(1 April 1967 - Present)
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1 April 1967
The tale begins on the
dawn of April 1, 1967. Some 148 young men were sent off by their
parents, relatives, and girlfriends at the grounds of Camp Aguinaldo.
The GHQ band made the send-off a festive mood. We were all in
high spirits as we boarded the buses that would bring us to our
new life. Smiles were plentiful, jokes were abundant, laughter
was on the air. Little did we know, those were our last for the
year. At the tune of "You're in the Army Now", we formed
in the parade ground without seeing any cadets we were looking
for. Then they appeared..and then the shouts. The next thing we
knew, we were following every order given to the letter... crawl...climb
that tree...dash...who art thou?..stop looking around, mister...brace
up...push ups...The civilian in us was slowly slipping away. (from
PMA Sword 71).
Incorporation Day had
come. "Let the fourthclassmen join the Corps"...how
did they rig up such sweet words! Dress coats almost burst with
13 May 1967
We transferred from the summer
camp to the barracks at Melchor Hall.
After two days of fixing
and settling down, we went to Fort Magsaysay for our Summer Maneuvers.
This gave us the chance to regain lost weight and gain proficiency
in military subjects. We had quite a unique training...assaults
with a machine gun, bayonet training with the mortar, recoilless
rifle emplacement, striking and pitching tent, recon, night patrols...practically,
everything we have taken up theoretically during our summer tactics.
We witnessed the awesome demonstration of a mental calculator from Bangalore, India. The demo was held at the PMA Grandstand and attended by the whole corps, pma administration to include the members of faculty and tactical officers.
Shakuntala Devi is a Mathematical genius, calculating and numbers prodigy who was born on the 4th of November . She could do multiplication of one 13 digit number by another 13 digit number in 28 seconds.
Shakuntala Devi can tell the exact day of the week of any date, month, and year from the past to the present and the future dates as well.
16 Dec 1967
Our first 100th Nite Show
as a cadet was held. A day after that we had to go down for the
Armed Forces Day Celebration. One good thing though, the Plebe
Corps returned to Fort Del Pilar alone for the uppies were left
behind for their Christmas. We spent the holiday Season to the
utmost as temporary monarchs..carolling, bonfire, the Supe's hop,
picnic at Poro Point, Christmas hop and New Year's Eve hop. Each
affair, however, meant that the uppies would soon be back. They
did! But they were all in a trance.
Recognition Day ... each
handshake, each tear had a special meaning. What was left was
gratitude and understanding for those who shaped us into what
we were then..a full-blooded yearling. A few days of disbelief
passed unceremoniously and we found ourselves in Laur, Nueva Ecija.
Our stint in Fort Magsaysay gave our class the cohesiveness it
needed. We learned all about the armored cavalry, the artillery,
the home defense forces, and the infantry. We had river crossings,
night patrols, ambushes, raids, and map reading. We manned the
fire direction center or acted as forward observers. And we knew,
among ourselves, we have shared some unforgettable incidents -
like being out on night navigation for four hours; like sinking
with makeshift rafts; like directing FDC to fire at a major's
ranch and all those things. Boodlefights, social hops, courtesy
calls and weekend leaves were in abundance, spiced with a little
of daily physical training and inspection which were evaded easily
through sick calls.
9 May 1968
This day saw us in the
new cadet barracks - the Regis Hall.
Start of Academics. This
time, we had to tackle Calculus, Spanish, Military Engineering,
Psychology, English, the usual dose of parades, inspections, physical
training, and tactics classes. The Independence Day activities
again interrupted our gathering momentum. There were the usual
company hops, class hops, and Independence Hop. Unfortunately,
we did not have the plebes with us so we had to the fatigue duties.
Our second indepence parade was easier this time.
14 June 1968
Resumption of Academic
classes. We indulged in integrating, differentiating or plainly
verifying beautiful visitors with our reliable surveyor's level.
Writing letters was the favorite past-time aside from sleeping.
