The Beginnings In 1970, a group of Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong started organizing a new club for the municipalities of Pasig and Pateros, then within the Mandaluyong club’s jurisdiction. They included Jess Solomon, Emil Ozaeta, Kishu Sehwani, Ito Carlos and Ernie Paje, together with the then Extension Officer of RI District 380, Mon Hechanova of Quezon City. Out of a series of preliminary meetings at Madrid Restaurant on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) with prospective recruits, a new group began to take shape.
By November 1970, this group was sufficiently organized to attain “provisional club” status, meeting at noon every Tuesday in the Madrid Restaurant. A charter list with 29 names was sent to RI, and on January 18, 1971, a charter formally recognizing the new club was signed by the RI President. Thus was the Rotary Club of Pasig born.
In its early years, the club tried out different places and times for its weekly meetings. Aside from the Madrid Restaurant, there was a hall in the provincial capitol, the Light House at Meralco, the cafeteria of the Manila Chronicle (now Benpres) Building on Meralco Avenue, the Marco Polo Restaurant on Shaw Boulevard, and for many years, the Green Valley Country Club. In 1985, the club moved its meeting to the Valle Verde Country Club where it continues to meet at present every Thursday at noon. Every once in a while, some members get restless, and the club has tried out other venues, but so far it continues to meet at the Valle Verde Country Club, its home for the last twenty-nine years.
The Line of Presidents: Fifty-one gentlemen have led the club as president: Jose V. Angeles, Teodoro M. Yabut, Miguel V. Ampil, Julio B. Francia Jr., Ernesto E. Lichauco, Justo E. Manalo, Katipunan M. de los Reyes, Virgilio O. Basilio, Roberto M. Paterno, Edilberto C. Gamboa, Rizalino C. Concepcion, Augusto S. Sanchez, Tomas V. Portillo, Benjamin P. de Guzman, Anastacio A. de los Reyes, Rodolfo V. Cruz, Ignacio S. Jose Jr., Peter M. Javier, Achilles G. Bartolome, Juan Y. Fuentes Jr., Pedro M. Sy-Quia Jr., Alberto S. Tayengco, Alberto M. Albano, Romeo B. Manuel, Valentin T. Chua, Alfonso L. Po, Lorenzo R. Regino III, Delfin M. Viola III, Victor A. Aquino, Jose F. Mabanta, Renato R. Ermita, Antonio A. Henson, Edgardo M. Bolinao, Celso P. Ylagan II, Monico S. Sehwani, Arjan N. Ramnani, Jose L. Jota, Rafael M. Garcia III, Conrado L. Cuesta, Delfin B. Samson, Francisco Colayco, Alberto Blancaflor, Aurelio Gomez, Herminio Orbe, Horacio Paredes, Rafael Garcia IV, Nerio P. Laino, Rogelio S.P. Lim, Jesus B. Acantilado, Peter John U. Javier and Nick G. Guzman. The current and 52nd President is Renato Carlos “RJ” H. Ermita, Jr., who is a second generation Rotarian.
Of the original 29 charter members, 3 are still members of the club. All in all, since the beginning until today (January 27, 2015), a total of 359 businessmen and professionals have at one time or another joined the club as members. Many have come and gone. The size of the club has waxed and waned. Today, with 72 members, it is one of the larger clubs in its District 3800, but quite far from the historical peak of 85 that it reached in the eighties and again most recently in 1995.
Unsteady First Steps As often happens with similar organizations, the first years saw the club flounder unsteadily in fledgling infancy, trimming down to the dedicated core of members and groping uncertainly for meaningful direction. The dogged patience and persistent enthusiasm of the charter officers led by Charter President Totoy Angeles, as well as the second set that took over in July 1971 led by Teddy Yabut and the third led by Mike Ampil in 1972, saw the club through these growing pains. Some old-timers remember walking into meetings with less than ten in attendance. Under its second administration, however, the club felt sufficiently organized to stage a fund-raising show Promises, Promises at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Good second generation recruits took the place of the charter members who had lost interest, and the club gradually grew in strength and number. Under the third set of officers (1972-73), the club held a successful seminar on Youth Manpower Development and Training and started performing some services for the Rizal High School.