1998 saw the national campaign and election .... the inauguration of the country's 13th President... the Asian currency crisis and its accompanying economic changes, difficulties and challenges... the death and the resurrection of the country's national flag carrier - Philippine Airlines. Most important, 1998 witnesses the celebration of the Centennial of the Philippine Revolution and Independence.
Amidst this colourful backdrop, the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Maynila (RCHM) was born. Initiated and organized by the Rotary Club of Bagumbayan Manila (RCBM) under the presidency of Pres. Henry Freznoza and the inspiring guidance of DGSR/PP Ruben Fruto, PP/PDS Charoy Marquez and PDG Danny Yu, the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Maynila bears witness to RCBM's many responses to the 1997 Rotary International theme "Show Rotary Cares." On June 24, 1998, the Club's application was approved by the Rotary International. RC Hiyas ng Maynila serves the communities of Singalong, Ermita and Malate.
It was on March 1998 when a group of dynamic, energetic, pretty, intelligent and service oriented ladies first met at the Philippine Columbian Association in Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. These ladies who came from various professions and business interests were gathered together by RCBM members, namely PDG Danny Yu, PP/PDS Charoy Marquez, PP Ruben Fruto, Pres. Henry Fresnoza, IPP Rey Cristobal, Rtn. Jose Paulo Campos, PP Efren Santos, PP Vene Veneracion, Rtn. Ricky Uy (deceased), Rtn. Pepot Sto. Domingo, Rtn. Rey Bandali, and Rtn. Gonza Teehankee.
A series of weekly meetings and gatherings occurred from March to June 1998 during which the ladies were briefed and introduced to the object of Rotary, its internationality and its many opportunities for service. The initial stage of organizing the Club could be likened to a woman's birthing pains as the Club members agonized about membership, recruitment, attendance, planning, budgeting and of course naming the "baby club." We are the only all-female club in Manila of District 3810. We were chartered on June 24th, the charter anniversary of the City of Manila. We are the only club organized and chartered this year in the whole District which has a total of 112 Clubs. After many deliberations, we agreed to name the Club- the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Maynila.
"Hiyas" is a Filipino word for gem or jewel-precious, feminine yet strong and determined. The Club's logo depicts a woman dressed in traditional Filipina attire, bursting from a seashell and holding the logo of Rotary International. It aims to project a Filipina woman of today, coming out of her traditional role in society to become a key player in the improvement and upliftment of the conditions of the less privileged members of our community. It hopes to project the character of the club and the reason of its existence: the ideal of service through Rotary.
And the story lives on... the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Maynila (RC Gem of Manila) has maintained its relevance to the community it served and it will continue to be so for the rest of the century.