Added to our academics was our responsibility of being exemplars
to the new cadets. In this respect, we were able to apply our
theories in Psychology and Military Leadership. First term smoothly
rolled by but not without taxing the ranks of the class. We were
numbering 110 when we tackled second term.
Our life as full-pledged
cow began on this day with the reception of Class 1973. "Beast
Barracks" ended on the 12th of May followed immediately by
the summer maneuvers. This time the firstclassmen and secondclassmen
proceeded to Poro Point for the embarkation to Taiwan. We went
underway at about 0900H of the 18th. On the way, we acted as watches,
orderlies, or plain observers. We reached Kee Lung harbor on the
night of 20th May. We visited Taipeh, Peitou and went around Keelung.
Hospitality was not lacking. We proceeded to the southern tip
of Taiwan on the 23rd. Kaoshiung waters was reached on the morning
of 24th. We then visited the different service schools of the
Republic of Taiwan for three days. But all these had to end. The
dawn of 26th saw us on our way back to our beloved Philippines.
On the 29th we reached Poro Point waters. A break gave us the chance
to distribute our "pasalubongs", and brag about out
7 June 1969
June 7-15 was again spent
for the Independence Day Celebration. No sooner had we recovered
from our hangovers than we realized that we were already neck-deep
in academic deficiency. Nevertheless, the class was stable throughout
the term slugging it out with the superheated regions of Thermodynamics,
the volumes of History, and the unbalanced forces of Military
Engineering. Soon, we began to realize why cow year was the most
unwanted phase in a cadet's life. Hops and socials were interspersed
with our academic schedule. Letter-writers dwindled into a negligible
quantity but letter receivers seemed to increased. In due time,
we hurdled the first term with a single casualty. The "Matatags"
a hundred and nine strong, was then granted a semestral break
for a period of ten days.
The year 1970-1971 saw
a new image, if not better, for the Academy as the giant tentacles
of change did not spare the military establishment and reached
deep enough into the solid ranks of gray to alter and improve
some of the noblest traditions identified only with the cadets.
Thus, in a glorious attempt to combat the cause of the rise of
student activism in the outside world, Brig Gen Aurelio S Ugalde,
then PMA Superintendent stated at the start of the school year
thus: "There is no substitute for efficiency. A cadet should
dedicate himself to his studies, an instructor to the teaching
of the cadets, the staff officer to the efficient functioning
of his office, etc." Such call for efficiency set the tone
for the school calendar.......
Deriving the necessary authentic lessons from the concluded Summer
Training, the Academic Year 1970-71 immediately took off into
a better start. The Academic Board took an early initiative to
improve the academic rules and to provide the needed amendments.
As envisioned, the amendments called for added vigor and professional
outlook on the part of the cadets, and set a more modern approach
upon the academic system of the Academy.........
The Second Term of the Academic Year 1970-71 was off into a fresh
start when some cadets and officers alike, earning for themselves
as needed respite from their tight schedules, joined the students
and the youth in hailing his Holiness, Pope Paul Vi, at the grounds
of the University of Santo Tomas. After the much recorded
experiences, when the Pope bid farewell to the Filipino nation,
the cadets began the trek back to Baguio, save for the Firstclassmen
who were left behind for an educational tour of the Island of
Corregidor. For the underclassmen, the academic grind took
its usual course in the classrooms of the Academy, while for the
firstclassmen, evening classes were held aboard the RPS Samat.
As December winds brought the spirit of Yuletides to the Academy,
the cadets were more than anxious preparing for their much awaited
vacations. As a highlight for the season, the fourthclassmen
were declared "at ease", prematurely terminating their
plebehood in the sense that it was first in history. The
granting of the "at ease", however, was seen by many
responsible quarters as a way to satisfy requirements of higher
headquarters rather than to live up to the true spirit of the
The further development of the Philippine Military Academy could
have followed its usual yearly course, had it not been for the
much publicized defection of Lt. Victor N. Corpus, allegedly to
Dante's "New People's Army-- the real army." The fact
that Lt. Corpus was a PMA graduate and, at the time of the unexpected
incident, attached with the Academy proved a fatal blow to the
prestige of the premier military institutions of the land. While
the bravery shown by Corpus in advancing his principles and convictions
brought him some admirations from the Cadet Corps his actuations
against his own Alma Mater somehow united the cadets in
denouncing him. As an offshoot of the Corpus defection,
the cadets began examining their systems in an attempt to discover
their flaws. and consequently, to prevent the rise of another
Corpus. The Cadet Corps, notwithstanding the many investigations
being conducted by some sectors, and the congressional hearing
on the same case began working to give to give the transforming
Academy an added stability.
