For the last 55 years, an all-female non-stock, non-profit organization called the Quezon City Chamberette has constantly served as “godmothers” to indigent communities of the Philippines’ most populous city.
Initially founded by a group of matrons in 1963 as an auxiliary organization of the Quezon City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Quezon City Chamberette started out with the aim of supporting the social welfare component of their husband’s prominent group, but through the years took on an identity and mission of its own. Comprised of women professionals, who are all mothers as well, they vowed to take care of as many children of Quezon City who needed help for as the organization endures with new members.
Through the years, the organization has held various projects from raising funds to construct separate cells for female detainees in Quezon City jails to spreading cheer during the Christmas season with yearly gift bags for indigent families.
In the 1990s, the members streamlined their public service by the successive construction of day care centers, which to this day continues to provide free pre-school education from some 350 children yearly, in five of the poorest communities in Quezon City.
These buildings were spearheaded during the incumbency of past president Tessie Rodrigo in Barangay Imelda; past president Mary Halili (deceased) in Barangay Loyola; past president Ine Mauricio, DMD in Barangay Kalayaan and Barangay Freedom Park, the latter donated in full by her late husband Rufo Mauricio; and past president Flor Salvador (deceased) in Lupang Pangako.
Besides operating as day care centers, the Chamberettes also hold regular medical and dental services in these five locations, as well as livelihood programs for mothers, where they train to become masseurs, manicurists, and hairdressers among others.
Fast forward to 2016, the third generation Chamberettes has just been inducted to carry on the work of their mothers, and their mothers’ mothers. Led by its new president, physician Cecile Catapang, daughter of past president and adviser Josephine Catapang, MD, the roster of officers and directors will show how mothering by example best instils the principles and values of camaraderie, selflessness, and giving back to community, among others.
Besides Catapang, Ace Sunga, one of the inducted Presidential Action Officers, is one of the best examples of a third generation “godmother” of Quezon City, with her grandmother, the late Encarnacion Sanches considered the primary founder of the organization, and her mother Marinela “City” Sanchez, now the club’s President Emeritus.
Also inducted were Fay Rivera-Mauricio as vice president, Angie Monteiro-Mauricio, Ada Mauricio and Diosa Mauricio-Llave as directors, and Ria Mauricio as Presidential Action Officers, who are the daughters and daughters-in-law of past president and adviser Ine Mauricio.
Of course, the third generation Chamberettes very much welcomed the inclusion of more senior members to this year’s officers and board of directors to continue guiding them throughout their term. These are Immediate Past President Ester Florendo, Secretary Julie Espinosa, Treasurer Tita Ng, Auditor Ester Adriano, and Directors Fely Sanchez, Emma Flores and Honor Ignacio.
“It is very fitting that we begin our involvement in our mothers’ club as the world celebrates Women’s Month this March, allowing us to pay tribute to them for being able to pursue their professions, raise us, their children, and still be able to devote their time to the meaningful causes of the Quezon City Chamberette,” Cecil Catapang told The Sunday Times Magazine.
“We all grew up seeing our mothers become good friends while they go on their medical-dental missions, organize livelihood seminars for women in indigent communities, and even Christmas carolling to raise funds for projects related to the care for women and children,” she continued.
“You can say we were taught by the best, and we hope to be able to continue the valuable work they do in Quezon City, and thankfully with their very patient and loving guidance,” Catapang concluded.
The 2016 officers and board of directors were sworn into their elected posts by lawyer Lorna Kapunan at the 55th induction ceremonies of the Quezon City Chamberette, Inc. at the Quezon City Sports Club.
Currently running for a senate seat, the women’s rights advocate and celebrity lawyer lauded the quiet but meaningful work by of the Quezon City Chamberttes.
“Five day care centers,” Kapunan said in her speech. “The Chamberettes put the government to shame,” she quipped.