It was in 1964 when a Filipina in Los Angeles, California lent a helping hand to a Japanese who was having a difficulty with her English lessons. The Japanese introduced her to an American friend. The Filipina and the American discovered that they shared an abiding commitment utilizing the professional expertise of women in community service.
The American was Betty Beck Prosser, who was then President of the Soroptimist Federation of the Americas in 1964. The Filipina was Mariquita S. Castelo. Since that first meeting, Ms. Castelo devoted her efforts in bringing Soroptimist to the Philippines.
Her efforts culminated on May 5, 1966 with the chartering of the Soroptimist Club of Greater Manila. Nineteen professional and business women executives representing various field of endeavor became charter members.
From this auspicious beginning, other Soroptimists clubs were organized in Baguio, Davao, Naga, Iriga, Cebu, Cabanatuan, Malolos and Quezon City. The first National Convention was held in Davao City last Feb 26 to 28, 1971. On sept. 1, 1983, the Philippines was granted a Region status with Milagros Villasor as Charter Governor.
Today, the Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region (SIPR) has 88 clubs with 1,500 members all over the Philippines. These clubs have undertaken a broad range of community service projects. In addition, two identifying projects: Adopt a PNP Women’s Desk and Adopt-A-Barangay were adopted with the vision of advancing human rights and status of women and extending a helping hand to the less fortunate.
SIPR is one of the Regions which comprise the Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA). SIA is one of the four federations, which constitute Soroptimist International. The other three federations are Europe, Great Britain and Ireland and Southwest Pacific.