Brief History of the
On July 1, 1989, Rotary International allowed women to officially join its ranks, a historical milestone in Rotary. At first not one existing Rotary Club in Negros Occidental, Philippines was ready to accept women to their fold. The Rotary Club of Bacolod East noticed this and they initiated the move to organize an all women Rotary Club. They informed then DG Albert R.T. Lim who gave his uncompromising approval to start the necessary requirement. However, R.I. S.E.A.B.O. informed RCB-East that an all women club is against R.I. policy, which calls for formation of heterogeneous clubs. The enthusiasm of RCB East was diminished for a while. DG Lim worked relentlessly to pursue the project. He challenged the Rotary Club of Metro Bacolod to co-sponsor the organization of the new club. It kept alive the desire of RCB East to proceed with the project. Charter Representative and Charter President Gil Arisola of RC Metro Bacolod Appointed the Governor's Extension Aide. The presidents of the sponsoring clubs, Bernie Guirgen of RCBE and Vicman Sibala of RCBM worked hand in hand to make the birth of the new Rotary Club a reality.
On March 13,1 990 the first organizational meeting was held at the office of GEA CP Gil Arisola. It was attended by five prospective members; Dr. Bella R. Benedicto, Prosecutor Atty. Elmira Maglasang, a molasses trader Carmen Villanueva, an educator, Dean Mima Millendez, and an insurance man, O. Villanueva. The initial turn-out of prospects was not too encouraging. Atty. Maglasang volunteered to host the next meeting at Bascon Hotel on March 20, 1990.
More prospects attended the March 20 meeting. The evening proved to be more enjoyable. The third meeting was at Shakey's Pizza Parlor. By then the sponsors were convinced that the new club, the Rotary Club of Bacolod West, was sustainable. The enthusiasm showed by the group weekly meetings was a proof to this. DG Albert Lim declared the Rotary Club of Bacolod West a provisional club. The venue of its meetings was Noble's Restaurant where RCBEast meets regularly.
Inasmuch as the members came from diverse professions and business callings the election of officers was conducted in two settings to give the members more time to know each other better. On April 10, 1990 four officers were elected; Belle Benedicto became the charter president, Miling Palanca, vice president, Millie Maglasang as secretary and Nora Kilayko, treasurer. May 8, 1990 saw the election of the members of the Board of Directors. Carmen Villanueva became the director for club service, Eve Gengos for Vocational Service, Lita Tibon, Community Service, Tux Rudinas, International Service, and Boy Montalbo, Youth Service. Greg Vallejera, Jr. was elected Sergeant at Arms.
Rotary International approved the charter of the Rotary Club of Bacolod West with a membership of four men and twenty-two women. It joined the world of Rotary as the first Rotary Club in Negros Occidental with a woman president.
The Charter presentation and First Induction ceremonies held on June 29, 1990 proved to the male Rotarians that women Rotarians are dynamic leaders. The affair turned out to be another "first" for the new club. It had two guests of honor and speakers; PP Raymund Legal, manager of SEABO, and the then senator, Hon. Joseph Estrada.
Even before RCB West was chartered, its members were active participants in the District Conference held in Bacolod City, sponsoring a candidate to the Miss Rotary Contest and joining the bowling tournament garnering a respectable 7th place out of 20 participating teams, playing against the best male Rotarian bowlers in District 3850. A big delegation of members also attended the PETS/DISTAS held in Iloilo City.
The members' first year together was a memorable experience. All of them, except one - Boy Montalbo, were new to the Rotary World. Rotary International's motto for that year, "Enjoy Rotary", was lived out by the new Rotarians. With proper guidance from GSR Sonny Elegado and GEA Gil Arisola, the "baby" Rotarians grew and matured. Propelled by the motto, "He who serves most, serves best", the zeal to serve caught fire among its members.
Seven years have passed since RCBWest received its charter. Through those years the club experienced "highs" and "lows" in its club life. But even during the "low" moments it never failed to meet the commitment to carry out each RI President's theme in its various programs and projects.
Because of its dynamism, the Rotary Club of Bacolod West has received the following distinctions:
Outstanding Club in RI District 3850 - RY 1993-94
Outstanding Club Award for Exemplary Performance and Commitment to the Object and Ideals of Rotary in Providing the Highest Level of Service in the Four Avenues of Service, Negros Area, RY 1992-93
Most Improved Per Capita Contribution to the Rotary Foundation, a citation from Rotary International, RY 1992-93.
Presidential Citation for Balanced Club Programming, RY 1992-93, RY 1993-94, RY 1994-95.
The club has implemented various projects in each of the avenues of service and has earned for itself several awards, notable of which are the following:
The Bacolod Convention Plaza Hotel is now the home if its Tuesday meetings. Club size has increased by 45%. It continues to invite into its fold young men and women who can uphold the object of Rotary and the ideals of service in their homes, businesses and professions. The atmosphere of wholesome openness and fellowship has inspired its members to be real Rotarians.
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