Monday, March 27, 2006

PETS, Day 2

Day 2, March 19

The day is mainly for team-building exercises. The district hired again the services of Convergent consulting, headed by Buneeh (pronounced "ba-nee"), a dynamic and cheerful lady, as chief training leader. PEs went to Tribal camp wearing their respective team color shirts.

The first team-building exercise was for people (from different color teams) to group themselves according to a song title that they will have to swing out and sing at the same. 5 minutes for each group to plan, then showing each group's wares. My group then will sing and dance Hagibis' song, "Katawan". Since I was the one who more or less memorized a big portion of the song, I was instantly made the group dance-leader (hehehe). To the tune of "mahilig kami sa magaganda, katawan lang aming nakikita, lalo na yong kaakit-akit pa", I gyrated like a frustrated macho dancer, ouch! Well, at least I made my co-groupmates happy :-)

Second exercise was for everyone to write a one-word adjective (English or Filipino) on a piece of paper to describe that person; the paper is clipped at the back of each one of us. Well, we were 60+ then and only 3 minutes to do the job. On average, one person will get about 15-25 adjectives and descriptions from the same number of persons who wrote on the paper on his/her back. Buneeh asked for volunteers who will share which of the words and impressions written about you that strikes you most. I was among the early volunteers, I said, "they say i'm a 'sex maniac'!" Of course this sent a riotous laughter among many of them, hehehe. And of course, I was joking, because I was happy with what many of them wrote about me -- "nice, jolly, ok, happy, extrovert,..." Buneeh followed the sharing later with a discussion about "first impression", and how to change it if the impression is not reflective of your real character.

Third and "main event" exercise was the "Amazing race". This time, we'll be working as a team under our shirts' color. Seven (7) activities and obstacles to hurdle and finish to get 1 flag in each activity, to be finished in 60 minutes or less. The yellow team was the fastest, finishing everything in 45 minutes; our red team followed after 2 minutes, the green and all-male, all-enjoyable guys followed us after about 4 minutes, and so on. It was one of the most enjoyable team exercises I've ever participated in my life!

After the late morning break, there were discussions and assessments for each team, what were the factors that helped the team achieve its goals, the factors that destructed and weakened them, lessons learned, etc.

Last exercise before lunch was a relay with a live catfish ("hito") instead of batton, that each runner will pick up from a container, run to a post and back, return the fish, and tag the next runner. This time, our team was first, hoorraayyyy!!!

Lunch time was capped by a very inspiration speech by PRID Paing Hechanova as our luncheon speaker. He talked about vocational training and the importance of ensuring honesty and dignity in the practice of our profession and vocation. Again, I another bright mind speaking in front of us, sharing bits and paragraphs of wisdom that should guide us how to conduct our lives, our work, our households and our community.

Before we broke up to go back to the lecture hall, Buneeh went to the front again to give the last exercise for the day -- a charade contest, a forgettable one as our team got zero point, argghh!!

The last activity was a planning session, with our respective assistant governors for our clusters sitting with us to plan activities and member retention and recruitment programs.

So, what have I learned and observed in the past 2 days of PETS?
The lessons are very clear to me, as follows:

(1) I noticed and observed not a single instance of bragging or "payabangan" among us PEs, and among district officials. Instead, almost everyone was blurting out (or attempting to blurt out)lots of funny and humoruous stories, one-liners and jokes! This is Rotary, one happy family!

(2) Lots of brainy and service-oriented leaders, especially among PDGs and PRIDs, as well as current and in-coming AGs.

(3) Finally, Rotary is indeed an organization of volunteers, of people who come for a common purpose of helping themselves and their communities, not an organization based on coercion and multiple-level bureaucracies, like governments in many parts of the world. And this is one thing that I will tell my prospective recruits from among my friends.

Friday, March 24, 2006

PETS, Day 1

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...)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hi, Welcome!

Hello friends,

Welcome to my new blog, my 5th blog actually on 5 different subjects and concerns, on a single account. (I might add a 6th blog later :-))

I have been chosen by my clubmates in RC Taguig-Fort Bonifacio (RCTFB) to be the club President-Elect (PE) for RY 2006-2007. I was really hesitant to accept the job because of a number of personal limitations, from financial to time constraint as my wife will give birth to our first child this coming October! But PP Jed Inciong, IPP Joel Ciron, and current Serving President Glenn Inciong, urged me to accept the challenge. The also gave a modest contribution and a portion of club money to help me pay the training fee. They also brought in AG Tony Chiong to help in convincing me. With enough assurance of various forms of support from these guys, I said Yes!

So, last weekend, March 18-19, I joined District 3830's Presidents-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) held in MMLDC, Antipolo City. It was a training that I really enjoyed a lot, as I got to meet and shared sweat and laughter with many classmates (we were about 70 PEs there) who will become their respective club Presidents starting this coming July 1, as well as district officials and leaders.

Gov. Jimmy Cura, you never cease to amaze me with your very articulate and inspiring speeches! Governor-Elect Butch Francisco, your always smiling face assures me that we'll have lots of fun amidst some hardships in springing our clubs to good leadership. IPG Tony Quila, your presence and leadership in those 2 days and 1 night of training and fun was very reaassuring. And to my sister, incoming AG for administration, Marycris Oplas, your dynamism and casualness in dealing with us new blood of leaders, is very inspiring. Hats off to you and other district guys!

My succeeding posts on my notes and observations about the PETS...