Blind Rotary president rallies Rotarians PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 July 2016 14:54



LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…” ( Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in John 15:13, the Holy Bible).

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STIRRING SPEECH FROM A BLIND ROTARY CLUB PRESIDENT: I have been a Rotarian belonging to the Rotary Club of Intramuros Manila for the last 12 years or so, with 10 years of that period as a past president for two Rotary years—2006-2007 and 2011 to 2012—but I was never truly amazed by speeches delivered during inductions and other Rotary affairs.

On July 22, 2016, however, I was literally teary-eyed, and my hairs were standing on their edges, with goose bumps or, as doctors are won’t to say, cutis anserina or horripilation, all over me, when I witnessed the inaugural speech of All Star President Nelia Cabigas, accepting the presidency of the Rotary Club of Meycauayan Jewels for Rotary Year 2016-2017.

It was not just an acceptance speech trying to rally her members to become outstanding Rotarians giving “service above self”, as District 3770 Governor George Bunuan challenged her and her Club on Friday, during its Fourth Handover and Induction Ceremonies which also saw the chartering of its youth arm, the Rotaract Club of Meycauayan Jewels.

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FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD FROM ROTARY PRESIDENT: Delivered in straight Filipino (she is, after all, from the land of great Filipino poets, Bulacan), the speech was a stirringly inspirational outpouring of faith and trust in God, indicating that she has risen higher beyond her total lack of eyesight (she is blind since 1990), and is now blessedly focused on serving and satisfying the needs of her fellow human beings, even if they may happen to be more physically endowed, through Rotary.

Applauded endlessly in her entire discourse by an adoring group of Rotarians and members of other socio-charitable institutions from Batanes to Batangas, President Nelia intoned: “I don’t consider my being blind an obstacle or a challenge. Rather, my physical handicap, my blindness, is a blessing from God, as it allowed me to concentrate more on helping other equally handicapped persons.”

Thanking her family—especially her “very supportive” husband, former Meycauayan Mayor Ernesto Cabigas who is himself a past president of another Rotary Club in Bulacan—her Club members, and her associates in other socio-civic groups like Inner Wheel, Nelia said they are the “stars” that enabled her to see what needed to be done to help more people (see photos at

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BLESSING, RATHER THAN AN OBLIGATION: She urged them to continue displaying the great commitment to serve that they had shown when they first chartered the Rotary Club of Meycauayan Jewels four years ago, under the leadership of then District 3770 Governor Pitchoy Marquez (now the Chairman of District 3770’s Philippine College of District Governors), asking them to draw strength from the thought that serving in Rotary is not an obligation but a blessing.

President Nelia reminded everyone that not all people who are called by God to serve others actually are given the chance or the opportunity to give service. She said only those who are truly blessed by God manage to serve, and Rotarians, she added, belong to a rare breed of blessed individuals who show “Rotary Serving Humanity”.

Guess what happened after Nelia finished her speech? She was given a rousing standing ovation, led no less by District 3770 Governor George Bunuan. Indeed, being recognized for serving others is much greater than any material blessing (even perhaps the bountiful material blessing of Nelia as the sole Rotary International franchisee in the Philippines selling Rotary products).

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PLEASE LISTEN: “Ang Tanging Daan” (The Sole Way): a Bible study and prayer session online could now be heard, 24 HOURS a day, in the Philippines and the world at or (and look for “Ang Tanging Daan” broadcasts). Phone: 0922 833 43 96, 0918 574 0193, 0977 805 9058. Email: