Golden Alvin and the RCCW

Rotary (International) was started in 1905 by lawyer Paul P. Harris. At 108 years strong, it is the oldest and biggest civic organization the world has known. At present, Rotary has nearly 1.3 million members in over 200 countries. There are over 34,000 clubs worldwide.

One of these clubs, to which I belong to, is the Rotary Club of Cebu West (RCCW) — the 2nd oldest club in Cebu (and District 3860), second only to the “mother club,” the Rotary Club of Cebu. (We meet every Tuesday 7 P.M. at Radisson Blu.)

Two nights ago, RCCW celebrated its 51st Induction Ceremony. On hand to turn-over the gavel and the responsibilities to the new president, Robert “Bobby” Yap, was our 50th year leader.

“Golden President,” we call him — he’s Alvin Tan. The owner of Familia House (the decades-long establishment offering all types of beads and clothing accessories), Alvin was our chosen leader for the club’s historic golden year.

After 12 months as our club president (July 2012 to June 2013), I’m proud to say that Alvin was one of the — if not THE — best president RCCW has ever had. In the District-wide Rotary awarding held a couple of months ago, RC Cebu West garnered most outstanding awards for the club, the president, the secretary and more. Plus, last February during the 76th Cebu City Charter Day awarding, RCCW was a top honoree of Mayor Mike Rama.

How did Alvin do it? What leadership lessons can we learn from him that we can apply in our respective organizations or businesses? Plenty.

“Pres. Alvin was able to develop rapport with his officers even before his term started and he was able to create a cooperative team spirit early,” said Rotary’s Past District Governor Jose Ma. Luis “Toto” Cupin. “He did his planning and organizing and set specific, measurable, achieve and time bounded goals based on the Presidential Citation and District Governors Challenge. Pres. Alvin is a good communicator and persistent at that. He emails or text meeting reminders. Club meetings were terrific – good program and good food.”

On good planning, here’s an example. Among the dozens and dozens of projects Pres. Alvin accomplished during his one-year term, the biggest was the club’s donation of a fire truck to the Cebu Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade.

You know when this fire truck was donated? A month before Alvin’s term started! Yes, not during or at the tail-end of his presidency — but before. That’s how good a planner he is. A year before his term, he socilited the help of various individuals (including fellow Rotarian Jun Tallo, who personally chose the fire truck in Canada), so that his big project will be ready — before he assumed office.

That’s the first lesson: Plan — and plan early. As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Next, be persistent. I’ve been with Rotary for over eight years now and I’ve never encountered a president who’s as persistent in following up his members than Alvin. Through emails, text messages, and calls — he communicates with everyone all the time. If he sets his sights on a goal (to invite a specific person as guest speaker or to accomplish a certain project — Alvin is relentless in achieving the goal.)

Third lesson: Be nice and humble. In Alvin’s case, you can’t find someone who’s more friendly. When I asked him how he made his term so successful, he swiftly deflected the attention on himself and showered praise on his officers and fellow Rotarians.

In his e-mail to me, he gave special mention to Rotary Sec. Fabby Borromeo and his overall adviser and “potential Governor” Wilton Uykingtian — plus the rest of the RCCW memberships — as the ingredients to his success. He singled out one person whom he refers to as the “Godfather” of RCCW —  PDG Toto Cupin — saying, “I would give a 21-gun salute to Gov. Toto who helped me with all the projects.”

To President Alvin, congratulations on a golden year. You’ve shown us the true meaning of Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.”

Rotary + Swimarathon = World Record

I met Edward Hayco last Tuesday. It was Valentine’s Day. It was also Ed’s birthday. He was having lunch with Eleanor and his children at Ginza; I was avoiding the V-Day rush by having a lunch date with Jasmin.

Ed and I spoke about the Guinness world records of Cebu City. Granted that the latest (chess) will be formalized, we now have three:

1) Dancesport –largest dance class: 7,770 dancers.

2) Fireworks –125,801 rockets launched in less than 60 seconds.

3) Chess – 43,157 players in one event.

Well, ever the restless sportsman, Ed is concocting another Guinness attempt. I won’t divulge the details yet but will write about it soon.

But, for now, Ed will be happy to hear that Cebu City will be part of another WR attempt on February 25. Called the “Rotary Swimarathon,” we’ll join a global event where thousands will swim simultaneously for one hour.    April Dequito, president of the Rotary Club of Talisay – Cebu, is spearheading the project. Here’s the plan: On Feb. 25 (next Saturday) from 8 to 9 P.M. at the YMCA pool (along Osmeña Blvd.), people will take turns swimming 100 meters. Every swimmer who records that distance will be counted. And, while Cebuanos are swimming in YMCA, thousands of others worldwide — from New Zealand to South Africa to Portugal — will swim during the same hour.

“At the moment, we have gathered 50 participants,” said April. “We still need to contact different varsity teams in various high schools. We are allocating two lanes for the 100-meter swim, and the other 2 lanes are for the 25-meter relay (exhibition purposes only as not everyone can finish a 100-meter swim). PWD will also be invited to swim on a special lane.

“Only the 100-meter swim can be counted as part of the attempt to break the World Record. There are also options to swim for more than a 100-meters. Hopefully we can gather about 150 swimmers for the 100-meter swim and perhaps 50 more for the relay. The 150 swimmers would be more than enough to help contribute in the our attempt to break the world record but if we can gather more, that’s even better.”

This project is done not just to break the WR (currently at 2,533 swimmers). “At the same time, we are raising sponsorship or charging a nominal entrance fee of P500/swimmer to support the End Polio Now campaign. After 20 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease.”

The objectives? Like the Rotary’s famous Four-Way Test, it’s also Four-fold: 1) Set a new World Record for the most number of people swimming at the same time. 2) Raise funds towards the elimination of Polio. 3) Increase the awareness of Rotary. 4) Encourage more people to swim and stay fit.

I’m joining. Want to join? Email [email protected].

Categorized as Rotary

Green grass, random notes in Singapore

SINGAPORE—Here the past four nights to attend the Induction Ceremony of our “brother” club, the Rotary Club of Singapore West, here are some observations…

WIMBY. While billions of football zealots worldwide dream of blowing that vuvuzela in South Africa, I’m dreaming of London. Yes, it’s the same green as soccer, but it’s grass at Wimbledon. Guess what? From our Peninsula Excelsior Hotel here at the heart of The Lion City, I’m just 250 meters away from a Wimbledon-like sight. A grass court! While jogging early morning last Monday retracing the finish line of the 2008 Singapore Marathon, this green court with white rectangular lines sat there. Nobody played that 7 a.m. and how I wished Fabby Borromeo—Class-A at tennis and who’s part of our Rotary group here—brought rackets for us to swing our first-ever hits on a grass-court here at this “Wimbledon in Singapore.”

ROTARY. There are 24 of us from the Rotary Club of Cebu West attending the 50th anniversary of the RC of Singapore West (our club last week held its 48th Induction Ceremony). With us are a mix of sports lovers… golfing buddies Johnny Siao, Justin Uy, John Young and Nilo Domingo; badminton swingers Jimmy Lao, Ruel Dihiansan, Alvin Tan, Bobby Yap and Lenton Beltran. Also here are Romy Dy Pico, Johnson Dy, Wilton Uykingtian plus many of our spouses. And while we thought our “Filipino hospitality” was the world’s best, the Singapore welcome here—including dinners at the Black Angus Steakhouse and Long Beach restaurant (famous for the original Black Pepper Crab)—can be described in one word, which I delivered in a short speech to the Rotarians here: WOW!

PAPERS. Like I do in each trip, I’ve accumulated four days of newspapers these past 80 hours. Yesterday, The Straits Times (established in 1845), devoted six giant-sized sports pages. The banner story read: OUT OF AFRICA. Pictured were two players, one in yellow, the other, wearing blue, with the subtitle: “France fly home in economy class after another humiliation: France 1, South Africa 2.” The story goes… “The players who had been flown to the Cup in the first-class cabin of a new Airbus A-380 faced a cattle class return journey in the back of a Boeing 737.”

As expected of a nation whose most-followed game is football, it’s all-World Cup here. What’s terrific about their South Africa focus in the newspapers here—apart from printing the standings, results, TV schedules, Quotable Quotes—are the commentary. They have plenty of columnists here—much like our Noel Villaflor—whose acumen for soccer is outstanding. There’s Gerry Armstrong, Lee Min Kok, and Tay Yek Keak. Rohit Brijnath, whose byline is SPORTINGLIFE, titled his piece, “Messi proof of beauty of decisiveness.” Here’s a sampler of his writing prowess: “Messi has too much skill and thus too much choice: jink, pass, swerve, shoot, feint? But this Cup, more often than not, his thrill has been an ability, under pressure, to select the right gap, person, move. His judgment is so fine it seems he owns a sixth sense, a third eye.” That’s excellent writing. There’s more. Terrence Voon, whom they call “Our man in South Africa,” is literally in SA. He writes first-hand stories of what his eyes see… of the vuvuzela that deafen his ears.

