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See also RC Waling-Waling Davao


Giovanna McKay, RC Waling-Waling Davao, RGHF Official District Historian posted this 27 April 2008

(By: PDG Xavier C. Ledesma and PDG Antonio Tambunting, Jr.)*


Fourteen years after the first Rotary club was organized by Paul P. Harris in Chicago, the Rotary movement reached the shores of the Philippines when the Rotary Club of Manila, the first Rotary club in Asia, was chartered in June 1919. 

Thirteen years later, RC Manila sponsored the birth of the first Rotary club outside Manila and the second in the country Rotary Club of Cebu on November 26, 1932 with 26 charter members.  This was followed in 1933 by the organization of the Rotary Club of Iloilo. 


In the early days, Rotary clubs were under the direct supervision of the President and the Board of Directors of Rotary International.  During the presidency of Arch Klump (he of The Rotary Foundation fame) in RY 1916-17, the 186 clubs then in existence were divided into districts.  Then in RY 1936-37, Rotary International adopted a general redistricting program that created 23 new districts and changed the boundaries of many others.  Consequently, District 81, the first district in Southeast Asia was created.  It was composed of 26 clubs 22 from Mainland China, one from Hong Kong and three from the Philippines.  The fourth Rotary club in the Philippines RC Bacolod was born soon after. 

Short-lived, however, was the original District 81.  For in RY 1937-38, it was changed to District 96.  It was also in RY 1937-38 that the Rotary Club of Baguio was organized. 

But the following year, RY 1938-39, District 81 was recreated with George Malcolm, an American, as its first District Governor.  Under Governor Malcolm, the Rotary Clubs of Dagupan, Davao, and Dumaguete were chartered.  Also, the first District Conference was held in Manila with 214 members from five Rotary clubs in attendance.  In the same year, RC Iloilo hosted the first District Assembly with 14 Rotarians present.  In 1940, the second District Assembly, which was held in Cebu, drew 66 delegates. 

The War Years

During the Second World War, all the eight clubs in the Philippines (RCs Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Baguio, Dagupan, Davao and Dumaguete) were disbanded with RC Dagupan becoming the first club to readmitted to R.I. in 1945.  The period after the War saw Rotary rebuilding in occupied countries, including the Philippines.  The first Filipino to serve as trustee of Rotary International was M.A.T. Caparas.  In the same year, Carlos P. Romulo, who served as 3rd VP of R.I. in 1937-38, became the first Filipino honorary trustee of The Rotary Foundation.  Theodore L. Hall, who was Governor from 1939 to 1942, was again the Governor of District 81 in RY 1945-46 that saw the readmission to R.I. of RCs Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete and Manila. 

In RY 1946-47, Gil J. Puyat was named the third Governor of District 81 and the first Filipino District Governor, eventually becoming, in 1948, the first Filipino vice president of R.I. During his term, RC Iloilo was readmitted to R.I., while RCs Tacloban and Tarlac were organized. 

In RY 1947-48, Mariano Lichaoco of RC Dagupan became the first non-RC Manila Rotarian to become District Governor.  He was also the first to be elected to the position.  This was the start of the practice of rotating the governorship so that in RY 1948-49, Ben Gaston of RC Bacolod was elected the first Governor to come from outside Luzon.  It took 29 years from the time Rotary reached the Philippines for a Visayan to become R.I. District Governor.  Towards the end of RY 1947-48 Rotary spread to Northern Mindanao when RC Cagayan de Oro was chartered on April 22, 1948. 

The First Cebuano District Governor

Rotary International changed District 81 to District 48 in RY 1950-51 and the following year, Vicente L. Faelnar of the Rotary Club of Cebu became the first Cebuano District Governor.  RC Dumaguete produced its first Governor in the person of Ramon Ponce de Leon who served in RY 1954-55. 

District 48, which had 35 clubs, was again changed to District 385 in RY 1957-58.  This year marked the election of Hernando Pineda of RC Cagayan de Oro City as the first Rotarian from Mindanao to become District Governor.  Among the other Governors of District 385 were Joaquin L. Panis, (RY 1960-61) and Alfonso C. Oboza (RY 1963-64).  The late Jack Panis was from RC Cebu while the late Ponching Oboza was from RC Davao. 

RY 1964-65 saw the subdivision of District 385 in District 380 for Luzon and 385 for Visayas and Mindanao.  M.A.T. Caparas became the first DG of the new district, while Leonardo F. Gallardo of RC Bacolod was District 385 Governor. 

There were 27 clubs in Luzon and 25 clubs in VisMin at the time.

Among the Governors who served the subdivided District 385 were Vicente Lozada (RY 1966-67, Leon M. Garcia (RY 1967-68), Federico A. Reyes (RY 1970-71) and Leonor S. Lozano (RY 1971-72), who respectively, came from RCs Cebu West, Davao, Cebu and Davao.


