by: Dr. Chris Sorongon

27 July 2016

            Who is not a Rotarian here? Please raise your right hand. (Thank you.)

            To those who are not Rotarians here, in behalf of all the Rotarians, please allow me to tell you who a Rotarian is according to the internet:

            A member of a Rotary Club, a humanitarian volunteer organization whose motto is SERVICE ABOVE SELF, guided by the 4 ways test and objects of Rotary; dedicated to serve humanity thru the different AREAS OF FOCUS AND AVENUES OF SERVICE

            What is a Rotarian?

  • A Rotarian is a person who digs wells from which they will never drink
  • A person who vaccinates children they will never meet
  • Who restores sight for those they will never see
  • Who builds houses they will never live in
  • Who educates children they will never know
  • Who plants trees they will never sit under
  • Who feeds hungry people, regardless of race, religion or politics
  • Who makes crawlers walk half a world away
  • Who knows real happiness, which as Albert Schweitser said, can only be found by serving others.

            So this morning, I would like to officially start my inspirational message by asking everyone in this beautiful hall to stand up and thank Rotaractors/Rotarians by means of a good hug.


            Before we sit down, let us give ourselves limang masigabong na palakpak for being the best Filipino Rotaractor/Rotarian that we could be.

We may settle down.

            Last year, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, was here in the Philippines. Being the Light of Asia, millions of us braved strong crowds of people and hurdled weathers, even typhoons, just to welcome him.

            In his dialogue with the youth at the University of Santo Tomas, he uttered these powerful words, “Do you feel with the poor? Then do something for the poor.”

            He then faithfully called everyone to be missionaries for the poor, and to serve those at the peripheries – places where the last, the lost and the least are found.

            The papal visit provided us an idea of what we could have overlooked before he came. Perhaps because we were so preoccupied dictating what the world needs and how it should be. We have probably forgotten, “to learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us,” as the Pope describes it.

            Because I am a Filipino Rotarian/Rotaractor first and foremost. And that’s how I first fell in love with service and to this only country we have.

            Because BEING A VOLUNTEER is not just an art, but it has a heart. Because being a Rotarian/Rotaractor is not just a science, but it has a conscience.

            Because when you are a Rotarian/Rotaractor, you know that every day, you will touch a life. But I hope, AFTER today a life will touch yours. Someone’s story which will remind you of your why – why you chose to be a Rotaractor.

            Please allow me to sum up in 2 words my message:  the first beautiful word is “collaboration”.If it takes a village to teach a child, it takes a nation of Filipinos, not citizens, to build the future of this country.

            Combining passion, excellence and service, these change-leaders (enumerate them one by one) created social innovations that challenged status quos, built communities and transformed lives.We are most privileged to have our mentors/our sponsor Rotary Club with us today and hopefully collaborate with them, in creating remarkable new concepts and landscapes of what it is to be truly in service for the poor, from the farthest municipality in Capiz to the urban poor in ROXAS CITY.

            They taught us that to build a nation of communities is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary process. They did not only make us feel young, but inspired us through their remarkable examples and overwhelming love for the Filipinos. More than the art of collaboration, they taught that for us to truly build this nation, we have to be our own E-D-G-E or everyday great examples. After all, actions speak louder than words.


The second beautiful word is “dream”.

            According to Pope Francis, “when you lose the capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love, and the energy of this love is lost.”More than an actualization of a Filipino dream, our HERCOR ROTARACT CLUB OF ROXAS is also an expression of love to the Philippines and to fellow Filipinos, a love that knows no geography.

            My personal dream for all of us is that we never lose our passion to be the best Filipino ROTARACTORS for and with the Philippines.

            And to make sure we never lose sight of this dream, we should always remember our why, our because.

            We might have diverse and different answers as to why we chose to be a Rotaractor, but I know, in the deepest crevices of our hearts, that we chose to be because we wanted to make sure that the future is bright and healthy.In doing so, we do not only unleash our dream through gift-giving, but we unleash our dream through self-giving.

            To be a Filipino Rotaractor/Rotarian is probably one of the best things a Filipino can be. And to be a Rotaractor is probably one of the most beautiful decisions to make in life.

            Because, we work with all our heart and might in the present to make sure that the future of the world we live in is well and healthy.

            Let us continue to be Filipino Rotaractors/Rotarians for the last, the lost and the least.

            Shape the Future of Rotary by just saying “Yes”:

  • Yes, I will lead that project
  • Yes, I will be there to assist my fellow Rotarians at the various projects
  • Yes, I will bring in a new member
  • Yes, I will share my ideas and my resources to make my club stronger

            In behalf of DG Ronnie Gabalda, CONGRATULATIONS TO ONE AND ALL. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL STAR TEAM ROTARY… Together Everyone Achieves More!