“NO TO Child Marriages,” “No to Violence Toward Women and Girls” and “Gender Equality” were the thrusts of the three-day Zonta International District 17 Area 3 meeting for the year 2020, held at bai Hotel, Mandaue City earlier this year in February.

Cebu’s Zonta Clubs 1 and 2 were superb hosts to Club presidents Elsie Gonzaga (Bacolod), Eusebia “Bing” de los Reyes (Davao 1), Kristine Chan (Iloilo 1), Guadalupe “Bebot” Chu (Cagayan de Oro 1), Maria Rita Ong (Zamboanga 1), Cheryl Lynn Nuñez (Iloilo 2), Angelita Ang (Davao 2), Virginia “Vinny” Veloso (Cagayan de Oro 2) and Elvira Casal (Tacloban).

Casual but smart were uniformed Zonta Cebu 1 president Minnie Yuvienco in a turquoise-blue blazer (self-designed) and Zonta Cebu president Marilou Cañizares in a black blazer with gold scarf.

Impressive indeed was the opening salvo done by event producer Junjet Primor and the Knapsack Dancers, which led to an all-Kaftan evening for the ladies!

Day Two dawned with serious Zonta matters discussed via reports from the various clubs. Although District 17 governor Teresa Lin couldn’t make it, a powerful video message was sent from Hong Kong, and was viewed with full support from all the delegates.

It was then time for Manila-based Zontian leader Primitiva “Baby” Perez-Sison and Cebu’s own Anita Sanchez to update the members regarding Zonta Foundation and the Centennial Anniversary Endowment—topics near and dear to every Zontian.

In her plenary speech, guest speaker Rhodora M. Bucoy, PhD, chairperson, Philippine Commission on Women, highlighted the dramatic phrase, “Interacting, Innovating, Immersing” in the UN Platform of Action for “Women: Towards an Equal Future” and addressed the societal hurdles that prevent women from being at par with men.

“Eliminate the stigma, and let men look up to women as partners rather than subordinates,” concluded Dr. Bucoy.

Much-applauded, Dr. Bucoy was instantly installed as an honorary member of the Zonta Clubs of Cebu 1 and 2, owing to her sterling background and work on women empowerment.

Zonta Club of Cebu 2’s Odette Jereza will likewise be toasted for her refreshing and unique workshop, rather given the monicker “Funshop,” which tested the delegates’ ability toward a common goal. Truly exciting!

During the closing, Area 3 director Stella Bernabe acknowledged the following “zesty” Zontians who contributed their time and treasure to make this affair the success that it was: Overall chairpersons Teresa Chan and Petite Garcia, program chairperson Mila Espina, Elsa Basubas, Vivien Seno and Hospitality Queen Elena Young. Indeed, these ladies know how to celebrate their Centennial, “Zontians: Zesty at 100.”

The fun didn’t end there.

After solemn Sunday Mass, the party went nature-tripping at Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Carmen, Cebu to immerse themselves in the island’s biggest flora and fauna paradise!

See you, empowered ladies, at the next meeting!