It may have been windy, but nothing could cool the excitement of the cadets who attended ROTC day, last March 4, 2012, at Camp Aguinaldo.
The annual ROTC Day is a big event in which cadets of Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC from all over Metro Manila gather together to test their skills, compete against one another and simply celebrate their being part of the ROTC’s honourable legacy. The University of the Philippines Reserve Officer Training Corps was in attendance that day, as part of the Army reserve contingent. They were also there to celebrate a very special anniversary – ROTC’s one hundredth birthday, and UP ROTC’s own hundredth year of excellence.
The event opened up early in the morning with a mass that was offered for the century of existence of the corps, and for its continuing success. Afterwards, there was a presentation of the various branches as a prelude to the rest of the days’ competition. UP ROTC’s very own Tricia Tria stood as the Army ROTC muse and UP ROTC’s corps commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Kristofer Arana 1st Class, led the Oath of Sportsmanship.
Afterwards, the competition began. There were a series of demonstrations of particular ROTC concepts by the various branches of Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC, followed by games that were more fun and physically-oriented. Among the events the branches competed in were platoon drills, military strategy, disaster response and relief operations and field stripping. The cadets were judged on the knowledge and execution of the respective skills involved in every event, such as cadence for Platoon Drills or speed for the field stripping portion. Instrumental music like the main theme of Mission Impossible was played during these events for extra dramatic effect.
These were followed by less serious games, like tug-of-war and a fast but furious event in which teams raced to push a small truck to the finish line first. These games seemed to be more about testing the physical strength of the cadets, but it also involved their ability to strategize as well as their teamwork and camaraderie.
Having not been selected as representatives, the UP Diliman Corps took a backseat for all of the competitive portions and watched the event. But it was no less exciting for the spectators. Things also got pretty intense between the branches rooting for their representatives. Between the drums, applause and cheers, it was as though the audience area became a battleground as well.
All things considered, it was a very enjoyable experience. Any cadet of ROTC would attest that beyond being educational, Army ROTC day was exciting as well. It was a worthwhile trip, if not for the chance to compare our abilities with others and to interact with other branches of the ROTC, then to get the better sense that we are in the service of a great cause, and remember that we are indeed part of something bigger than ourselves.
At the end of the day, Air Force ROTC walked away with the top prize, followed respectively by Navy ROTC and Army ROTC. The Air Force ROTC did exceptionally in nearly all of the events, and certainly deserved first place this year. This does not mean they should rest easy, though. UP ROTC has sworn that Air Force ROTC won’t be keeping that crown for very long!