That the ultimately relief of Brig Gen. Ugalde as Superintendent
was one of the results of the Corpus Incident could then be properly
surmised. Philippine Navy Captain Gregorio Lim took the
cudgels of supremacy in the Academy........
As the Corpus case gradually faded out of newspaper headlines
and just when it seemed that the public no longer cared, it was
most unfortunate that another setback moved once more the name
of PMA in the controversial scene. "The despicable
attempt by some person to take advantage of the good name and
reputation of the Philippine Military Academy by allegedly smuggling
stereos and other articles under the guise of donations to the
PMA' caused no little heartaches among those who remained close
to the military Academy. These successive events affected
the morale of the cadets one way or the other and it took some
time before they realized that the only choice they had was to
prove that they did not belong to the same breed of men who gone
Hence when everything appeared to be back to normal, the Cadet
Corps concentrated on the activities for the 66th Foundation Day.
All was turning out perfectly fine, when barely a month before
graduation, Firstclass Cadet Wilfredo H. Tapia succumbed to leukemia.
His sudden death caused surprise to everyone. He entered
the Academy to make a name for himself, to make good in his chosen
career. He was barely some days short of his goal when everything
that was of him all became nothing but a legend.
The Academy, with the Cadet Corps in particular, recovered in
a few days time from the grief of having lost a comrade. When
March Week came (it may yet be more properly called March-April
Week for the graduation rites took place from March 31-April 2)
the same atmosphere of joy and liveliness which characterized
those of the previous night. The same day marked the graduation
of 108 firstclassmen. For the youthful lieutenants and ensigns,
as they go out to the fields to do their part, they maintained,
they would always be 109 strong. The late Cadet Tapia would
always be there, wherever they go, come what might. And
highlighting the graduation activities was Pres Marcos warning
against the "Communist Conspiracy," which he enjoined
the young graduates to fight against. (PMA 71 Sword)
2 April 1971
March Week or March-April
Week took place from March 31- April 2. The athletic exhibition
and parade as usual took place on the first day of celebration,
but the "dunking" was the part that caught more attention.
The fourthclassmen were formally recognized on April 2 after undergoing
the final initiations the previous nights. Guest
of Honor was then President Ferdinand Marcos with Secretary of
National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and PMA Superintendent Captain
Gregorio L Lim.
After four years of Saturday parades and inspections, field training exercises, and military and academic classes, one hundred nine (109) Matatags, now composed of the eighty four (84) remaining original members and joined by twenty five (25) others who formerly belonged to classes ’70, ‘69 and ‘68, graduated on April 2, 1971. They were conferred the degree of Bachelor of Science, including Cadet Wilfredo Tapia who was posthumously graduated. He succumbed to leukemia exactly a month before graduation. His grieving mother was there to receive the diploma for him. Except for Willy Tapia, they were all commissioned as second lieutenants/ensigns. Second Lieutenant Narciso Abaya, West Point ’71 and Navy Ensign Bienvenido Alano, US Naval Academy Annapolis ‘71, who both started their cadet days at PMA, opted to become regular members of PMA Class ’71 upon their graduation from the US Military Services schools in 1971.
The Presidential Saber
(awarded to the No. 1 graduate) was won by Oscar Martinez. The
Secretary of National Defense Saber, (given to the No. 2 graduate)
was awarded to Ariston delos Reyes. Delos Reyes also received
the Deputy Chief of Staff award.
The chair of the Honor
Committee was Danilo Francia who joined the Air Force, while the
Debating Council president was Hercules Catalunia, who joined