Because of ROTC, I was able to see in action the University’s motto that I never fail to notice every time I am faced with a blue book – HONOR and EXCELLENCE.
I am a fan of military training, particularly those given to civilians. One of my motivations for taking ROTC is how an officers give commands to his or her men and the latter’s discipline to follow it. Another is that I wasn’t able to take my CAT back in high school.
It still astounds me that never in my one year in the Corps have I heard any foul remarks about my extremely skinny figure. If you think power-tripping is prevalent in ROTC, then my survival might be a mystery to you. But I have never experienced any of that in UP ROTC.
I was entrusted instead of the task of looking up for the welfare of my company-mates as a Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). Aside from the Corps of Sponsors and the administrative personnel of DMST, the Corps actually gets basic cadets who can do this requisite task – that is to lead their fellow cadets and be the middlemen between Cadet Officers and cadets.
The designation gave me the extra push to pursue excellence in every training day. I did not have a physically active lifestyle before but ROTC proved me that my frail-looking body cannot hinder me in maximizing my capabilities. During the first physical training I attended, reaching 20 repetitions of push-ups and sit-ups seemed daunting. Now, a double of that is not a problem and I’m still working on improving my performance to meet the army standards. Moreover, I also achieved a two-mile run of pure running and no walking before I graduated as a basic cadet.
Aside from these, I was also given the task that I consider the most challenging but honoured me very much. I was appointed to bear the Philippine flag – first at the ceremonial parade of the corps for the Regional Annual Administrative and Tactical Inspection (RAATI), then at the Turnover Parade at the Gen Antonio Luna Parade Grounds. The pressure was high at both parades, for the National Flag is the most superior among the other elements of the color detail. The last thing that a bearer of the Philippine flag would like to experience is to faint and fall out of the formation during the parade. With God’s strengthening, never in our trainings and parades have I fainted and fell.
In UP ROTC, the University motto is never irrelevant – honor and excellence. In every training day, we were pushed to excellence by our Cadet Officers – may it be practical exercises such as rappelling, first aid and marksmanship; or in the execution of drills and following the SOPs. Indeed, a hundred and two years of existence has not tarnished the honor of the UP Corps of Cadets – and it was a great honor to be part of the ranks.