Making Our Dreams a Fact
History of CISV Philippines
How CISV got to the Philippines is a serendipitous story. In 1961, on one of her sorties to the United States to attend yet another conference of psychologists, Dr. Estefania (Fanny) Aldaba-Lim, learned about CISV from the founder herself, Dr. Doris Allen, a colleague. Impressed by the organisation’s goal- to promote world peace and understanding through children- Fanny needed little convincing when Doris urged her to bring the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP). Although GSP’s mission was different from that of CISV’s, the two organisations shared certain commonalities (nurturing the youth to become better citizens, for example). Moreover, GSP has the organisational platform which CISV could use as a jumping off point.
The nitty-gritty of starting CISV Philippines fell on Thelma (Daday) Fullon, then GSP’s program director. When we received our first invitation to a CISV village in 1962, it was Daday who that delegation together and prepared it got the big maiden event. And when we hosted our first village in 1966, it was Daday who served as Camp Director. Daday herself attended a CISV Village as Adult leader and later represented the Philippines in the CISV International Board Meeting (IMB) and chaired the International Committee for Village.
Another CISV old guard who joined the organisation in 1962 is Rosalinda (Linda) Lopez, who is related to Fanny by affinity and is a parent of one of the girls in the first Philippine delegation to a CISV Village. Linda would mother CISV Philippines for the next 17 years.
Our first delegation to a CISV Village went to Japan in 1962, and was made up of Mariju Lopez, Chiqui Roces, Luis Stuart, and Ernesto Fullon. with GSPs Ligaya de los Angeles as Adult Leader. From this point onward, delegations all came from Manila, though not for long. In 1969 CISV Bacolod in Negros Occidental; the Visayan city sent its first delegation that year and hosted a village the following year.
Following reciprocal arrangement, the Philippines, as a full-fledged National Association, not only receives yearly invitations to CISV Villages overseas, it also hosts a CISV Village at a regular clip. Traditionally, international Villages are held between July and August, or the summer months of Western countries. We are among the exceptions. July and August being our rainy season, we hold our international Villages in December, when weather conditions in the country are more ideal. Our first Philippine Village was held in December 1966 at Ating Tahanan, a GSP campsite in Baguio City. The succeeding Villages during the early years were in held in Nalinac, Bauang, La Union (1968), Mambucal Negros Occidental (1970), Los Banos, Laguna (1973), Anhawan Beach Resort in Iloilo (1977), the Montelibano Compound in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (1979) and the Montelibano farm in Murcia, Negros Occidental (1982).
Starting in 1971 we ventured into other CISV activities, initially by hosting the Asian Regional Leadership Workshop at Lynville-by-the-Sea in Paranaque, Metro Manila. Forty delegates from various Asian countries attended the event. Six years later, in 1977, to open CISV Philippines to children from the public schools, we organised an experimental National Village run along with CISV lines, with Child Delegation and Adult Leaders coming from the nation’s 12 regions. Held in the GSP campsite in Los Banos, Laguna, this unique first-of-its-kind CISV Village was CISV Philippines’ contribution to the UN’s Decade of the Filipino Child as well as an adult offering in celebration of the organisations’ 15th year.
As CISV was growing larger, a National Membership Meeting was called in February 1978 to formally create a National Association. Fifty-five members drove to the Lopez country house, Pugad Marilo, in Balayan, Batangas for the two-day gathering that also formalised the association’s three chapters- Manila, Bacolod, and Iloilo, which were headed by respectively, by Amelia Guevara, Cristina Montelibano, and Ruth Javelosa. Three months later, CISV was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At the Balayan meeting, it was also decided that the Philippines would participate in the annual CISV International Board Meeting (IBM); Natividad (Nati) Toribio was chosen as our first IMB representative. Two months later the National Membership Meeting, on May 22, CISV Philippines was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 1979, after serving as CISV Philippines president for 17 years, Linda Lopez retired from the job. In recognition of her remarkable dedication, we honoured her with a testimonial dinner at the Manila Hotel. The celebration was led by the incoming officers; Robert (Bobby) Montelibano, president; Vincent (Vince) Torres, vice president; Nati Toribio, secretary; and Vilma Almacen, treasurer. 1979 is also remembered as the year we sent our first Interchange delegates. It must be noted that Bobby served his post for 16 years (1981-1990). Vince always loved to say that he was “Bobby’s only vice.” Nati, already an old CISV hand who had several CISV feathers in her cap for serving as Adult Leader and Camp Director, many times over, would deepen her CISV involvement as National Association executive director for 10 years and president of CISV International Board for four-and-a-half years. It was also in 1979 that CISV Philippines finally had an office of its own,rent-free, courtesy of the Montelibano family, at the Rico House on Amorsolo Street in Makati’s business district. A small staff, headed by Nati, coordinated all CISV activites, including Village hosting, which from 1980 became a yearly activity. of the original staff, only Alice Sarmiento, who came in as a bookkeeper, is still around; she now single-handedly runs the office. When Rico House was sold, the national office moved to Mile Long across the street, where it is located to this day. By August 1980, CISV Philippines had the machinery to host that year’s IMB, the first-ever in the Asia-Pacific Region. The landmark event was held at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay, Cavite.
In December that same year, IBM president, Brock Foster, died; the Board decided that the presidency would be shared by two vice presidents. Hinrich Fock (December 1980 to April 30,1982) and Nati Toribio (May 1982 to IMB in August 1983). At the 1983 IMB, Nati was elected as president by acclamation (there was no other qualified contender); it was the first-ever highest position served by someone from the outside of North America and Europe.
CISV Philippines continued to garner many other “firsts.” In preparation to becoming a joint chapter, Cagayan and Isabela sent their first delegations (Isabela in 1980; Cagayan in 1981) through the Baguio Chapte. In 1982 we hosted the first Regional Asia Pacific Workshop at Silahis Hostel in Baguio City. In 1986, Quezon City became a chapter and sent its first delegation to Habo, Sweden. On December 29, 1985 to January 16 1986 the first ever Seminar Camp in the Asia Pacific region was held in Ruff Inn Baguio City. In 1987 Guide Village, the first CISV manual of its kind was published; this was mainly the handiwork of Daday Fullon, chair of the International Village Committee.
We celebrated our Pearl Anniversary in August 1992 at Nayong Pilipino, Manila with international officers as guests.
What happened after 1992?
Apparently a lot as the current CISV statistics shows. Here are our numbers as of 2011. Our roster of membership totals 3,200. We have participated in 2,675 Villages; 15 Seminar Camps, 81 other international programmes, including Summer Camp or what it’s called today, Step Up camp; 19 Youth Meetings; 4 International People’s Projects and 52 Interchanges. We have hosted 37 Villages; 11 Seminar Camps; 3 Step Up camps; 2 Youth Meetings; 1 International People’s Project; 2 Interchanges; 6 Asia-Pacific Regional Workshops/Junior Asia-Pacific Regional Conferences; and 1 IBM. We haven’t done too badly, have we?
(This article was first published in the 50th Anniversary book of CISV Philippines.)