The PROCON 2022 Experience: What First Timers Have To Say

By Reycent Danielle Valdez | Posted on April 26, 2022

For the first time ever, the Pilipinas Rotaract Convention or PROCON—which is one of the most anticipated annual events in Philippine Rotaract—was held in the island of Mindanao. Organized by District 3870, the annual convention was hosted by the charming and warm city of Iligan, the city of majestic waterfalls.

Every Rotaractor had their ‘my first PROCON’ moment. It is actually almost impossible for a PROCON to not a have a first-time delegate, that is why every year is special for everyone. The 10th Pilipinas Rotaract Convention (PROCON) held last April 8-10, 2022 in Iligan City is definitely no different when it comes to this, as there are delegates who marked PROCON 2022 as their first PROCON (including me)! Definitely an experience to remember, here are stories of some delegates from a first-timer’s perspective. 

The 2022 ProCon in Iligan City, hosted by the Rotaract District 3870, was my first-ever ProCon experience. As a first timer, it was indeed a very memorable experience to travel and meet my fellow Rotaractors from all over the Philippines. The travel we’ve gone through was no joke. A twelve-hour bus ride from Tuguegarao to Manila and an hour and a half plane ride from Manila to Laguindingan was  indeed a  tiring journey for us. But the moment we set foot in Iligan City and saw our fellow Rotaractors, all the exhaustion we felt was replaced with excitement and fun. Aside from enjoying the city and the company of our fellow Rotaractors, the event also gave us the opportunity to learn and understand what Rotaract really is. It opened the doors for us to converse with our fellow Rotaractors from different organizations and districts and discuss their best practices so that we can also adopt them.” — Ma. Angelica Perez (Rotaract Club of Tuguegarao RID 3770), District Financial Officer

District Financial Officer Angel (leftmost; seated) enjoying the wacky company of her fellow Rotaractors from all over the Philippines with the magnificent Tinago Falls in the background.

It was my first time attending the Pilipinas Rotaract Convention, and it was quite an adventure, made all the more so by the fact that my companions and I had to travel 12 hours by land from Tuguegarao to Manila and about 2 hours from Manila to Iligan. It was a lengthy trip, knowing well that we did not have enough sleep or time to take a bath. Isn’t that exhausting? However, all of those concerns melted away when we witnessed the beauty of Iligan City and the people’s smiles. We arrived the day before the anticipated arrival of the participants, but despite that, the host district, led by DRR Rean, truly accommodated us. 

The days that followed were quite productive, beginning with a welcome dinner with other Rotaractors and Rotarians from the host district. The second day, which I believe helped me understand a deeper meaning of service, consisted of a plenary session during which we learnt a great deal from the two guest speakers, to the point wherein, as they discussed things, we also had ideas for future initiatives our club and district could conduct. The fellowship was my favorite part. We savored Iligan’s specialties, particularly its lechon, which I can confidently state is one of the tastiest I’ve ever tasted. On the third day, we had the opportunity to visit and enjoy the city. Their waterfalls are quite magnificent. It’s surreal, particularly the Tinago Falls experience. It was, without a doubt, the best. 

My first visit to this event was beyond worth it. Events like this help bridge the divide between strangers who eventually become friends and become our family. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the next PROCON event, which I hope will accommodate a larger number of participants.” — Xyra Krizelle Abalos (Rotaract Club of Tuguegarao RID 3770), Member

Rotaractor Xyra in her simple yet sophisticated modern Filipiniana attire during the intimate PROCON 2022 Gala Night and Opening Ceremonies held at Fontina Restaurant.

What sets ProCon 2022 apart from previous ProCons is that it embraces the new normal of today. The presentation was broadcast live in Iligan City via the Kumospace virtual platform. As a first-time ProCon attendee, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to attend the restricted face-to-face event in Iligan City with my fellow rotaractors from District 3800. Aside from being my first ProCon, this is also my first visit to Mindanao, so I’m really looking forward to it.

