November 18, 2004
Cavite Economic Zone


The centennial year will definitely be a year of fun, of enjoyment, of fellowship at its finest. There will be many activities for these but let me just mention at least two.

This early I am inviting you to next year’s Centennial Discon 2005. As much as you enjoyed this year’s Discon, the Centennial Discon to be held on March 10-12 promises to be another fun filled extravaganza of Rotarians’ talents and Rotarians’ contagious spirit of excitement and camaraderie. My modest home club of the Rotary Club of Rosario under my Centennial President Leo Castillo and Discon Chairperson Marilou Estores, has pledge to work doubly hard to give you a Discon befitting of its Centennial character. The cooperation of the clubs of Manila, Pasay, Cavite and Mindoro will enhance and bring about a Discon that will be both memorable and meaningful. It will be a Discon to remember participated in by Rotarians, spouses and partners in service. This 3-day centennial-inspired Rotary celebration will feature high caliber speakers, hospitality, fashion show, concert, fireworks, Governor’s Ball and other numbers – all to celebrate Rotary’s 100th year of service to humanity. I invite you to join us in that memorable affair during this one and only centennial year of our lifetime.

And of course, you are all invited to the annual international convention of Rotary. And all of the Centennial activities will culminate at the Centennial International Convention in Chicago on June 18-22, 2005. Chicago is a great city known for its beautiful spots. Its skyline, buildings, beaches, recreational areas, great food, impressive architecture, amusement facilities and many other things that made Chicago the famous place that it is now. As you can imagine, it will be the ultimate of all Rotary International Conventions. This early, I am inviting all of you to join us and plan for this 2005 Chicago International Convention. World renown speakers will be invited. Modern electronic technology may enable us to have a worldwide Rotary meeting broadcast to every continent, directly from the Chicago convention stage. And surely there will be balloons, hospitality, and fireworks! Yes, it will be a convention to be remembered for at least the next 100 years. Yes! We want you to join us to the Chicago International Convention.

You have all seen this marvelous photograph of the earth taken from space: a blue jewel shining against the infinite darkness. This is our home.

Ours is a world of majestic mountains and awe-inspiring oceans, of great forests and vast deserts, of mighty rivers and tiny streams.

We make our homes in big cities and small towns…in remote villages and on distant farms. This is our world today in the year 2004. But because it is changing so quickly, we can only wonder: What will this world be like for our children...and our children’s children?

And why is it that you and I, as Rotarians, must ask ourselves this question — one that we cannot possibly answer with any degree of certainty?

We must ask it because we care. We care about other people...whether we know them personally or simply as fellow human beings whom we may never meet.

We care about our communities...the community in which we live and all those many thousands of other communities that make up our global village.

We care about the world in which we live... its trees, its plants and animals, its lakes, rivers, and oceans, and its people, who, after all, are just like us. Like the rays of the beautiful rainbow, the world is composed of caring people, just like us. We care about our world today, and we care just as deeply about its future.

You and I care, and Rotary cares, and that is why I am so proud to be a Rotarian.

We care about promoting peace and goodwill.

We care about helping children who are starving, who are abused, who are on drugs, who can be saved from polio and other diseases, and who can grow up to be productive citizens, if given a chance.

We care about helping families obtain the bare essentials for a decent life.

We care. This is what makes Rotary so strong. And through The Rotary Foundation, we can address all of these issues that we care about and make a profound difference in our world.

Today, many thousands of children can look forward to a better life because our Foundation’s humanitarian grants have provided food to eat, water to drink, and books to read. Because Rotarians care, our Foundation has provided impoverished families with a roof over their heads, access to health care, and an opportunity to earn a living. Because our Foundation cares, people who are worlds apart come together in friendship and international goodwill.

During our centennial year, there will be much discussion of our past, but even more, I hope, about our future. We cannot talk about the future without talking about children. They are the future. All the great and grand acts of service by Rotarians throughout their first 100 years have, in the final count, focused on the children of their communities and the world. And all of our Rotary dreams for the future must encompass their dreams.

Let us dream, then, of a world in which all children can thrive. 

A world in which no child goes to bed with an empty stomach

A world in which every sick child gets medical attention

A world in which every child has the opportunity to learn how to read and write

  A world in which all children have a roof over their heads, warm clothes to wear, and shoes for their feet

A world in which every child knows the love and compassion of caring adults

  A world in which fear and despair are foreign concepts; a world in which young lives are marked instead with hope and the chance for a better life

The poet Carl Sandburg stated, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

  Without a dream, that first Rotary club in Chicago never would have come together in 1905.

  Without a dream, The Rotary Foundation would not have been created 12 years later by Arch Klumph.

  Without a dream, more than a billion children might not have been spared the pain of a crippling disease called polio.

Yet, as lofty as many Rotary’s dreams are, they also are solidly grounded in reality. Rotarians, perhaps better than anyone else, know that it takes hard work and perseverance to make a dream come true.

As one Rotary club president said 88 years ago: “Good Rotarians are dreamers but with this qualification – they are practical in their dreaming. In their daily duties, they think of the other fellow. They pick up the broken glass in the street so their neighbor’s boy or girl may not cut their bare feet.” I’d like to think that no matter where our dreams take us – whatever lofty goal we reach in this life – Rotarians will always be there to pick up the glass and protect children from harm.

I am confident that each of you will have the inspiration and courage to unlock your potential, to dare to dream, to dare to take the risks, to dare to achieve. I know each of you can follow that dream, your Rotary dream, working together, we can make those dreams come true.

Thank you and mabuhay tayong lahat!