de Oro during its 17th induction of officers and turnover ceremonies at the Bayanihan, Pearlmont Hotel.
I could sit back now, relax, and savor the moment—hey, the 17th induction was on the 17th of the 7th month of the year! So, does that make me the 17th president? Hmmm, long story there. The eureka moment, however, arrived late. It was only after the induction that I noticed it’s the 17th on the 17th on the 7th. Talk of delayed reaction for a date that allowed both Rotary International District (RID) 3870’s District Governor Leo Ochia and Past District Governor (PDG) Bing Juarez to be there as inducting officer and as guest speaker, respectively.
Each president does have his/her own goals despite the reluctant acceptance. Mine is to stick to the 17th theme since there must be a reason why someone up there made that 17th induction happen on the 17th. So, I began by aiming for the Club to have a total contribution of $17,000 for The Rotary Foundation. But when I suggested this to our Club’s Rotary Foundation committee chair, he said, “Net, pang-district goal na ang $17K!”
My other goal is to never take no for an answer. PDG Bing was the induction’s guest speaker because, as I said in my acceptance speech, there is no other. Her name immediately came to mind when I learned last January that I would be president. She was the governor’s special representative when plans began in 1998 for RC CDO East Urban to form a new club, and she chose the name Kalayaan since 1998 was the Philippine independence’s centennial year. And I was her Governor’s Monthly Letter editor during her term as district governor of RID 3870 in 2009-2010. Plus, I met her way back in the late ’80s through her sis, our RC Kalayaan Charter Pres. Linda Deleste, who was then my co-Bai Lawanen Jaycee.
PDG Bing’s speeches always inspire. For the induction, she focused on the new Rotary theme “Be a gift to the world” under RI Pres. Ravi Ravindran, and here are some lines that have stayed with me: “We need to be happy givers. We must have faith and believe, that in spite all the challenges, the little good things that we do for our fellowmen, will change the world for the better. To borrow a phrase from US President Barack Obama, ‘a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles.’”
Hmmm. The only thing I’ve been thinking of since January when I learned about this presidency is my valedictory address. Yes, the speech that the outgoing president delivers in the induction. So, please help me become a happy giver. The charging officer for the induction of new members was PDG Rhia Rita Abalos, and for the officers was Immediate PDG Manny Along.
Other Rotary dignitaries who were at the induction were PDG Tess Navales, PDG Jimmy Semana, Lady Biema Along, Assistant Governor (AG) Boleen Faburada, AG Dan Briones, AG Weng Buot, RC West CDO Pres. Ann Medes, RC Metro CDO Pres. Lanie Dador, RC CDO Centerpoint Junax Ortigoza, RC CDO East Urban Pres. Conchitina Lagonera, the chair of the Zone 1 Council of Presidents, and Mindanao Gold Star Daily Pres. Bebotte Chu who was then RC CDO East Urban’s president when RC Kalayaan was chartered.
The induction made history as the first time for District Governor Nominee (DGN) Linda Deleste to introduce her sister Bing as guest speaker. Instead of droning on and on about the usual biodata, she chose to share some things only a sister would know, such as this: Bing reads books; Linda would rather play “Candy Crush.”
Past AG (PAG) Noel Sadava’s welcome remarks quoted the song “At Seventeen”: “I learned the truth at seventeen.” Yes, staying true to the 17th theme. In Gigi’s closing remarks, I think she said that my favorite line now is “to hit the ground running,” thus, “be ready with your running shoes.” Our co-Kalayaan Rotarian Ramil Caballero a.k.a. Jack Fryday of Magic 89.3 was the emcee.
And then, there’s the surprise number, with the guests mostly providing the pleasant surprises. Here was another history in the making: PDG Rhia said it was her first time to dance in a Rotary induction. Well, thanks to my kakulitan, we made it happen. PDG Bing also danced and I learned about it only after seeing the induction’s photos. I don’t know if that was another history in the making unless I was afflicted with selective amnesia and had forgotten the past inductions where she also danced. Singing was in the air care of Gigi Go who sang “Love Is In the Air” as part of our production number which also included RC CDO Rotarian Danny Camat as the guest emcee. Guest Bong Morta also sang several songs. All of these happened while I was backstage waiting for my turn in the production number, or onstage trying to remember the choreography.
By the way, the production number was a repeat performance of the Club’s fellowship role for the district conference last May. Conceptualized by PAG Bong Buot, it featured eight kinds of ballroom dances with Zamir Balacy, Maurice Daroy and Chrisly Casero as the choreographers. Charie Mae dela Pena, Kim Daguman’s children Niles and Elaine Roan, Niles’ girlfriend Elreyna Cale, Imy Baja’s brother Irwil, as well as Capitol University Medical City’s Dariza Pineda, Merimy Amora and Matet Huizo also danced with us.
PAG Gigi invited the Miss Cagayan de Oro 2015 candidates who all looked more statuesque in their towering stilettos, while there I was, hardly able to initiate a reconciliation between my aging feet and the two-inch heels they were squeezed into. Representatives from the Club’s adopted school Malasag Elementary School headed by Nancy Labininay and from the Sped department of West City Central School led by Joanna Ruby Lago-Presente, which are the beneficiaries of the Club’s weekly feeding programs and other service projects, were also there.
A club’s success is dependent not only on the president but the rest of its officers and the members. We’re lucky to have these hard-working officers who I hope will always say yes to all the challenges of Rotary Year 2015-2016: Grace Kwan, vice president; Emma Tan, president-elect; Kim Daguman, secretary; Joy Tabor, assistant secretary; DGN/Charter Pres. Linda Deleste, treasurer; AG Nennen Aberilla, assistant treasurer; Bong Paalam, sergeant at arms; PAG Malene Camat, P.R.O.; Paolo Acenas, auditor; Doy Ramiro, immediate past president; PAG Noel Sadava, club administration chair; Mafel Gatchalian, membership chair; Ramil Caballero, public relations chair; PAG Bong Buot, Rotary Foundation chair; PAG Gigi Go, service projects chair; and Imy Baja, new generations chair.
New members were also inducted that night, namely, Aleli Ramirez, Tina Concepcion, Bambi Sadava, Mon Igdon and Arlene Buot, thanks to their respective recruiters Gigi, Bong Buot, Noel, Bong Paalam, and me.