Day 1, March 18.
MMLDC (Manolo M. Lopez Devt. Center, or Meralco Management Leadership and Devt. Center) in Antipolo City was a good venue for the training. It's my first time to visit this place. I brought my wife, Ella, to attend the first day activity as there is a separate program for spouses. A classmate and good friend PE Rey Alas of RC Nielsen, gave us a ride as his condo is just 4 blocks from our apartment in Makati.
Being a newly-chosen PE (in fact, just a few days before the PETS since the original PE, Jena Padilla, asked to be replaced), the only classmate that I knew in the batch was Rey Alas. I didn't mix up with new comers who were my fellow PEs then, just stayed on a corner sipping coffee and skimming through the thick manual and district materials.
The program started shortly after 9am. Bright minds of Rotary leadership began unfurling. Our guest speaker that morning, PRID Benny Santos, was a picture of a blessed man who has equally shared his blessings to many other people, from rich and non-rich Rotarians to ordinary and poor people who have benefitted from a number of community projects conducted by various RCs.
DGE Butch Francisco was wittily introduced by PP Sid Garcia. Gov-Elect Butch's address, "Our purpose, our goals and RI theme" was clear and easily understandable for us PEs because he sounded very honest and sincere.
It was only during the break time that I got to meet my teammates in the Red team. The color-coded teams will show their wares in the evening presentation and the team-building exercises the following day. Joey Lina, PE of RC Makati Central, was our team leader. I have thought that Joey being an ex-Governor, ex-Senator, ex-DILG Secretary, and now Manila Hotel President, could be a bit "hard to approach" considering his high achievements. I was flatly wrong. Joey gamely gathered us members of the Red team, explained to us what will be our presentation that evening, how we'll do it (or sing it), etc. By lunchtime, our team has already cohered, we occupied one long table, shared stories and exchanged jokes.
Gov Jimmy Cura was the luncheon speaker. His topic was "Motivating Rotarians". As usual, the Governor gave an extemporaneous, articulate, and very inspiring message. The guy really got the brains and passion to say the things that he believes and have done. He has walked the talk, and the aura of sincerity is very evident in his face and his voice.
After lunch, session 1, "Roles and responsibilities of Club Presidents" started with PDG Joey Benedicto as main speaker. Gov Joey is a man of brains and humor. Loud and emphatic voice, lots of Latin quotes and verses, and injecting humor every now and then in the middle of his speech. His last 2 sentences was among the funniest: he was chanting some Latin phrases, and ended, "Sa Filipino pa, tapos na po ang aking pananalita, maaari na po kayong pumalakpak." Which we did! Alright man!
Session 2, "Resources, goal setting... and Rotary Academy" was led by IPDG Tony Quila. Gov Tony is more of an organization man; yes, with brains of course. I only find the issue on point system in the district awards that he presented as too bureaucratic. Too many activities to watch and tally points, I feel that the District will need a phalanx of watchers and tally guys, to fully and carefully record the points. Will the District spend big money for the salaries or allowances of these watchers and tally kids?
Session 3, on "Club leadership and administration" led by PDG Herman Gamboa, I find the subject a bit boring. Maybe because the meat of this subject has been touched several times on several occasions by earlier speakers.
Session 4, "Membership development, recruitment and retention", was led by Gov. Tony Quila. But the guy who woke up the sleepy, envigorated the tired, and sent riotous laughter to the group, was Pres. Sonny Tambunting of RC Makati. A rare, frank and special character, I should say. His opening sentence: "I want you all to stand up, and applaud the greatest speaker in this training, that's me!" Who can beat that? Nothing but himself, as he followed it up with more witty intros before he pounced on his proposal of a "Kuya system" where big and stronger clubs will adopt the small and weaker clubs for a while until such time that the latter will get the idea, the "hung" of how to maintain a strong and dynamic organization.
Session 5, "The Rotary Foundation", was led by PDG Willy Segovia. Gov Willy to me, is one of the District's really cerebral-brainy leaders. His presentation of what the Foundation is all about, how it's funded and how it funds projects, was as clear as a 7am sun: bright and clear and will not burn your skin and head. Now, Gov. Willy was backed up by 3 bright minds, all past presidents (PP): the ever-enthusastic Dr. Nash Pablo, my brother in law and frank guy Donnies Alas, and young banker Fritz Ocampo.
After the fellowship dinner, team presentations started. Our team will be the 5th group to present that night. After seeing the first 3 teams, I have concluded that we were already in the top 3, even before we will show our talents! hehehe. Well, even the gods make mistakes sometimes, and so I also made that mistake. Two other teams really beat us to a better presentation. Anyway...
The later part of that evening was full of energy and vitality. Just when most of the guys left after the program proper has ended, the non-stop dancing and singing with the live band started! I showed my young John Lennon-like energy when I grabbed the mike from the lady lead singer and sang The Beatles' "Twist and Shout", alright! Then other singers, more jolly and energetic, both from our Red team and the riotous Green team, went up the stage and sang with the band. When the band got tired and folded their instruments, the karaoke session started. It was almost 12 midnight when I left as my wife was still waiting for my "good night, tsup!" text.
Day 2 (to be continued...)