YOG. The most-awaited event here happens from August 14 to 26. It’s the Youth Olympic Games. Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it is the first Olympic games for the youth aged 14 to 18 years old. What a privilege for Singapore to host this inaugural event.

USS. Two days ago, we had a free, guided tour of the newest attraction, the Universal Studios Singapore. Like Hong Kong’s Disneyland, it’s a must-see destination… especially for those who love thrill rides.

CASINO. Yesterday, the Marina Bay Sands was formally opened. What a sight! Its advertisement sums it up: “Unveiling A New Wonder Of The World.” With three 55-story towers that support the SkyPark (a surfboard-like structure that looks like a ship), it’s an amazing sight in Singapore.

GenSan’s new name: “Manny Pacquiao City”

Romy S. DyPico did the unthinkable last Friday night. While attending the Rotary District Conference, Romy, the president of my club, the RC of Cebu West, scurried near the front stage and tiptoed to sit beside a lady for that one-click photo moment.

We were in General Santos City along with 1,200 other Rotarians from District 3860 when President Romy posed beside Ms. Seductive. Who was she? Mommy Dionisia.

The Discon was fun! Apart from attending the successful event (kudos to District Governor Tony Veneracion) and gorging on tuna in the Tuna Capital of the Philippines for four days until yesterday, we did one more act: we saw the empire of King Manny.

As soon as we landed in “Magandang Gensan” last Wednesday, our driver whisked us to see the city’s most publicized landmark: Pacman’s house. House? Sorry. It wasn’t; it was a mansion, a castle, a palace equipped with a blue pool that’s shaped after his red glove.

Both photos from Pinay Heart Wanderings and Musings

We visited Robinson’s. After lunch at Grab-A-Crab, we strolled along the mall’s corridors. Together with my Rotary club’s past presidents, Wilton Uykingtian, Maxwell Ahyong and Ronnie Medalle, I toured the Food Court. There, at the center, stood another landmark: Pacman Shawarma. Yes, like our beef-and-pita stands in Ayala and SM in Cebu, it was the same take-out food stall owned by a boxer who’s job is to take-out opponents.

Wilton Uykingtian in action

Next, we entered TEAM PACQUIAO. It was a museum and souvenir shop bundled into one. The white pair of shoes Manny wore against Juan Manuel Marquez sat on the open shelf. Everything MP was found there: mugs, towels, CDs and DVDs priced P99 and P150, keychains, a pair of Nike shoes worth P8,000. Picture frames of MP adorned the walls. A pair of boxing gloves with his signature could be yours for P15,000. There sat trophies, jackets, T-shirts with the words “Now You Know.” A Victorinox watch was priced P30,000.

Wilton, John, Maxwell and Ronnie

Right beside was Blue Gre Cafe. Known for its Durian Gatchpuccino, it’s owned by… now you know… Mr. and Mrs. Pacquiao. Next, we toured the city. One building stood out. The two-story structure was colorful, eye-catching, modern and named JMP Building after the initials of its owners.

For here’s what I witnessed: Manny P. has transformed himself into more than just the world’s No.1 boxer. He’s a promoter. An actor. A singer. A Rotarian honorary member of the RC of Midtown Gensan. A congressman? Most of all, he’s a businessman.

That’s what we saw, our group from the Rotary Club of Cebu West led by Past District Governor Toto Cupin, president Romy and his wife Julie, past president Ex Bollozos and his wife Cynthia, and our past president (and current District Trainer) Philip Tan.

Pacquiao has a myriad of ventures. There’s Pacman H20. Promoted as the “Pambansang Tubig,” Manny’s photo is on all the plastic water bottles. At the KCC mall, Jinkee has two stores: a fashion boutique and a franchise of the beauty clinic, Flawless. They also own a gas station. The JMP Bldg.? That’s Part One. There’s also JMP Bldg. 2 and, last Friday, after the dancing and revelry of the Rotary Discon party, we sojourned into the corner building along Aparente Avenue. On the ground floor of JMP 2, a collection of Manny’s photos lined the walls. At the corner was “Pacman Sports Bar,” a venue to drink while playing two of Manny’s favorite pastime games: billiards and darts. JMix is on the second level and, complete with dancing lights and ear-splitting music, it’s the newest disco-bar Gensan hangout.

