It is often said that experience is the best teacher and that learning extends outside the classroom. The tenth training day on September 4, 2010 proved just how accurate these sayings are. For the first time in the semester, the cadets of ROTC batch 2010-2011 (SILAKBO) stepped out of their territory in UP Diliman, and set out for Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The sun had barely risen when the cadets started arriving in the pedestrian entrance of Camp Aguinaldo’s Gate 3. The cadets chatted merrily as they waited for the rest to arrive, unsure of what to expect and thankful for the chance to experience something new. When the rest finally arrived, the cadet corps boarded vans and set out for the Civil Relations Service, AFP (CRSAFP). It was there where the cadets would listen to the first two lectures of the day.
Sitting in the conference room of the CRSAFP, the cadets learned about Civil Military Operations from Major Oliver Bañaria of the CRSAFP and Military Justice from P2Lt Abuzo of the JAGS. The cadets received the new lessons and knowledge with much enthusiasm. Numerous questions were asked and much recitation was done, making the first two hours a truly interactive experience.
After the discussions, the cadets were given the chance to stretch their legs while taking a guided tour of the CRS, led by Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Rodil himself and Vanguard John Ray Ramos. Everyone got to see and experience a part of how it was like to work in the CRS as they explored the facility.
When the tour finished, the cadets were led out into a parking lot of the CRS. They were formed into a single column. At first the cadets were confused by the delay, not really understanding what caused it. A distinct roaring and revving dispelled the confusion. Within moments, a M35 truck of the CRSAFP pulled up in front to the excitement and barely-suppressed cheers of the cadets. One by one the men and women of SILAKBO mounted the M35. As soon as the last man boarded, the truck set off. It was nothing more than a glorified jeepney, and yet the excitement it produced was great. The trip lasted a mere ten minutes, made even shorter by the fun it had generated.
The last stop of the day was the AFP Museum. Inside, batch SILAKBO was greeted by an abundance of artifacts and knowledge. All manner of military-themed wonders were arranged in orderly displays right in front of the cadets. This made it difficult to obey the rules on not touching anything. After touring the Museum and learning about the history of the AFP, the cadets were led out into the Museum’s courtyard.
It was nothing more than a garden, a patch of grass approximately two-hundred square meters wide. Yet the intensity of the excitement it created was impressive for the garden held real live tanks, planes, artillery pieces, and armored personnel carriers of the AFP, all decommissioned to serve as displays in the museum. The best part of it was the cadets were given total freedom to touch, take pictures of, and even board the vehicles. Only the aircrafts were made off-limits to the potential boarders. Pictures were taken and all manner of poses were struck, and the end of it all the cadets ended the day with a bang.
Four hours after the cadets stepped inside Camp Aguinaldo, the tour was over. The four hours felt too short, and many a cadet left the camp eager for more. Lessons were learned, memories were made, and a lot of fun was had as batch SILAKBO stepped out of Camp Aguinaldo, already looking forward to the next time.
*photos by C2Lt Ryan Kristofer I Arana, 2Cl