Cebu Captivates Participants to the PR Multi- District Seminar

by CP Blyth Fielding

October 15-16, 2010, Cebu City - Rotary District 3860 under District Governor (DG) Ted Locson, Jr., D3790 under DG Manny Yu and D3850 under DG James Makasiar hosted the Public Relations (PR) Multi District Seminar in the beautiful, hospitable City of Cebu last October 15-16, 2010 at the villa-inspired Montebello Hotel.

District Public Relations Coordinator (DPRC) PP Ricky Poca chaired the affair and ably assisted by a veteran member of the Public Image Resource Group (PIRG) PP Lilu Alino, who was all overseeing that every part of the program was in place.  Both are from District 3860.  True to form, the seminar has been dubbed as one of the best organized multi-district PR seminar.

Unlike many years past, public relations through public imaging is now in the forefront of Rotary International as it tries to create an antidote to an impasse in creating its distinct character in the field of service oriented organization. It becomes a doable shot especially to the Rotary clubs and Rotarians who wish to tell their stories on how they improved and changed the lives of many people throughout the world. 

Diversely represented from most of the ten Philippine Rotary districts, the gathering was energized for a whole day presentation of public imaging styles and mechanisms. Multi-faceted presenters knocked out the audience senses into high gear with new innovative ideas on how to get through to the public using available tools in media exposure.

Past District Governor Lyne Abanilla from District 3810, the current PIRG Coordinator for the Pacific Regions that includes New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippine districts, opened the session on how “Telling a Rotary Story” to everyone - friends, family, associates, newspapers, magazines and even the social media like the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like supports Rotary’s  advocacy.  It is how we tell our story that makes this organization of professional men and women endear to the public and its followers, readers, sponsors, donors and to the prospective members. Further she emphasized on the need to commit, connect and communicate in order to be heard and listen to.  IPDG Chit Lijauco who is now the PIRG Zone 7A Coordinator for Indonesia and the Philippine Districts spoke on the importance of Public Image.  She managed to relay to the listeners how to localize the message for it to be easily understood.  Utilizing local known personalities would also enhance the viewership and acceptance of idea especially in full blown billboards and magazine write-ups, she enthused.  Meanwhile, Past President Ed Trinidad took time out to endorse and underscore the value of the “Philippine Rotary Magazine as a PR Tool”. He accentuated that the regional magazine (PRM) can be a useful channel to publicize the various Rotary projects and programs.

The afternoon session was all about  “Why Brand Rotary” as discussed by communications expert Global President Marilen Lagniton., as she highlighted how the Rotary name, logo be recognized not only in the Rotary world but also among the people who don’t know what is Rotary.  Membership Area Coordinator, PDG Dave Villanueva, D3850 had an interesting discussion on “Membership and Image” which he likened to love and marriage. It was cognizant of the need to constantly recruit and seek new members in Rotary.  Ms. Isolde Amante, an editor-in-chief of Sun Star Daily confided to the audience how to play with the media in order to get articles and press releases written and published.  Also, the presence of PDG Boyet Limon, D3830 was very much welcomed as he shared to the other Rotarians the launching of their “Wheels of Change”.  Rotary stickers are posted at the back of over 350 Victory Liner buses plying the routes of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. The stickers depict Rotary projects and programs that brought about different stories of the populace from all walks of life whom Rotarians had deeply touched in their own simple ways.  The day was capped with an open forum where questions and answers were lodged to the speakers on several Rotary concerns after PPs Lilu Alino and Rose Imperial, D3780  handled “Synergy and Sharing” portion.  It was moderated by PP Batas Mauricio, D3810.

Prior to October 16th however, a prelude article by DPRC Jose “Ping” Sison, D 3780 and also a regular columnist of the Philippine Star, was highlighted in his column in October 15th.  A prolific writer, he exudes the confidence of somebody who is well-informed in his trade.  And least of all, the Fellowship night held at Cebu Montebello’s ballroom had so much to look back to as Rotarians, Rotaractors, spouses belted out songs and danced the hours away.  Rotary Clubs from Bohol and Cebu entertained the participants with performances Broadway style. After all, Rotary is not all about services but also fellowships. Event participants to a sumptuous dinner with crispy lechon as the main treat.

The sojourn in Cebu was such a rewarding experience, a story to tell over and over again.