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Warrior spirit lives on in some PMA graduates

/ 03:04 AM March 16, 2015

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City—As a proud Igorot, newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Arwi Chiday Martinez, valedictorian of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinaglahi” Class of 2015, on Sunday said his family and his culture helped shape his performance at the academy.

Martinez’s mother is Ibaloy while his father is Kankanaey.

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The Cordillera culture is often associated with the fierce warrior spirit not because upland communities engage in war but they also fight to protect their families.

Addressing this year’s PMA graduating class, Martinez acknowledged his roots by speaking in Ibaloy and Kankanaey.

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“I am proud of being an Igorot and every Igorot can also achieve what I have achieved,” he said.

But the warrior spirit runs in the veins of some of his fellow Sinaglahi class members.

Second Lt. Don John Dominguez of Rodriguez, Rizal, the class goat (the lowest-ranking member) had intended to pursue a military career because his father, Donato, was a retired Marine who served in Mindanao.

Unlike some of the past goats, Dominguez was a bit embarrassed about his new status. “I only learned that I was the goat last week,” he said.

“He may be the last but he is No. 1 to us,” his mother said.

Retired M/Sgt. Florencio Tulang, formerly of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division stationed in Mindanao, attended the graduation of his son, 2nd Lt. Jayson Tulang, who will join the same unit the father used to serve for 22 years.

His son is joining the military at a time when the “profession of arms” is facing “serious challenges,” according to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who addressed the cadets on Saturday.

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“We just need to have faith in God,” said the elder Tulang, who added that he expected to return to the academy in 2018, during the graduation of another son, now on his second year.

The father of 2nd Lt. Genesis Dizon, second highest ranking cadet of Sinaglahi class, is also a master sergeant.

M/Sgt. Edgar Dizon serves the Philippine Air Force, which his son will join.

The young Dizon was one of the cadets who gathered the most awards: the academics group award which earned him the vice presidential saber, the humanities plaque, the Spanish Armed Forces award for socio-humanistic subjects and the Australian defense best overall performance award (for service-oriented and English language subjects).–Reports from Jhoanna Marie Buenaobra, Frank Cimatu, Kimberlie Quitasol and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Arwi Chiday Martinez, Graduation, Philippine Military Academy, PMA, PMA graduates, valedictorian
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