Yesterday, I met Mr. Joseph Adonis “Dodong” Baduel, District Governor of TI Philippines in 1983. He was one of my interviewees for a research I did on Toastmasters International almost a decade ago. We were supposed to meet after my research so I could give him a hardbound copy of the research, but I changed my career and got posted in Paris for several years.
My research title is “The Role of District 75 Toastmasters International in Developing the Communication and Leadership Skills in the Philippine Context” completed in 2014, as part of the requirements for my Master of Arts Degree in Speech Communication. It’s a pioneering study and an attempt to present the history of District 75 Toastmasters International, to analyze the program, and to study its impact in communication and leadership skills of its members in the Philippines.
As we stayed in the coffee shop, I browsed certain pages from start to end, giving him an overview of the research, while telling some back stories here and there. Mr. Dodong Baduel found the study to be comprehensive. I told him that I was very passionate about the organization during the time I did my research. I also emphasized that the research contained interview transcripts of D75 legends such as Baby Escueta Luat, Jesus “Jess” Dy, Ness Dizon, Adelina Royo, Pete Genato, and several more. It was sad to note that Ms. Luat, Mr. Dy and Mr. Dizon have passed on since then. But they have lived a full life and have inspired many people in the organization. It is with regret that I will not be able to meet them again.
It is great to note that by December 2014 there were 183 clubs in the country, but recent figures show 227. Also, one of the findings of my study was to improve the manual and yes! The current manuals are indeed an improvement from the previous. Mr. Dodong Baduel shared that in the past, those speaking in English with an American accent were deemed better communicators and had a much bigger advantage in winning the Toastmasters International speaking competitions, but that is not the case now. Also, browsing the pages now of online materials on District 75, I can say that a huge development has been made.
Indeed, District 75 Toastmasters International has made great strides in several areas. Personally, it was very helpful to my career and although I cannot provide now the same level of zeal and dedication to the organization because of the demands of my current work as a Foreign Service Officer and some changes in priorities, I am still very thankful to the organization and I hope that many people, especially those who’d like to be part of a supportive group that encourages growth and development in communication and public speaking should take the opportunity to join.
The featured image was taken during the 16th anniversary celebration of the UP Manila Toastmasters in August 2015. Photo credits to Ms. Angel Pojol.