Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brief History: Rotary Club of Panglao Island

Rtns. Irena Heberer & Nila Montero
It was a dream for Rotarians Nila Montero and Irena Heberer. They had long envisioned putting up a Rotary Club in Panglao Island.

Aside from the practical reasons, having a Rotary club in Panglao would mean being able to give back to the community and being able to attract like- minded individuals to respond to the call for “Service above Self”.

Under the helm of the two dynamic ladies, a group of Panglao- based expatriates and locals banded together for the first organizational meeting for the Rotary Club of Panglao which was held at the Pyramid Bar & Restaurant in Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol on January 31, 2012.

The simple affair that was devoid of the usual fanfare and attended by 13 prospective members was history in the making.

The initial outcome was not too encouraging but Rotarians Nila Montero and Irena Heberer were undeterred.

Armed with a firm resolve and steely determination, Nila and Irena, with the able assistance and guidance of Senior Assistant Governor for Special Concerns Angie Loja, sounded the call and rounded up interested friends and acquaintances.

With the support of her spouse Francisco “Frank” Montero, Nila graciously volunteered to host the next few meetings at her Alona Tropical Beach Resort.

After a series of weekly successive meetings and after hurdling some obstacles and stumbling blocks such as conflict of schedules, no- shows, a flurry of calls, exchange of emails, and seeming loss of interest, more prospects joined.

It also helped a lot that some inactive and on- leave Rotarians expressed interest to join the group.


And so a month after the first get- together, the Rotary Club of Panglao Island was born with the composition of the 30 charter members truly international in flavor with half of the members coming from Germany, Belgium, United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands and the other half from the Philippines.

The professions, backgrounds and business callings of the final list of charter members were as diverse as the nationalities they represented yet all of them have one common thing; all have responded to the call to make a difference.

Rotarian Irena Heberer, a German national, was voted as the club’s charter president. The other officers are Thomas Boetsch (Vice President), Lani Pasok (Secretary), Karin Wesemael (Treasurer), Lydia Weiss (Auditor) and Martin Tolksdorf (Sgt.- at- Arms)

The Board of Directors for the different service areas are; Art Bagcat (Club Administration), Howard Hoffmann (Community Service), Barbara Illi (Membership), Raul Gatal (Public Relations), Mary Ruth Gango (Youth Service), Wim Zanstra (Community Development), Petra Pelny (International Service), and Anthony Knott (The Rotary Foundation TRF)

IPP Nila Montero who plays a key role in the birth of the Rotary Club of Panglao Island, the fifth Rotary club in Bohol, declined any position believing that she can be more productive as a member working behind the scenes

The other charter members are Crescente Arbutante, Marcializa Bantol, Anthony Bautista, Alfons Johannes Boss, Rachel Dancel, Freddy de Schuyter, Annette Fosgate, Marietta Gasatan, Gerhard Gauss, Felix Hora, Celeste Madrona, Edward Mejos, Francisco Montero, Josie Montes, and Udo Rudi Wrobbel.

With the appointment of Rtn. Grace M. Campo, President of Rotary Club of Tubigon, by Gov. Leoncio “Nonoy” Villa- Abrille as Special Governor’s Representative (SGR) to navigate the journey of the club towards its charter presentation, the submission of requirements has been completed and the processing of the charter papers is moving at a record pace.

The 11- man delegation that represented the club in the recently- concluded 2012 District Assembly in Ormoc City was one of the many steps undertaken in its journey toward charterhood.

The club’s emergence has not been without problems and controversies but the members are confident that just like a fledgling, the club would soon spread its wings and soar in the skies as it sets its date with history

Rotary Club of Panglao Island will soon be one of almost 34,000 clubs with over 1.22 million members in some 200 countries and territories worldwide that comprise Rotary International.

The club’s charter members have committed to spread the ideals of Rotary and help make a difference in the community with the commitment to serve, the drive and enthusiasm to encourage camaraderie and fellowship, and the will to develop the members’ leadership potentials

In a world rocked by turmoil and strife and beleaguered by conflicts and misunderstanding, it is indeed refreshing news that the quest for elusive peace and harmony that has been adopted by Rotary International as its theme for 2012 will be pursued by the newly- organized Rotary club through projects that would be of immense benefit to the community in an island in the Philippines blessed with white sandy beaches and sunny tropical weather all year long

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