May 27, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

Four Cordillerans who are members of the Philippine Military Academy Bagong Sinag Class of 2024 will receive a Latin honor and special awards during their graduation rites at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City on May 18.

They are Cadets 1st Class Samuel Alduos Gloria of Camp 7, Baguio City who will receive the Chief Justice Saber; Jake Matiw of Bontoc, Mountain Province as the Athletic Saber awardee; Zita Dewi Nirvana Messakaraeng of Tabuk City, Kalinga as the Humanities Plaque recipient; and Ronald It-itan of Sabangan, Mountain Province as one of the cum laude graduates.

Gloria, 24, said he was inspired to enter the academy because of his parents who have been members of the PMA Host Parents Association since 2008.

“One day, nagdala sila ng kadete belonging to Class 2011 and I was inspired by them. So, the career path I wanted to take is the same with theirs,” Gloria said.

The host parents provide a home to their cadet foster children during weekend breaks and privileges, like their own family members until they graduate from PMA.

Gloria, who will join the Army, said he would also love to be a foster parent in the future as a means of giving back to the institution.

Matiw, 25, said he joined PMA and the Army service to help his family and be a source of inspiration to his townmates in Bontoc. He is a bemedalled athlete, competing in various aquathlon and duathlon competitions while studying at PMA. 

PRIDE OF THE CORDILLERA — Three sons and a daughter of the Cordillera who are part of the 278-strong members of the Philippine Military Academy Bagong Sinag Class of 2024 will receive a Latin honor and special awards during their graduation rites at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City on May 18. They are (from L) Cadets 1st Class Samuel Alduos Gloria of Baguio City – Chief Justice Saber; Jake Matiw of Bontoc, Mountain Province – Athletic Saber; Zita Dewi Nirvana Messakaraeng of Tabuk City, Kalinga – Humanities Plaque; and Ronald It-itan of Sabangan, Mountain Province – cum laude. — Ofelia Empian

The soft spoken It-itan, 22, just like most cadets who entered PMA, said he wanted to help ease his parents’ financial burden in sending him and his five other siblings to school.

Entering the PMA has its own cost for each cadet, but financially, he said it is of no cost to his parents. He will join the Air Force service.

The 21-year-old Messakaraeng said she also chose the Air Force because of the encouragement of her squad leaders and buddies in the PMA who are part of the service.

Messakaraeng said it was her mother who encouraged her to enter the academy. 

The PMA not only molded the graduating cadets academically but also socially and has further nurtured their talents, as Messakaraeng also took part in the Cadet Combo band in the academy.

She served as the vocalist of the band and confirmed that her name “Nirvana” indeed came from the ‘90s Grunge band’s name, recalling fondly that her father is a fan of the band.

The cadets joining the Air Force will have two years training prior to being deployed, while those who chose the Army will be deployed after their graduation.