The evening of 01 June 2019 proved to be a proud moment for parents and friends of nine outgoing Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadet officers from Baguio, Diliman and Los Baños campuses of the University of the Philippines (UP). This batch of eight female and one male cadet officers completed their three years of rigorous ROTC advanced course while at the same time attend to the demands of their various academic courses.
During an elegant Ring Hop ceremony held at the UP Department of Military Science and Tactics (DMST) complex in Diliman, Quezon City, that also serves as a culmination of their years of service to the university and fellow students, the members of the UP Vanguard Class of 2019, in their white duck uniform, were given recognition and honor by their junior cadet officers and witnessed by family and friends of the outgoing class.
MGen Bienvenido R Datuin Jr AFP, Commander of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the evening’s guest of honor and speaker, said that the Class 2019 are “the future of this country” and that they should “bring out the best and be the best that you can be.” He also reminded them that they “are the chosen few from among the many who dreamed and aspired, so do it.”
MGen Datuin is also a product and a former Commandant and Department Head of UP ROTC He is also a proud member of the UP Vanguard Class of 1984.
The Ring Hop Ceremony recognizes the outgoing first-classmen as graduates of advance ROTC, and as official members of the UP Vanguard Fraternity. Together with their date, who is usually a parent or a sweetheart, the graduates enter the giant bullring replica and stand underneath it. Their date takes the graduate’s bullring from a ribbon around their necks, and puts it on the graduate’s finger. As upperclassmen, who usually wear anything but a smile, the graduates’ proud and gleeful expressions under the bullring replica positively caps off their tenure as Cadet Officers of the UP ROTC, symbolized by their transition through the bullring replica.
At the end of the ceremony, the graduates dismantled the giant bullring replica, symbolizing the end of their class’ Corps Year and their time as the ruling class, leading to the start of a new one, which will be the second-classmen’s turn to lead the Corps and become the ruling class.
The members of the Class of 2019 are Cadet Colonel Romarie F Castro 1Cl – UP Baguio’s Corps Commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Ruth Tostos Gonzalo 1Cl, and CLtC Regina Blair Santos Santiago 1Cl from UP Baguio; CCol Vanessa Yvonne B Meclat 1Cl – UP Los Baños’ Corps Commander, and CLtC Hanna A Canillo 1Cl from UP Los Baños; CCol Bing Bong S Salinas 1Cl – UP Diliman’s Corps Commander, CLtC Angelica Divine B Alan 1Cl, CLtC Mickaella M Manuud 1Cl, and CLtC Aira Camille M Turla 1Cl from UP Diliman.
Cadet Officers start as fourth-classmen. Every Cadet Officer-aspirant has to undergo the Cadet Officer Candidate Course (COCC) and are later commissioned as probationary officers. Preceding their graduation, they are made to stand inside an incomplete bullring, signifying the start of their journey as cadet officers. They move up the ranks through the years, proving their worth along the way. Class 2019 has served the Corps for three years to reach their current standings, the “chosen few” who stayed and persevered, and have taken the road less travelled.