The Philippine’s Premier Rotary District

[Rotary International History]

District 3810 is not a new district as others may think. It is the same district although with a much reduced area coverage; composed of the cities of Manila and Pasay; and the provinces of Cavite and Occidental Mindoro with 81 Rotary clubs as of RY 2007-08. The district number used to be 381, but starting in Rotary Year 1991-1992 a zero was added to the last digit of all Rotary districts in the whole world to give way to computerization. By 1999, the district composed of the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasay; Parañaque, Muntinlupa, and Las Piñas, the municipalities of Taguig and Pateros, and the provinces of Cavite, Occidental Mindoro and Palawan had 113 clubs with more than 4,500 Rotarians, and was the biggest in the country and in the world.

The Rotary International Board during its 4th meeting in Rotary Year 1997-98, at Evanston, Illinois, USA approved, in its decision No. 367, dated June 1998 the redistricting plan and the application of RI District 3810 to create District 3830 out of the former’s territorial jurisdiction. The redistricting was effective July 1, 1999, which released the cities of Makati, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, the towns of Taguig and Pateros and the province of Palawan.

At present there are ten Rotary districts in the Philippines namely: (Luzon) Districts 3770, 3780, 3790, 3800, 3810, 3820 and 3830; (Western Visayas and Western Mindanao) District 3850, (Eastern Visayas and Eastern Mindanao) District 3860; and (Central Mindanao) District 3870.

The history of D3810 is intertwined with the history of Rotary in the Philippines. Tracing back the history of Rotary in the Philippines, it was in RY 1918-1919 when the 1st Rotary club in the Philippines and in Asia was chartered – The Rotary Club of Manila on June 1, 1919. Rotary began in the year 1919 in the Philippines when a Manila businessman, Leon J. Lambert, corresponded with John Poole, then president of the International Association of Rotary Clubs. Roger D. Pinneo of RC Seattle (Washington) was sent to the Philippines to assist in organizing Rotary in Asia. The first club to be chartered in the Philippines was RC Manila on June 1st, 1919 with 38 Charter Members (2 Filipinos - Gabriel Lao and Gregorio Nieva, 1 Chinese – Alfonso Sycip; and 35 Americans.)

In 1932, RC Cebu became the second club to be chartered in the Philippines followed by RC Iloilo in 1933. When Rotary International adopted a general redistricting in RY 1936-37, District 81 was created for the eleven clubs in China, Hong Kong, and the three clubs in the Philippines.

After a year, District 81 was changed to District 96 with the Governor coming from RC Shanghai, R.O.C., and the position for the third vice president of R.I. going to Carlos P. Romulo of the Philippines. Bacolod was admitted the same year. However, during the RY 1938-39, R.I. created District 81 once again for the Philippines Clubs with PP George Malcolm of RC Manila as District Governor and again Carlos P. Romulo serving as R.I. Director. Before the end of Malcolm’s term, there were a total of five Clubs in the Philippines chartered between 1932-39. In addition to Manila, Cebu and Iloilo; Bacolod – June 1937; Baguio – February 1938; Davao – October 1938; Dagupan – December 1938; and Dumaguete – February 1939. At the outbreak of World War II, there were already 8 Rotary clubs in the Philippines. The war began with Theodore L. Hall as governor; all eight clubs were disbanded because of the hostilities. In 1946, Gil J. Puyat was named as the first Filipino governor, and RC Tarlac became the first new club after the war.

During RY 1950-51, the Philippines District number was changed to District 48 with PP Fernando Manalo as District Governor. District 48 had a total of 26 Clubs all over the country, including Tacloban – September 1946; Tarlac – November 1946; Zamboanga – March 1948; Naga – March 1948; Cagayan de Oro – April 1948; Cabanatuan – July 1948; Malolos – July 1949; San Fernando, Pampanga – November 1949; Lucena – February 1950; Batangas – March 1950; San Pablo City – June 1950; Legaspi – 1950; Oroquieta – October 1950; Dipolog – December 1950; Laoag – February 1951; and Cotabato – 1951.

In 1957, Philippine District 48 was changed to District 385. The past president of the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro, PP Hernando Pineda became the District Governor. By the end of his term, the Philippines had a total of 37 Clubs. Because Philippines Rotary kept on growing District 385 was divided during RY 1964-65 creating District 380 for Luzon and Palawan, and District 385 for Visayas, Mindoro and Mindanao. The first Governor of District 380 was PRIP M.A.T. Caparas of Rotary Club of Caloocan with 35 Rotary Clubs under him while District 385, Governor Leonardo Gallardo of RC Bacolod had 27 Clubs. The following year saw the transfer of the Rotary Club of San Jose, Mindoro from District 385 to 380.

In 1977-78, it was the turn of District 380 to split into Districts 380 and 382. The City of Manila’s northern boundary and Pasig River was the dividing line. Governorship went to PP Ernani Certeza of RC San Juan for District 380 with 49 Clubs, and PP Teofilo Reyes of RC Manila, District 382 with 44 clubs.

In 1984-1985 the territory of District 382 comprised the combined territories of the present Districts 3810, 3820 and 3830. PDG Lorenzo “Enchong” See was privileged to serve as the last governor of the big district. On July 1, 1985, the redistricting of District 382 took into effect with the Bicol region, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Oriental Mindoro belonging to District 382 with PP Ramon Cumagon as its first DG. The new District 381 covered the cities of Manila and Pasay, the suburban areas, and the provinces of Cavite, Palawan and Occidental Mindoro comprising 30 clubs with PP Juanito “Sonny” Ventura of RC Downtown Manila as the first Governor.

There are a total of six Governors who had served under District 381 and District Gov. Johnny C. Aruego of RC Downtown Manila was the seventh but the first under District 3810. The last Governor to administer 113 clubs of the district was Governor Sonny Coloma of RC University District Manila, and the first to govern a reduced territorial jurisdiction with 56 clubs was Governor Frankie Roman of RC Manila.