Sunday, January 24, 2010

Classmate Ces Singson's birthday party

The other night, classmate Cesar Singson -- in photo with me -- past president of Rotary Club of Makati McKinley, celebrated his birthday party with his clubmates, some classmates, his law office and other family friends. It was held at the Philippine Columbian Assn. in Paco, Manila.

Ces is perhaps the most gallant classmate in our batch. During our term, Rotary year 2008-2007 with RI's theme of "Lead the way", there were about 77 clubs in the District. It was standard practice for some richer clubs and/or richer club President, to invite all of their "classmates" club President from other clubs in the district, to attend their club induction ceremony. Ces did that. During that rotary year too, when Ces celebrated his birthday, he again invited all of his classmates to a festive party. And in that same year, he celebrated his silver (25 years) wedding anniversary and again, invited all his classmates! What a guy.

Below are some of the food on the table. My favorite was the "kalderetang kambing", so deliciously prepared, perfect with cold beer. Then sashimi and balut. I did not bother eating the litson, lumpia, pansit, rice, siopao, etc.

The whole evening was full of fellowship, eating and singing! So many singers and entertainers from the guests. Some sang the classic 60s and 70s songs, the younger singers belted out some current hit songs and ballads. I sang, of course, the Beatles' "twist and shout" and "hey jude", rock version :-)

Below are some of the singers and drummers, and Ces wife, Mel Singson. Mel is a very mild-mannered and friendly lady. No wonder they kept their marriage entering the 30th year soon.

Other classmates who came were Inky Reyes, Tess Sanchez, and Rey Alas. Inky sang, of course. Other classmates who confirmed failed to show up though.

The trouble with attending such a festive party is... the hang-over the following day. But then again, it's the festivity, the fellowships and singing, that mattered.

Classmate Ces, advance happy birthday for January 2011! hehehe.

Tuloy sa Don Bosco

The Tuloy sa Don Bosco project in Alabang is among the biggest projects being helped sustained year after year, by many Rotary Clubs of RI Disrict 3830, especially by the Rotary Club of Alabang. It is a project to help hundreds of street children recover their soul and dignity, giving them hope and inspiration.

Those previously street children are housed, schooled and trained in some particular skills, and after a certain age or training, when they are confiden and productive enough, are "released" to the outside world to be on their own. And the project takes in new batches of street children, and the cycle continues.

The facilities in Tuloy are beautiful, you wouldn't think they are for street children. Below are some young children, elementary school age perhaps, on a recess. They have uniforms and ID.

Last August, I joined the District Governor's lunch at Tuloy. It is an annual event being spearheaded by RC Alabang and other clubs in the south. It's a big fund-raising event where individual Rotarians or clubs from the District make pledges. Participants also give a donation. There are some health products being displayed (those firms are owned by some Rotarians) where a certain profit margin, or donations in cash or in kind, are also donated to Tuloy.

That afternoon, I was impressed by the huge donation, a total of something like half a million pesos. That's for a one-day event only. There are other clubs and Rotarians that donate in cash or in kind at any day of the year.

It's fascinating how "service above self" is working. Selfless charity project, volunteerism, zero coercion and taxation, to pursue a down to earth project of helping the poor and needy. Another reason why I remain being a Rotarian.