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(1 April 1967 - Present)
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DATE:

EVENTS

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).

12 May 1967

Incorporation Day had come. "Let the fourthclassmen join the Corps"...how did they rig up such sweet words! Dress coats almost burst with pride.
13 May 1967
We transferred from the summer camp to the barracks at Melchor Hall.

14 May 1967

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.

1968?  

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.

24 March 1968

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.

1 June 1968

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.

2 April 1969

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 Taiwan misadventures.

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.

1970-1971

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 "at ease".

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 astray.

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 the PNP.

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