Living the Rotary Life: PDG Jun Farcon Shares Advice to Rotaractors

By JN. Vianney Dagandan | Posted on March 15, 2022

PDG Virgilio Farcon Jr. proudly calls himself a “Rotary baby” because his parents were both active Rotarians. He spent more than three fourths of his life pursuing his journey in Rotary service starting as early as 1975 as an Interactor at the age of 15. He crossed over to the Rotaract movement where he served as Charter President of the Rotaract Club of Marikina North in 1976 at the age of 16.  He served as the District Rotaract Representative or DRR in 1982 at the age of 23. DRR in Rotaract is the counterpart of the District Governor in Rotary. 

He became a Rotarian at the young age of 26.  He became the President of his club, RC Marikina, during RY 1996-97 at the age of 36 and was adjudged as the Most Outstanding Rotary Club President of District 3800.  It was also during the same year where he served as the PETS Chairman of his own batch of presidents and as District Chair for New Generations. 


Our Speaker has been exposed to the ideals of service at a very young age.  As Rotaractor, he immersed himself in the poorest of the poor communities in his home town in Marikina.  He embarked on a service project where they chose the youngest member of the family to represent the poorest of the poor 200 families in his hometown and on a designated day in December, they organized a children’s party for the 200 kids and gave them Christmas gifts and prizes for parlor games.  As President of his rotary club, he also picked out three familes per night for twelve days in December as beneficiaries of the club’s service project entitled “Reverse Carolling for the Poor”.  They serenaded the chosen poor families every night and sang Christmas carols and after singing, they gave out basket of goodies to the head of the family who never expected that businessmen and professionals will spend their time and do such a laudable project.  One of the beneficiaries even told them that the rotarians were angels sent by God to their slums. 

His passion and love for Rotary did not stop there as he went on to serve in higher positions and important committees at the district level. He practically served all District Governors year in and year out until he was elected to the highest position and served as District Governor during RY 2010-2011.  He was one of four district governors around the world who came from Rotaract and the first district governor in the Philippines who came from the ranks of Interact and Rotaract, thus earning him the title as the first New Generation Governor of the Philippines. His major accomplishments as District Governor include among others; record breaking TRF Contributions of his district amounting to $355,000.00; a per capita of $149, both the highest in Zone 7A, thus earning his district the recognition of TRF Foundation Cup champion for garnering the highest per capita in the Philippines and Indonesia in RY 2010-11.  District 3800 was also recognized as the first 100% all clubs giving district in the Philippines by then RRFC Roberto Viray and the first district which received 49 EREY Club Awards in a single year with 75% of the active Rotarians in the district giving to the foundation. 


Our speaker spoke already as Presentation Speaker in two International Rotary Conventions.  The first one at the 2009 Birmingham International Convention at the Literacy Breakout Session and that was even before he served as Governor. The second one was at the 2015 Sao Paolo Brazil International Convention at the Vocational Service Breakout Session.  He was appointed by PRIP Ravi Ravindran to be his personal representative to the 2016 Discon of D9800 in Melbourne, Australia in March, 2016.

At present, PDG Jun Farcon is serving as Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator for Zone 10A Philippines.  His term as RRFC will be up to June 30, 2022. Beginning July 1, 2022, he will serve as Endowment and Major Gifts Adviser for a three year term ending June 30, 2025. 

Our Speaker is a practicing CPA Lawyer, having graduated no. 8 in Ateneo Law Class of 1987 and landed No. 13 in the 1987 Bar Examinations out of more than 3,800 barristers. He is a member and served as a past Praeses of the Aquila Legis Fraternity.

Our Speaker is happily married to International Vice President of Inner Wheel Zenaida Y. Farcon with whom he has three children who all became rotarians and charter members of the Rotary Eclub of Marikina. Friends let us all welcome RRFC Virgilio G. Farcon, Jr.

As an individual who takes initiative to make our society a better place, what characteristic/s of a Rotarian should a Rotaractor emulate?

I have spent more than a quarter of my life with Rotary.  All those years, I have always looked up to the Rotarians as role models for our youth. Personally, I grew up with them since my parents, PP Ver Farcon and PP Lourdes Farcon were both active Rotarians from RC Marikina and RC San Juan, respectively.  They were the ones, and their club members, who were responsible why I became what I am in Rotary.  They had a great influence on my molding as a person starting from my youth days as an Interactor at age 15, and then later as a Rotaractor at age 16 and a very young Rotarian at the age of 25.  Allow me to share with you the characteristics of Rotarians that a rotaractor should emulate:

A Rotarian walks his talk and sets a perfect example for our young generation.

A Rotarian follows Rotary’s motto of service above self and lives by the tenets of the four-way test.

A Rotarian is a servant leader. He serves first and then leads later. 

