The article below is lifted from the Rotary Global History Fellowship website
History of Rotary in the Philippines
Part of our History of Rotary in Asia Section
In 1919, Leon J. Lambert wrote the president (John Poole) of the International Association of Rotary Clubs on the possibility of organizing Rotary in Manila. Roger D. Pineo (RC Seattle) was sent to Manila to help. . . and on June 1st of that year, the Rotary Club of Manila (with 38 members) became the first Rotary Club in Asia. The Rotary Club of Cebu was born in 1932, followed by the Rotary Club of Iloilo in 1933.
The three clubs were called “non-district clubs” directly under the supervision of the R.I. President and Board of Directors.
In 1936- R.I. District 81 was created for the 11 clubs in China and Hongkong, plus the 3 clubs in the Philippines, under District Governor Chengting T. Wong of Shanghai. The following year, District 81 became District 91 with D.G. Fong Sec of Shanghai as governor. The Rotary Club of Bacolod was added as the fourth club in the Philippines. 1938 saw the creation of District 81, this time for the Philippines with George A. Malcolm as Governor. . . three new clubs were chartered (Baguio, Dagupan and Davao).
In 1940 – with Theodore L. Hall as governor – World War II broke out, and all the clubs in the Philippines were disbanded.
The war ended in 1945 and the Rotary Club of Dagupan was re-admitted… followed by Manila, and the rest. District 81 was re-established with Theodore L. Hall as governor. In R.Y. 1946-47, Gil J. Puyat (RC Manila) was appointed first Filipino District Governor. The Rotary Club of Tarlac was the first NEW club admitted after the war.
The practice electing governors was instituted… and Marianito F. Lichauco (RC Dagupan) became the first elected governor of the Philippine District. In 1950-51, District 81 became District 48 with Fernando Manalo (RC Baguio) as governor of 22 clubs and 834 Rotarians… And this was changed to District 385 under Governor Hernando Pineda (RC Cagayan de Oro) with 35 clubs and 1,300 Rotarians.
The Rotary Year 1963-64 had Alfonso Oboza (RC Davao) as the last governor of the whole Philippines as one district. . . this was soon split into District 380 (Luzon, Mindoro and Palawan) and 385 (Visayas and Mindanao). District 380 had M.A.T Caparas (RC Caloocan), who, more than 20 years later became the first and only Filipino to serve as R.I. President, with 29 clubs, and District 385 (with 33 clubs) had Governor Leonardo Gallardo (RC Bacolod).
Our story continues with only District 380 (parent district of 3790)… District 380 in 1976-77 had 80 clubs and about 3,000 Rotarians. The last governor of the district (covering Luzon) was Antonio P. Tambunting, for the next year the district was split again into 380 and 382. District 380 with Ernani V. Certeza as governor – covered all areas north of Pasig River (except the City of Manila).
With 44 clubs and 1,400 Rotarians, District 380 was growing fast, so that in 1982-83 then District Governor Mar Un Ocampo III (RC Central Tarlac) started the groundwork for another split. This happened the following year by the creation of District 3790 (covering the Northwestern part of Luzon) with Carlos Santiago (RC Baguio) as the first governor.
The above is from an article which was published in the February 2007 issue of the Philippine Rotary Magazine. Courtesy of Past President Henry Onia, RC Hundred Islands, District 3790, Philippines.