Introduction: Why Soldiership is not for Everyone?
Have you ever felt the desire to protect your fellowmen? It might have started from overly guarding your loveones but the truth is, soldiership might be your calling.
Personally, I think it is an understated vocation, often highlighted only because of few people’s involvement to inevitable almost indestructible government’s graft and corruption, sporadic coups d’etat and blind greediness to power. What we don’t realize is that for every one soldier or officer that has committed irreversible fault, more than ten have dedicated protecting us, Filipinos, from vicious insurgents, foreign oppressors and terrorists. Out of the rough estimate, probably two or more have been wounded, or worse, died from their constant battles with rebellions.
They might undoubtedly be receiving much higher pays, incentives, and benefits. I have known officers who initially joined the military because of these reasons. The same reason OFWs went abroad; to provide better living conditions to their families. However, with these benefits they needed to sacrifice being away from their families. That once they made their oaths, there would be no turning back. Their first marriage would be with the country. It would be their first priority and everything else comes second. Yes, even their most loved wife or husband, it is still only in rank two. On top of that, they would seldom witness their progenies’ usual day at school nor attend their wives’ or husbands’ birthday parties. Rather, they would usually spend their lives running and trekking into the wilderness, eyeing possible NPAs and making themselves vulnerable to fatal gunshot wounds.
When I applied for the Philippine Army last 2013, we stayed in the female billeting in ARESCOM (Army Reserve Command Unit). It was the same one-storey building where the main office branch of ARC (Army Recruitment Center) was located. It was only separated by plywoods that we, OCS female applicants, would hear from the office if applicants were taking the exam, if proctor was giving test instructions and etc. The problem would usually arise there if we, applicants, were loudly chattering and laughing with each other because we could disturb office personnels, exam takers, and other visitors in their office. I have had my fair share of reprimands, too.
I was not sure if all billets and/or barracks look the same with what I managed to live in for three months. But I would want to emphasize that CS (candidate soldiers), OCC (officer candidate course) and/or OPC (officer preparatory course) applicants’ sacrifices have started once they stayed on that billet to complete the processing. Aside from being away from families, I have also witnessed and experienced on how we all struggled with depleting finances.
This should not be disclosed but I believe that everyone, even high ranking military officials, would understand that in order to augment petty cash amount, my co-applicants used to cook inside our billet. An activity that was supposed to be unauthorized but any human could perfectly tolerate.
They were a group of probably 10 or 12; had weekly contributions, would plan the cheapest possible menu, then would eventually buy vegetables, sardines, misua noodles and other canned goods. Those items were staples on their grocery list. It was amazing on how Php100.00 could last for more than three days; 5-7 days, at most. Not to mention, it was usually three times a day. Awesome, right? Almost every single day, they would prefer cooking vegetable or noodle soups to be able to share what little food they had for everyone. They would even offer their food to us, who have not given any contribution.
That was just one example I have experienced last year but list goes on. I considered myself fortunate to personally have met and known such self-sacrificing individuals in that billeting; the ones who were willing to go beyond their usual comfortable lives, adapting to have basic necessities only, and forgetting their old selves for the sake of their dream. The dream of being passionate for the unglamorous yet very honorable profession of soldiering.
I do not have any intention of discouraging anyone from applying for the Philippine Army, just make sure that you could withstand the pressure of completely forgetting those wants you once deemed as needs, surmount the most terrifying emotional roller-coaster (would start from the application until the end; take note: even our males did experience it) and most especially, the gigantic tumultuous physical and mental fitness demand.
If you are more than ready to realize your military dream aka my #machodream, then keep posted for further processing information based on what I have experienced as PA OCS Class-43 Applicant.