Impressions of RCBaguio

The following is lifted from the 17 April 1999 issue of The Canao, written by PP Cy Fagar. Found among my collection of “garbage-bound” paper items; this is another great example of what treasures there could be in locations we take for granted. Items in parentheses are my additions and translations.

Past President Cyrus “Cy” Fagar (RY 1992-1993) migrated with his family to California, more than a decade ago. This article is his magnum opus– on his early impressions and fondest recollections of our RCBaguio. I respectfully invite everyone to find parallels with their own experiences as Rotarians.

It was last 26 February 1999, when Canao EIC Flo (Bayquen) and I had a late morning merienda (coffee break) at Casa Vallejo (formerly the home of RCBaguio). In between sips of coffee, I happened to pick up a copy of the 61st Anniversary issue of the Canao. I kinda mentioned casually to Flo na OK tong article ni (that this article is ok–from) Mike (Pearson). One thing lead to another and somehow, I got conned into writing an article for the Canao… which, by the way, I haven’t done for sometime. From how I understood Flo, she wanted it to be what I consider a typical high school article for English Composition, whose title might as well be: “My Impressions of Rotary Through the Years.” I said to her that I will make one pero by-installment ko gaga win (but will do it by-installment). So I suspect that by the time this article finally sees print, chances are, wala na kami sa Baguio (we would have migrated from Baguio).

I was first inducted into Rotary on 29 January 1983, together with former Rotarian Tony Perez of Mead Johnson. PDG Ikong Reyes inducted us. This induction happened after almost an eternity of attending RCBaguio meetings at the Swiss Grill of Pines Hotel (here SM Baguio now stands). I think Tony and I started attending RCBaguio meetings as early as September of the previous year. I remember those Saturdays. We used to sit inconspicuously at the rear of the room. Para bang neophytes sa fraternity (like neophytes in a fraternity). Most of the time, we ended up sitting with Heinz “57” Woelke in “his” table near the door.

My Early Impressions of RCBaguio

There was one thing I noticed–as remarkable, with the RCBaguio of yesteryears. It was definitely elitist. It was as if there was an inner circle of Rotarians and that before you can be considered a true Rotarian, you somehow had to prove your worth. Tony and I tried hard “to belong” and prove our worth. When we were asked to join committees, we did and we worked. And we tried to be noticed para maisali kami (so we will be included). But somehow, sa pakiramdam namin, second class Rotarian pa rin kami noon (we felt that we remained as second class Rotarians). Forgive me… but we are talking of my early impressions… remember?

Anyway, what happened to me next is something that is usually written about in “Membership Development and Membership Retention” manuals of Rotary. My interest in Rotary started to wane. I started absenting myself from the Saturday meetings and instead made up in other clubs. Nobody really missed me–I think– such that soon after, my interest in Rotary altogether disappeared. In 1985–or, was it 1986, I went to the States. It was at his time that I found an excellent excuse to get out of Rotary. I gave the usual “Leave of Absence” request and after that, I never bothered to update on things… even after I returned from my trip.

My Ann Bing, however, continued to find meaning in Rotary. She stayed on actively as a Rotary Ann, even in my absence and somehow, maybe because of her being active, she got elected as the incoming president soon after.

With Bing still in Rotary, I still met a lot of Rotarians. And to make a long story short, I joined RCBaguio again during its golden year in 1988. But this time, I said to myself, it will be different. And it was!

To be continued in a subsequent post. See the better part of PP Cy’s magnum opus… My Memories of RCBaguio That Will Last a Lifetime.

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