Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Our batch was caught in the tide of major upheavals that the Academy underwent, we are in many ways unique because of this.In this regards we can also rightfully claim to being PIONEERS! As such, I have made this blog entry just for that. I will post here the very reasons that made us become one of the most priveledged to have witnessed and become a part of changes and memorable events, milestones that very few can attest to being a part of.

Know also that this website being in its seminal stages, our cumulative effort is needed to make it fuller and richer, factually and memory wise. So if you have something to share, taken perhaps from pages of yellowing diaries or carried by your mind in memories, please do not hesitate to share. I will continually update this entry for reasons why our batch is different from all the rest. Something all of us should awfully be proud of.

Please enjoy the track to memory lane, it is still not much, but its ok. More than ok, it has been very historical and good. Remember, and savor in your mind the battlecries and the countdowns, the sweat and the tears. And at the end of it all, remember, remember and remember again how we emerged as victors and conquerors, PIONEERS all. We are the graduates of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, circa 2001... Hear us! Know Us!


I placed this as number one for very few are aware of this fact. That title has been claimed by the senior graduates one rank ahead of us, but if rightfully and truthfully studied, we graduated during the year the 2nd millenium began. The former batch left the portals of the Academy during the LAST YEAR of the 2nd millenium. We on the other hand, donned our white docks and naval piercing caps the year the new millenium dawned.

This is based on the argument that as a Christian nation, we use the Gregorian calendar which sets the start of time as A.D. 1. Being ordinal based, it follows that the next 1000 years will begin a year after the thousandth (x001-x000) unlike the newly established ISO 8601 which uses the astronomical calendar and cardinal method (x000-x999). As men bound to traditions, medieval though our argument, we can rightfully claim to being the graduates when the new millenium began. And this rare oppurtunity will only come again after another 990+ years or so. (Chin up naman dyan!!!)

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2. We are the only batch who as midshipmen prowled the Academy grounds of Fort Bonifacio LAST bearing two ranks.
First as probationary midshipmen and next as 4th class men. Class 98 were the last first classmen and Class 99 the last second classmen. In technicality, Class 2000 were the last 3rd classmen (this argument is strengthened when Dodie Acosta visited PMMA, Fort Bonifacio, therefore being a representative of that class as a whole, Class 00 were the last of Makati's third classmen. Nga lang, naturnback sya ng isang taon later on. Kinabog pa nga nya ako nung nag take charge sya sa Bravo quarters eh hehehe- eic) for even abroad they were still a part of the corps.

When the grounds became a ghost town, it was our sweat which last fed the withering grasses inside and the killing fields of the area outside, it was our voices which last sounded strong and reverberated inside its four walls- up to Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, it was our biton shined shoes which last pounded the hallowed pathways hard and strong. And it was our deepest honor to have been a part of the LAST CORPS OF MIDSHIPMEN of Fort Bonifacio. (Kelangang ilipat uli dun bago uli magkarun ng huling probee at 4th class hehehe!)


3. Amongst all graduates, Class 2001 also belongs to the only 2 batches to walk the San Narciso site FIRST (and I emphasize that word again- FIRST) bearing two ranks.

First as fourthclassmen, and later on as third classmen. The other one is Class 98, being both first classmen and later on, probationary ensigns. Actually, in contention, Class 98 could also put up the argument that they were also the first ensigns of the site (making it three ranks for their part), but of course, what with the tac-o's bearing that rank, it may be subject to debate.

Noon chow was really a memorable time for us because we were given priveledges as incoming third class midshipmen- 24 Feb 1998

(I can still remember the Corps Commander, aka "Barcs," announcing on the messhall our list of priveledges like "just walk," "wrist watch," "no more square meals," etc. Do you still remember what you felt then? I do. It was really good- eic)


4. We are the first ones to standby in the lobby and commence mass punishment, therefore becoming the link that continued the Academy tradition of quasi-military molding of cadets.

When our sweat fed the new site, we figuratively speaking, carried the torch and lighted it again in Zambales. This is another honor, something to be proud of with utmost humility. For with us, the traditions and norms that bound us as the men in blue, the long blue line of gentleman/women of this land, continued.

Our batch made another history in PMMA, San Narciso by being the first ones to standby on the lobby and commence mass punishment. The experience is not that bad since we're proud to be a part of history-12 Feb 1998

Again, another history. We passed in review at the back of the Admin building. The experience is truly exhilirating-13 Feb 1998.


5. We belong to the FIRST CORPS of MIDSHIPMEN of PMMA, San Narciso Zambales, as fourthclassmen.

We also made it as part of the 2nd Corps of Midshipmen (SY1998-1999-3rd class), 3rd Corps of Midshipmen (SY 1999-2000-2nd class) and 4th Corps of Midshipmen (SY 2000-2001- 1st class). We marched at the first passing review. We made the initial landscaping of the grounds. We were the peons who carried the lockers, bunks etc and made life easier for acclimatizing seniors, enduring the heat and dustdevils with stoic fourthclass resilience. This puts us in number 1 in the right to claim PMMA, San Narciso, as our figurative "own."


6. WE WERE THERE WHEN THE FIRST ALUMNUS WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT. We were 2nd classmen when Captain Virginio Aris took his oath, taking over from retired military bigwigs who were presidential appointees. This started the line of succession of alumni Academe heads, which as graduates, we must vigilantly and proudly continue.

President takes oath today as the first elected president of the PMMA. It was a grand affair started by a welcome parade.... in the afternoon the crack platoon performed. 30 July 1999



We proudly carried the colors of all schools in Manila joining in this event.

We were first hand participants as the nation celebrates 100 years of independence.

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On a little humorous note, do you still remember our probee colleague who came that fateful month of May, 1997 wearing brown "shorts" instead of pants? Well, just for your information, a few years after that, regulatory wear for incoming 4thclass men were turned into shorts. Surely it was that honorable member of our batch who gave that idea to the Departnment of Midshipmen Affairs. Since then, (I dunno if until now) probees has been wearing shorts.


9. We are the last batch (so far) who has an all male population. Class 2001 is wholly populated by men.


10. We facilitated the changeover from 1-1-2 to 2-1-1 system of Academe studies.

As students, all cadets are given the chance to complete their apprenticeship before graduating so as to have the necessary practical requirement for a Bachelorhood of the Sciences in their chosen maritime field. The break previously was commenced after the first year of studies, hence thirdclassmen embark for a one year tour before coming back to the Academy for two more years of academic and extra curricular fulfillments.

But then the class of 2003 who were our juniors that time were in the forefront of the return to the previous scheme of two years stay at the Academy prior signing on. As the ruling class, it fell upon our shoulders to ensure that a smooth transition back to this system was enforced and in this we once again became a part of Academy history.

And now, with the creation of this blog-cum-website dedicated solely for our helm, we have made another history by being the FIRST batch to have an online version of THE HELM.

The times has caught up with us.


(Above italized texts excerpted from my diary-eic)

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