Club History

By PP ARSENIO “Arsenic” ONG

Rotary Club of Downtown Manila

The formation of the Rotary Club of Manila East (RCME) was a whirlwind affair. It happened so fast that after five (5) planning meetings, RCME was born.

Prior to the departure of District Governor Sonny Ventura to attend the Rotary International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, President Arsenic Ong of the Rotary Club of Downtown Manila called a Special Board Meeting (after its regular meeting) on May 16, 1986 at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel.

The Special Board Meeting was specifically called to take up one single agenda which is the extension of RCME, which will be the second daughter club of RC Downtown Manila.

DG Sonny Ventura lamented the fact that other clubs in District 3810 have already extended a new club and his term of office is about to expire by June 30, 1986. Time was running out then. Besides, the former DGSR went abroad on a business trip. There was an urgent need to appoint a new DGSR with the singular task of spearheading the organization of RCME.

At first, Dir. Romy Soriano was hesitant considering the time constraint, but with charismatic prodding from DG Sonny Ventura and the encouragement of Pres. Arsenic Ong, Dir. Romy Soriano finally accepted the task as mission for Rotary service. The following week, May 21, 1986, DGSR Romy called the first Planning Session of the proposed club at the Picache Building. Seven (7) prospective members attended. From RC Downtown Manila, seven (7) members were also present, namely: Pres. Arsenic Ong, PP Godo Orosa, Sec. Bert Picache, Treas. Pete Kho, Rtn. Mer Valera and Dir. Winnie Abulencia. DGSR Romy Soriano was the Presiding Officer and briefed the prospective members about RCDM's plan to organize a new Rotary Club. RCDM Rotarians gave their motivational talks about Rotary. Pamphlets on Rotary Information were distributed.

The second Planning Meeting was held on May 28, 1986 at the Picache Building. Inspite a

heavy downpour, six (6) prospective members attended. From RC Downtown Manila, DGSR Romy Soriano, who presided over the meeting, Pres. Arsenic Ong, Rtns. Mike Sandig and Louie Bustamante were also present. Dissemination of Rotary Information was discussed.

The third Planning Meeting was held at the Picache Building on June 11, 1986. Again there was an inclement weather and yet there was an increase in attendance. Nine (9) prospective members were present. DGSR Romy Soriano presided over the meeting. Pres. Arsenic Ong, Rtns. Mer Valera and Pio Chen of RC Downtown Manila gave their motivational talks on Rotary. The organizing committee decided to transfer its meeting venue to the Rotary Center on June 18, 1986 which was the fourth Planning Meeting. This provided to be the clincher. There was a substantial increase in attendance. Thirteen (13) prospective members attended. Invited as Guest Speakers were IPDS Willie Limqueco of RC University District, OIC of the Rotary Center, RC Pasay PP Nano Sio, in his capacity as District Extension Chairman. Pres. Arsenic Ong rendered his usual motivational talk while DGSR Romy Soriano presided over the meeting. Rtns. Mer Valera and Louie Bustamante were also present.

By June 25, 1986, on its fifth Planning Meeting, there was a tremendous increase in attendance. Inspite of a brownout at the Rotary Center, seventeen (17) prospective members attended. It becomes apparent that the group is now ready to hold its Organizational Meeting. PDG Pepot of RC University District and PP Nano Sio acted as Guest Speakers. Pres. Arsenic Ong gave his usual motivational talk and DGSR Romy Soriano presided over the meeting. PDG Pepot Barredo (now deceased) suggested then the holding of an election of Charter Officers and Directors considering that there was already a substantial number of prospective members present and four (4) planning meetings were previously held.

PDG Pepot was appointed as Comelec Chairman.

The following were elected Charter Officers and Directors for RY 1986-1987 during that Organizational Meeting:

Romeo “Romy” C. Soriano – Charter President & Chairman of the Board

Benjamin “Ben” M. Tan – Vice President & International Service Director

Roberto “Boy C” M. Collantes – President-Elect & Club Service I Director

Ismael “Boy” R. Balatbat – Secretary & Club Service II Director

Angelito “Lito” V. Evangelista – Treasurer & Finance Director

Domingo “Domeng” A. Vallejos – PRO & Community Service Director

Alfedo “Fred” C. Ysais – Sgt. At Arms & Sports Activities Director

Florante “Tante” G. Henson – Auditor & Vocational Service Director

Appointed were:

Pio Chen – Youth Service Director

Josue “Jo” A. San Pedro – Legal Counsel

By June 25, 1986, PDG Pepot Barredo prepared the Charter papers of the provisional club of Manila East and mailed it to Rotary International.

Finally, on June 30, 1986, DG Sonny Ventura broke the news that the Rotary Club of Manila East was chartered. It was a fitting climax for DG Sony Ventura, an added feather to the cap of Pres. Arsenic Ong and Rotary mission accomplished for DGSR Romy Soriano.

The first two (2) regular meetings of the club were held at the Philippine Columbian Club. Guest Speakers were PDG Pepot Barredo on July 1, 1986 and RC Paranaque PP Herman Gamboa on July 8, 1986.

Thereafter, the newly chartered club decided to transfer its meeting venue to the Manila Hotel during its third weekly meeting held on July 16, 1986. Guest Speaker was RC University District PP Chito Manhit. This particular meeting was attended by Rtn. Manuel R. dela Cruz, a Filipino, of the Rotary Club of Rio de Janeiro, who has the distinction of being the first foreign Rotarian to attend the club meeting.

The Rotary Club of Manila East meets weekly at every Tuesday at 7:00pm at the Aristocrat Restaurant, Malate, Manila.