"It was a dream that would elude me, and forever remain........a shattered dream."
when I was still in high school, I already had that passionate
ambition to follow my father’s footsteps. It was my dream to enter the
Philippine Military Academy, of which Dad was a Class 1944 member,
and join the naval service.
There were three of us from our
section of our Cavite National High School class, who took and passed
the PMA entrance exams. Alvin Urbi and Tony Vitan, were the other
two. I was vent on fulfilling my dream so I prepared hard for the
physical fitness part of the recruitment process. I filed a leave of
absence from school and concentrated on the preparations, waking up
early mornings to jog at the parade ground, and also doing some
backyard weightlifting and calisthenics. My preparations paid off
very well, as I was made the lead candidate in our group to
demonstrate to the others how an exercise routine was to be properly
executed. Fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson, who happen to also come
from the province of Cavite, was part of this batch of candidates.
the physical exams, done at Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, we were instructed to report to the
V. Luna General Hospital on another day, for the complete medical and
psychiatric examinations. The psychiatric exams were conducted at
Ward 24, where I got to meet for the first time, a certain Capt Yllana,
a good-looking military doctor who walked with a limp. He is the
father of actors Anjo and Jomari. I would again meet the doctor years
later, under job related circumstances.
Soon, the anxious
waiting for the final results began. As with the entrance exams, Dad,
being in the service, had advance information on who made it even
before the results were officially published. At his office at the
Manila Naval Station, where he was the Commanding Officer, Dad calmly
broke the sad news to me that I was not going to make it. It was
found out in the medical exams that I had a perforated left ear drum,
a damage I probably incurred from diving for mussels and swimming
underwater. He told me he appealed my case with his friend, General
Sotto, who was then the Surgeon General of the Armed Forces, but that
the poor General couldn’t make the head of the EENT Department of
the hospital change the findings. He was told that actual firing
exercises would aggravate my ear condition.
I was completely
devastated and totally speechless, and felt as if the whole world
collapsed on me. I just lost, what seemed to me, something that was
already a part of my future - my dream….. now shattered, and will
forever just remain as such in my memories…. as a shattered dream.
But dreams can be shattered by harsh realities, and these I had to
accept for me to go on. Military life, by divine plan, was not intended
for me, so I supposed. Dad probably could not stand the pain and
sight of a grieving son, that he asked me to go downtown to see a
movie. I don't even remember the movie or what it was all about, for I
was extremely out of focus.
On hindsight, I thought maybe, it
was a blessing in disguise, for you can never tell what fate would
have befallen me had I made it to the Academy and into the service.
Alvin and Lacson eventually bested the other candidates from Cavite, and got the
appointments to represent the province.
perforation was patiently closed over time by then Captain Nicanor
Alto, a military EENT doctor, who would later on become Chief Surgeon
of the Philippine Army. I think, however, that the name of the good
doctor was a misnomer, for Dr. Alto was a diminutive man.
[Back To College Life]