by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com
LOS ANGELES — Close to 30,000 Rotarians from all over the world, including Rotary Clubs from the Philippines, will attend the 2008 Rotary International Convention to be held at the LA Convention Center from June 11 to 18. This was announced by Vic Ching, President of Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown (RCHF), during a courtesy call to Philippine Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon recently.
The RCHF is the only FilAm-chartered and established Rotary Club in the United States. It is celebrating its first anniversary this month. “We are one of the hosts clubs of the 2008 Rotary International Convention, and we have been named to host one event,” Ching said. “Our club has been given the task of hosting a one-night hospitality suite at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.”
He said that up to 5,000 Rotarians from the Philippines are expected to attend the Los Angeles convention. Sonny Gancayco, the club’s incoming president, said that the 2008 convention is a good opportunity for FilAm organizations to showcase their projects by participating in the trade component of the convention. “We are looking for local retailers to partner with us in this convention,” Gancayco said.
Addressing Philippine Tourism Authority Director Mary Anne Cuevas, Guila Maramba said that it would be worthwhile for the tourism industry to be a participant or a sponsor of the convention. Maramba and club president Ching informed the Consul General and PTA Director Cuevas that a 5-day sponsorship would cost $3,000.
Ching also announced that a plan is in the works to invite the world-renowned Madrigal Singers to perform in some segments of the convention, but they would need sponsors to help defray the cost of air transportation. He said that the convention’s potential tourism draw is at least 100,000 persons.
In a related development, Maramba told the Consul General that RCHF is putting together a $300K Internet-connectivity project for 42 public high schools in the Central Luzon province of Pampanga. David Maxwell, an officer of another Los Angeles City Rotary Club, announced that his club is on schedule for “Operation Smile” project that would provide free reconstructive surgeries to 220 indigent Filipinos this coming April. “These are all laudable projects. We do what we can because our funds are limited, and our participation in projects like these requires that we fundraise constantly.”
Cecille Ramos, President of the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council also unveiled a project called “Adopt a Parol” (Christmas lantern). “We want to show to the rest of the state that this part of Los Angeles is safe for other California residents to visit. We want to make the Historic Filipinotown as a tourist spot,” Ramos said. She said the project would involve hanging 174 seven-foot diameter parols in a stretch of Temple St. from Alvarado to Hoover. These parols would draw power from the utility poles. Adoption of the parols would cost $1000 apiece, according to David Rockello of HFTNC. The parols would be lighted on Thanksgiving Day until January 6, 2009.