In RY 1974-75, District 385 was redistricted with 30 clubs coming from Panay Island, Negros Occidental, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and what is now District 3870 (Northern and Central Mindanao covering the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Iligan, Marawi and cotabato and the provinces of Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat) comprising the old District 385.  Another 30 clubs situated in Central and Eastern Visayas and Eastern Mindanao formed the new District 386.  Thus was born District 386 with Mariano S. Ilano Jr. of RC Cebu West as its Rotary Governor.  District 386 covers the islands of Cebu (including Mactan), Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Siquijor, and the provinces of Negros Oriental, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and South Cotabato. 

During RY 1984-85, District 385 was again subdivided into R.I. District 385 comprising 44 clubs from Western Visayas and Western Mindanao and R.I. District 387 consisting of another 34 clubs from Northern and Central Mindanao. District 386 maintained its status quo.



The organization of the Rotary Clubs of Cebu (1932), Davao (1938), Dumaguete (1939) and Tacloban (1946) in what is now District 3860 was followed by the chartering of three clubs in the 50s: RCs Butuan (1954), Catbalogan (1956) and General Santos City (1957). 

The decade of the 60s saw the formation of seven new clubs, namely, RCs Cebu West (1961), Koronadal (1961), Tagum (1961), East Davao (1965), Ormoc (1966), Digos (1968), and South Davao (1968).

The 1970s was a period of rapid expansion in the district with the organization of 22 clubs: RCs Catarman, Tagbilaran, and West Davao in 1971; RCs Mandaue, Butuan Borth, Cebu South, Nasipit, and Mati in 1972; RCs Toril Davao, and Surigao in (1974); RCs Central Davao, Dadiangas, and San Juanico in (1975); RCs Cebu North and Metropolitan Davao in (1976); RCs Talisay, Dumaguete South and Mandaue North in (1977); RCs Bansalan and Metro Cebu in (1978); and RCs North Davo and Metro Dadiangas in (1979).

Another 19 clubs were added to the ever-growing roster of Rotary clubs in District 386 during the first half of the 1980s as follows: RCs Sta. Ana (Davao), Marbel, Toledo, Tolong and Cebu East in (1980); RC Cebu Fuente in (1982); RCs Cebu Central and Cebu Lahug in (1983; RCs Dumaguete North, El Pardo de Cebu, Metro Tagbilaran, and Mactan in (1984); and RCs Bogo, Datu Silongan, Mandaue East, Ormoc Bay, Cebu Port Center, Cebu University District and Metro Surigao in (1985).  

By the end of 1985, there were only 55 clubs in District 386.  In contrast there were 66 clubs in District 385.  (However, when District 385 was subdivided in RY 1984-85, it retained only 33 clubs.  The other 33 clubs went to the new District 387.)  But the second half of the decade and the 1990s would see another spurt in the growth of the district so that by March of the year 2000 District 3860 would have exactly 100 clubs. 


So far only 17 clubs situated in what is now District 3860 (the zero was added in RY 1991-92 during the term of PDG Johnny Asencio) have produced 36 Governors belonging to the District with five coming from RC Davao (PDGs Ponching Oboza, Leony Garcia, Onor Lozano, Hila Hilario, and Nick del Rosario), four from RC Cebu (PDGs Tingting Faelnar, Kack Panis, Rex Reyes, and Manny de Veyra), five from RC Cebu West (PDGs Tico Lozada, Marianing Ilano, Joe Lardizabal, Toto Cupin and IPDG Ray Patuasi), four from RC East Davao (PDGs Totoy Cabarroguis, Hermie Villano, Boy Reyes, and Raoul Hilario), three from General Santos (PDGs Jorge Royeca, Armin Cucueco and Jess Veneracion), two from RC West Davao (PDGs Bading Angala and Tony Garcia), two from RC Dumaguete (PDGs Mon Ponce de Leon and King Doromal), three from RC San Juanico (PDGs Naning Militante, Roqs Tiu and Pabs Quianzon), two from RC Tacloban (PDGs Tito Redoa and Toting Solis), and one each from RCs Ormoc (PDG Luing Fran), Koronadal (PDG Art Pingoy), Cebu Fuente (PDG Sar Estalilla), Dadiangas (PDG Johnny Asencio), Metro Cebu (PDG Xavier Ledesma), Mandaue (PDG Dodong Alegrado), Cebu Port Center (PDG Anton Florendo), Central Davao (PDG Monet Titol) and Downtown Davao (IPDG Len Abellera-Magno), Metro Surigao (DG Jun Almeda).

Of the 40 Rotary Governors mentioned above (the figure includes incumbent Governor Jun Almeda. 13 come from Davao City. Another 13 hail from Cebu, while six are from the Leyte/Samar area with another five coming from South Cotabato.  Four others come from Dumaguete City, Surigao City, Bislig City.

District 3860, as of end of 2005 had 103 clubs and close to 2,294 Rotarians, in the biggest of the 10 Rotary Districts in the Philippines. 


(PDG Xavier C. Ledesma served as Governor of District 3860 in 1992-93, while PDG Jun Tambunting was Governor of District 380 in 1976-77)



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