A Rotarian is a peacemaker, who values listening more than talking.

A Rotarian is a team player who gets things done through teamwork and hard work.

A Rotarian is a generous giver of time, talents and treasures.

A Rotarian is a great planner who prepares and works in accordance with his plan.  He believes in the 5 Ps: Proper planning prevents poor performance.

A Rotarian serves his fellow men with all his heart and mind but does not count the cost.  

Membership is one key to sustain a club through the years, what recommendations will you impart to ensure their stay in the organization?

Membership is the lifeblood of any organization.  I cannot imagine any organization will survive without the support of its members.  In Rotaract, just like any organization, we should value our members without whom the survival and continuity of the organization is at stake.  To stay in an organization, our members must understand the purpose of the organization, its rich history, organizational structure, and processes and in some cases, its local customs or tradition. There is no sure formula on how a member can stay in Rotaract.  However, I can share my personal experience which I find to be helpful.  In order to stay with Rotaract or Rotary, you have to learn, love, enjoy and be happy with the organization.  As proof of your commitment, you must be able to share our organization to our friends and loved ones as the best organization you can have in this world.  

A picture of him as the DISTRICT ROTARACT REPRESENTATIVE for the RY 1982-83

How can you inspire Rotaractors to take action?

Do you know that Rotaract is taken from two important words which are,  Rotary and Action?  Sometimes, Rotaract is also called rotary in action.  I remember when I first joined Rotaract in 1976, it was just an 8-year-old youth program under the New Generation. Rotaract as a youth program caters to young people under ages 18 to 30.  In the Philippines, most of those joining are at the college level, and many are accepted even though they are below 18.  The concept of the youth program is to allow the young people to be exposed to service and leadership at a very young age.  The second purpose is to allow Rotary to partner with the young people in doing service for the youth sector.  Hence, the term “partners in service” was coined to reflect the relationship.  It is not just about mentoring the young, but it is also about treating them as partners in the pursuit of service.  I always remind our rotaractors that Rotaract club is not a purely social club but was envisioned to be a service club as well. In fact, the added value of joining Rotaract clubs is the opportunity to do service at a very young age.  To do service is to require Rotaractors to act and participate in life changing projects in the best way they can in our communities. 

As a Rotarian, what values can you share to the Rotaractors in continuing their service to the community?

I always believe that we are born with a purpose in life.  Sometimes, we discover this purpose in life early and for some in the latter part of our lives.  As a Rotarian, we have our clear mandate to make a difference in the lives of the people we touched.  We may not be able to solve all the problems affecting our society, but it is enough that for one or two people or even a handful of them, we have lived out our purpose, to make this world a better place for all of us.  What good does it bring to you if you have amassed so much wealth and yet there are so many people around you who are dying because of poverty and sickness. 

As a Rotarian and Rotaractor, we must open our eyes and see how we can serve the people around us, especially those who are considered the least, lost and the last.  The only way we can really achieve real happiness is by helping others.  This is the kind of feeling that money can’t buy.  This is the kind of feeling that you can only have if you experience it yourself.  When you help others, it gives you the satisfaction that indeed your life has its true meaning and perhaps in the process of helping others, you are helping yourself in discovering your own purpose in life.

How can Rotarians and Rotaractors work more together?

The elevate Rotaract decision to a membership type in Rotary is the first step.  It gives Rotaract and Rotary the same footing when it comes to the pursuit of our ideals of service.  Just like a journey of a hundred miles, it begins with a first step.  Let this be our first step towards a lasting partnership between Rotary and Rotaract.  We have to treat each other as partners in service with the same vision, to create a world where people unite to take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.  Honestly, this is the period of allowing the two organizations to explore how they can maximize the relationship as partners.  When Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation decided to open the window for global grants to Rotaract clubs, this became the avenue for the two organizations to work towards a bigger goal of providing life changing and impactful service projects to our communities.  Rotaract clubs will need the Rotary clubs to work their way in this level up experience of doing much bigger service projects than what they are accustomed to doing before they were elevated from a mere program to the membership type in Rotary.

How can you strengthen the relationship between Rotary Club to Rotaract Club as well as Rotarian to Rotaractor? 

Rotaract clubs have been in existence since 1968 and its relationship with Rotary clubs’ dates to the year of Rotaract’s founding as a youth organization.  Since then, until the year 2019 when the Council on Legislation approved the elevation of Rotaract as a membership type of Rotary International, Rotary and Rotaract are considered as partners in service. This relationship will not change but will now be enhanced as we now treat Rotaract clubs just like Rotary clubs as both members of Rotary International.  This will move Rotaract from being a mere youth program to a co-equal partner in service.  