ProCon 2022 highlights the beauty, culture, and accomplishments of each district in the Philippines, which is something I’m interested in. Throughout the event, the host demonstrated their hospitality by treating all of the delegates with special attention and antigen tests were performed prior to the program to ensure everyone’s health and safety. The convention will not be a success without our well-respected speakers for Women Empowerment and Environmental Journalism.

As a Rotaractor, fellowship is always follows, and one of the highlights of the convention is this. We were able to enjoy the native cuisine, culture, way of life, and tourism attractions that Iligan City has to offer. During the event, we were able to meet other participants from different districts and form friendships.

ProCon will be one of the Rotaract events to which I am looking forward in the future as someone who enjoys traveling.” — Rolando Bawalan (Rotaract Club of Rodriguez RID 3800), Life Changing President

LCP Rolando (second from the left) at the PROCON 2022 Gala Night and Opening Ceremonies and the other delegates from District 3800 in their Filipiniana attire.

PROCON 2022 was my first-ever face-to-face PROCON. It was fun with a whole lot of crazies. I lost my wallet upon arriving in Iligan but got fortunate enough because the airport van driver was able to contact me and had it returned to me. That is when I started appreciating the city—the locals are just the sweetest, kindest and the warmest. The bustling yet lowkey city is full of wonders, from wide array of food options and, of course, the numerous beautiful waterfalls. What made everything more special is the company of other Rotaractors from all over the Philippines. I have personally met with members of Rotaract clubs in Iligan City and they were more than happy to tour us around! I also got to try Salbaro, which is something I have been craving for since my first bite on it in Tinago Falls, and Iligan’s scrumptious Lechon. I know that this is not the full PROCON experience because of the restrictions but it is an experience to remember. While looking at my plane seat’s window on the way home, I was already imagining the next PROCON. I am THAT looking forward for the next one.” — Cent Valdez (Rotaract Club of San Pedro All Star RID 3820), President-Elect / Club Service Director

PE Cent Valdez (second from the right) in one frame with the delegates of District 3820 during the PROCON 2022 Fellowship Dinner.

I always see PROCON through social media posts as a massive, spectacular, and overwhelming gathering and I thought that was how the 10th PROCON in Iligan differs from the previous PROCONs. It was remarkably intimate and cultured, and have encapsulated the “heart” of a Mindanaoan tradition and history. Few of the best highlights were when I finally met my fellow DRRs and our Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO Chair in-person as the year-long goal to be together physically finally happened, and the every beat I was with them. And it is also noteworthy to credit the team for a seamless hybrid convention. It was a bit uncanny for me to have participated a PROCON for the first time since I am also serving the Fun District as their District Rotaract Representative but I was fully immersed and enjoying every minute. “I am a familiar stranger”, I once tweeted. I never felt left off for a second listening to their past PROCON experiences while creating a new one. 

Though limited, the program was beautifully crafted and jam-packed that it came to a point that my first PROCON, my 10th PROCON experience, extended up to 10 days, and had a chance to detour to Bukidnon. It was a total escape from everything. And I am beyond grateful and full of reminiscence to have experienced the first stopover of PROCON in Mindanao, and the unforgettable hosting of the Rotaract Clubs in Iligan City and Bukidnon, and to the entire 10th PROCON organizing committee and RID 3870.

I am certain to buckle up myself for the 11th PROCON… and perhaps would extend my stay up to 11 days…? Well, see.” — Christian Santiago (RID 3850), District Rotaract Representative

DRR Christian Santiago of RID 3850 (third from right) together with the rest of the District Rotaract Representatives of Pilipinas Rotaract during the intimate PROCON 2022 Gala Night and Opening Ceremonies.

The PROCON 2022, being the first PROCON in Mindanao and the first to be hosted face-to-face in a pandemic-stricken Philippines, was definitely a half-week to remember. Despite all the restrictions, the delegates got to enjoy the city, the company of their fellow Rotaractors and the true spirit of Rotaract, which is “Fellowship Through Service”. The annual event is a perfect venue to embrace the diversity of the Pilipinas Rotaract, while celebrating oneness of goals, service and achievements. This is definitely a great way to celebrate the Rotary year!

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