To top all these, when our Rotary group toured the Fishport two afternoons ago, we passed a construction site. Located in Tambler, it reportedly costs P20 million and will house four buildings including a covered basketball court and a world-class boxing facility. It’s called the JMP Multi-Purpose Gymnasium.

Now, imagine if, seven days from this morning, Manny beats Joshua Clottey and, later this 2010, gifts ‘Money’ Mayweather with his first loss? Manny and his money will own the city.

Above photos from GenSan News Online Mag. Visit the website at

Rotary + Sports = active, energized Rotarians

“Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders,” says the official website, “Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

“There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.”

Here in Cebu, there are a total of 26 Rotary clubs and, starting Sunday, one of the highlights will commence… The Rotary Week.

RUN. To give the Rotary Week, literally, a running start will be the “2ND ROTARY RUN” this Feb. 21 (Sunday), at the SM City. Founded by Andrew Jimenez last year (Andrew has since relocated to Sydney, Australia), it is now jointly handled by two running buff Rotarians: Kenneth Casquejo (the past president of the Rotary Club of Banilad Metro) and Jet Neric (my fellow Rotarian, and our secretary, at the RC of Cebu West).

“The run,” said the chairman, Kenneth Casquejo, “will cover the following races: Kiddie Dash (8 to 12 years old-400 meter dash/7 below-200 meter dash), 3K Fun Run (Open to Non-Rotarians), 7K Open & 15K Open and Executive Division Races. More than 1500 runners are expected with the support of the big family of Rotary District 3860.”

Cash prizes, trophies and medals will be awarded to the Top 10 finishers per category. Special awards will also be handed out to the biggest Rotary delegation, the biggest Non-Rotary delegation, the oldest/youngest runners, the best running couple, the best running family and the best in costume.

Adds Kenneth: “On top of promoting Rotary and a healthy lifestyle, joining the race is an opportunity to contribute to the End Polio Now, a program of The Rotary Foundation to eradicate polio worldwide.”

This event is jointly organized by the RC of Banilad Metro and the RC of Cebu West (headed by my club’s highly-progressive and enterprising president, Romy DyPico). Registration is now going on at the PSC office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in Abellana, Toby’s SM City, Colette’s Buko Pie SM and RUNNR in Ayala. Registration Fee is only P150 and the deadline is this Thursday. See you there this Sunday, 5:30 a.m., at the SM North Parking Area.

BOWLING. The “Rotary Week Fun Bowling Tournament” is next Tuesday, Feb. 23, and is open to Rotarians and their family members. Venue is at the SM Bowling Center and the competition starts at 7 p.m. Prizes await the… Team Champion, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Runner Up, Highest Single Game, Biggest Delegation. The hosts are the clubs of Central Mactan and Cebu Fort San Pedro. For more details, contact RC of Central Mactan PP Udo Pelkowski at 09172791907 or [email protected].

GOLF. Open to Rotarians and non-Rotarians, the Golf Fellowship is next Wed., Feb. 24, at the Mactan Island Golf and Country Club. Tee off time is from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Registration fee is P1,500 and, to join, call Fe Escaño at 0927-4132923 or 0922-7862681. Host club is the Rotary Club of Cebu Port Center.

ROTARY WEEK. Chaired by Rotarian Ricky Poca with Lilu Aliño as the PR Chair, the Rotary Week (from Feb. 21 to 28) will also include these non-sports activities: Holy Mass on Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. (SM City)… Humanity In Motion Exhibit (from Feb. 21 to 28) at the SM City Northwing… A Dog Walk and Veterinary Medical Clinic on Feb. 21 (SM parking area)… On Feb. 24, an Immunization Day at the Brgy. Ermita Multi-Purpose Hall (headed by RC Banilad Metro)… On Feb. 25, a Voter’s Education program (spearheaded by the RC of Cebu) at the USC Main Campus from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m… A Rotary Chill-out Nite at The Terraces of the Ayala Center on Feb. 25… And, on Feb. 27, a Grand Fellowship at the Capitol Social Hall.

Enjoy ROTARY this coming WEEK!

Categorized as Rotary