We must not lose the fact that Rotaract clubs have achieved this new membership status because of the solid foundation laid through the years brought about by the mentoring program where Rotarians acted as the mentors for the younger counterparts, the Rotaractors. The decision to make them co-equals as a membership type was a sound decision. The concept of Rotarians acting as big brothers to the younger Rotaractors must continue.  Likewise, this is just my personal view, we must fulfill the vision “the future of rotary is in the hands of rotaractors” for who else will better understand Rotary than the Rotaractors who have been molded to become responsible citizens and partners in service by the Rotarians themselves.  To strengthen the relationship between two organizations is to allow the crossover of Rotaractors to Rotary clubs. Rotaractors who crossed over will have the unique opportunity to embark on their rotary journey of service and chart their own leadership career path at the club and eventually at the district level. 

Inducted as DISTRICT GOVERNOR AT AGE 50 last JULY 1, 2010

In the world of Rotary, building linkages and networks is very essential. What advice can you give to the Rotaract Clubs that want to expand their network?

Rotaractors must take advantage of the international character of our organization.  They must take time to establish their linkages with other Rotaract clubs around the world, either through sister or friendship clubs.  As compared to before where we needed to travel to do this, the situation is now entirely different and much easier because of the new communications technology and internet. There are no more borders when it comes to fellowship and service.  

I remember when I was still a Rotaractor in the seventies and eighties, we were not given so many opportunities, not to mention that it would be very expensive to hook up with our foreign counterparts.  It was only when I joined Rotary when I finally had the chance to enjoy the internationality of the organization.  I was able to do this only when I became the President of my rotary club in 1996.  

Times have changed so drastically that you don’t even have to be a president of a Rotaract club to explore the internationality of the organization.  All you need now is to reach out to your counterparts in any part of the world and you can establish your club and personal linkages and network.  It is really up to the Rotaractors if they want this or not but given the situation, the real question really is, why not?

What will you suggest to the Rotaractors to increase their donation in the Rotary Foundation and End Polio?

Donating to the Rotary Foundation and to its international flagship project End Polio is a matter of choice for our Rotaractors.  They are not really required.  However, to be able to understand why we give to the Rotary Foundation is to first believe in our Foundation and its humanitarian works and programs. 

All of us have our own charities we support in our own special way.  It can be about your advocacy, or it can be about your religious orientation or social upbringing.  It is not the amount that we give to these charities but the thought that we are doing this to do our share in making this world a better place.  I have always believed that in choosing your charity of choice, you must consider the reputation, integrity, and track record of the charitable organization.  When we are blessed and we have much more than what we need, we need to share our blessings for they are not meant to be kept but to be shared.  When you choose which charity to give, just consider these reasons why we should give to the Rotary Foundation.

  1. TRF has been in existence for the last 105 years.  From a modest donation in 1917 in the amount of $26.50, TRF has spent more than $4 billion US Dollars for its humanitarian programs.
  2. TRF has been given the highest rating of four stars by Charity Navigator continuously for the last 13 years.  All over the world, there is only 1% of all foundations rated by Charity Navigator belonging to the same situation. TRF was given a perfect score of 100% on transparency and accountability.  Donors can fully trust that the money donated will be used for the purpose why it was given.  Another significant finding of Charity Navigator is that 92% of the funds went directly into projects.  This percentage is one of the highest if not the highest in the whole world. The four-star rating really reflects on the integrity and trustworthiness of the organization.
  3. It is really about integrity, and this explains why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments around the world partner with us on the Global Eradication of Polio Initiative.
  4. TRF is the only charity in the whole world where 50% of the money donated to the annual fund goes back to the district after 3 years. The districts can use them for the district and global grants projects for the benefit of their communities.  Most of these global grant projects are impactful, sustainable and have undergone a community needs assessment.
  5. TRF belongs to the Rotarians and the projects are being implemented by the Rotarians themselves.  Beginning July 1, 2022, Rotaract clubs can now participate in the global grants of the TRF.  This will change the landscape and quality of the service projects of Rotaract clubs.

How would you motivate Rotaractors to become a dual member?

I am sorry but I don’t believe in dual membership because this will require them to pay RI dues for both Rotary and Rotaract.  Personally, I believe that we should allow Rotaractors to stay with Rotaract and when the right time comes, they can cross over from Rotaract to Rotary.   In this way, they can maximize their growth experience in both organizations.

What advice/s can you give to the Rotaractors?

The elevation of Rotaract as a membership type is the best thing that ever happened to Rotaract Clubs.  Take advantage of the new development and use this as your stepping ladder when you cross over to Rotary.  You cannot be a Rotaractor forever, but I assure you that you can be a Rotarian until your last breath.  When you pursue your journey of service whether as Rotaractor or Rotarian, do not forget that we are born with a purpose in life.  My prayers are for all of you to discover your purpose and fulfill your mission in life happily.  May God bless you more so that you can be a blessing to others as well.

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