Saturday, November 3, 2007

My old ROTC uniform

After the 8 hour trip back home, it was nothing but exhaustion. I could not sleep while on the bus, I did not have the appetite to eat during stop-overs and so I arrived looking sluggish. I dozed off quickly after jumping on my bed.

Knowing I have some clothes at home, I didn’t bring any pambahay with me. The next day I was digging in my mom’s baul for some old shirts. I was delighted with what I found, there neatly folded inside a plastic bag…my old ROTC uniform.

Still complete with the belt and the beret.

It reminded me of my first two years in college when every Sunday was never meant to be a rest day. ROTC was an absolute waste of time, energy and money. I was one of those who celebrated when it finally got abolished a year after I wasted two precious years with it.

The last time I wore this, we were in a shooting camp. That must probably the only part of the program that I liked. ROTC back then was an ample source of extra income for some officials (military, or anyone involved); that was our last day and we’ve learned we paid twice the amount of the bullets we used, not to mention the “scams” that have been going on years before I even entered college. I enjoyed being in the shooting range anyway. It was my first time to aim a gun at a target. I scored 8 points out of 15. LOL

Back to the uniform, it was just one of their money-making projects. I suspect we paid more than the normal price. Some even got theirs with missing patches, and notice how poorly sewn they were.

Despite all these, I am still glad I was a part of this crap. It was no fun, but worth remembering. These are some of our ROTC memories I won’t forget:

1. Hiding the un-prescribed haircut. Some of us would spend long time trying to fix their hairs with the aid of a hair gel. We always had to make sure it will look short enough and won’t fall when the beret is pulled off our heads.

2. It’s hard to wake up on a Sunday morning. If you’re a student, it was like the best time to sleep, especially in the cool weather of Baguio. We would all look sleepy, trying hard not to yawn or at least not to be caught yawning.

3. Our flight commander was as lazy as we were. He would bring us behind one of the college buildings, for us to get covered from the hot morning sunlight and stay there until we were asked to go to the classrooms, where we’re supposed to have lectures.

4."Magbigay ng give way!" The official command at this driveway everytime a car needs to pass while we're on our formations.

5. Tree planting at one of Baguio’s mountains. We trekked with our leather shoes (in our school, majority never used combat shoes for their entire ROTC years), up to that muddy hill about 5 kilometers away from the school campus. It was the only time our sensitive Baguio skins were exposed to direct sunlight (we usually spent most our time inside the classrooms if not on the covered court, or see number 3) . We had no tree-planting tools at hand; we had to dig the earth with anything we could get our hands of.

We were there. I hope the trees we planted have survived.

6. The snack worth 15 pesos. It was another profit-generating idea from them. A juice in tetra pack and bread. You could buy that in a sari-sari store for 10 pesos or less.

7. Donations. In cash or in kind (aside from donating blood, which I never did). We would donate canned goods or some old clothes meant to be given to communities hit by calamities. Part of it of course went to their tables.

8. Fixing the attendance record. For sure, nobody ever dared sign in behalf of someone on the attendance sheets. But the record-keepers can fix it. They were a group of gays who demanded exceptions and were given office works instead. I would sleep the entire Sunday morning without worries. And then spend the weekdays looking for them, and using all my charms, ask them the favor of editing my attendance record. At the end of the semester only 3 out of my 6 absences were recorded. At that time 4 absences means you have to take ROTC again the next year.

9. We were always on the front line during the Panagbenga flower festival, with rope on our hands trying to keep the unruly crowd. It wasn’t an easy job, but being right there in front in full view of the parade was all worth it.

Notice us, "men in uniform" at the background.

Jeez, looks like this is my longest post so far. Old things do bring memories, and long stories…


dorkzter said...

i never thought rotc was that fun. hehe. :D

Eilanna said...

a trip down memory lane...i love that. :) hihi

"I enjoyed being in the shooting range anyway. It was my first time to aim a gun at a target. I scored 8 points out of 15." - the first time i ever held a gun (a real one) was way back when I was in first grade. my grandad, my uncle & my dad used to teach me how to use it by shooting at them old score?! uh, don't ask! LOLz but i got better as i grow older...hehehe.

btw, La Union was great! I enjoyed seeing some of my old friends makalanghap ng sariwang hangin. :)

pusa said...

kakatuwa naman un experience nyo sa ROTC, buti na lang nd ako lalaki at nasama jan sa raket na yan, i remeber a classmate of mine wasnt able to graduate kc di nya complete un ROTC! grabe and my brother really hated getting up on sunday mornings para lang ibilad sa araw.

good times with the boys now, wala na ang ROTC :)

iRonnie said...

sinusumpa ko talaga yung morning exercise naman sa rotc. dammit! pero na enjoy ko din yang pagpapaputok after trailing approx 100km papuntang camp capinpin. mababait mga residents dun kasi nagahahanda pa talaga sila ng drinking water para sa amin.

pero tama ka. milking cow ng ibang officials yang rotc. coke 8oz at siopao na walang laman 20 pesos?!

Reyn said...

Good thing nagsimula sa batch namin na-VANISHHHHH yang ROTC na yan. Haha.

Ang haba nga ng post na to, ang dami mong kwento sa 'crappy' ROTC experience mo.

At ang lakas ng loob mong ibunyag ang katiwalian d'yan..hahaha!

Sana lang may pasalubong ako. LOLz.

Ely said...

dorkzter. It was fun. Puro nga lang kalokohan.

eilanna, marunong ka pala nun? hehe. My father, a retired police officer, never tried teaching me those stuff.

La Union use to be my second home...

pusa, tama ka dyan, andami ndi nakakagraduate dahil sa ROTC dati. swerte mga college guys ngaun. It's just sad that ROTC was abolished only after the much publicized death of a student (and many others before him) from a certain school here in Manila due to ROTC hazing...

ronnie, wala kami masiyado morning exercise, kumbaga ndi kami lagi napapagod. Pero walang kwenta pa rin ang ROTC. LOL

pasalamat ka reyn,wala na ROTC. hehe. pero may nagbuwis ang buhay para lang matanggal yan. Nakalimutan ko na name niya. That was back in 2001 i think.

footiam said...

The Baguio mountains seem stripped of plants. Houses everywhere! Very different indeed! We don't have this in Malaysia but I do think in Simla, India, there are houses up the mountain too like Baguio.

Ely said...

you are right footiam, the mountains here are no longer as green as before...

Lotus Flower said...

Hello Kabayan,

I found your blog through a blogrush link from footiam.

It is always good to meet Filipino bloggers:-) I have met a number of cool dudes and duddettes. Nagpapakyut daw ako sabi anak ko kc nag e- ew pa ako :-)

Pleased to meet you and


Ely said...

lotusflower, hello kabayan! Salamat po sa pagbisita. Nice meeting you too!