Hectic – that is the single word that explains the first quarter of my year. I am a workaholic but this first quarter had been the most busiest first quarter I have had at work. In the previous companies I have worked at, there had not been the same amount of headaches, deadlines and calculations (read: taxation and statistics) to be done.

This job topped those two others plus the on-the-job training I have had.

So when a friend asked me to go to the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy on a weekend, which was within the celebration of Zambales Dinamulag Mango Festival, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to enjoy the weekend (meaning no overtime falling in a weekend) for a bit.

The invitation was for an Observation Tour at the PMMA. The activity was part of the Mango Festival, which is an annual event (April 25) in Zambales that celebrates the harvest of its main fruit product, the Dinamulag Mango, also known as ‘Kinalabaw na Mangga’ (Carabao Mango). The said variety is known as the sweetest mango in the world.

It was a hot sunny day. Summer in Zambales has always been about hitting the beach, or any places where one can bask under the sun and swim. To be different and in support to local tourism, the PMMA opened its doors to local and foreign tourists. Part of the tour is the silent drill performed by batch 2015.

The students are the epitome of the core values of PMMA: “Kawastuhan,” Kababaang Loob,” and “Kagitingan” [Righteousness, Humility, and Valiance (Integrity)].There is no wonder that many people look upon PMMA graduates with high respect and regards.

We came to PMMA around 9 am. Historically, the location of PMMA has not always been in Zambales. It is one of the academies in the Philippines (such as Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and Philippine National Police Academy) that are considered training grounds of the country’s top ranking officials in the navy, military and police. Simply put, PMMA is the premiere maritime institute in the country.

When we went to PMMA, it was noticeable how the place was well kept. The grounds were clean. No dried leaves on the ground, notices and signs were visible, and there were no graffiti on the walls, which is common in other public areas. Buildings were the shade of light blue. There are mango trees but because it is on its season, signs are also abundant saying it is unauthorized to pick the fruits.

Another plus: clean restrooms.

Overall, the ambience in the campus was calm and laid back. There were no noises other than that played by the speakers on the stage and the common scene of students marching.

The observation tour offered an opportunity for PMMA students to show off their skills during the silent drills, their precision. Another thing is we got to sing (well, it was kind of funny) “Bahay Kubo” with the background music courtesy of their marching band.

While the day tour is enjoyable, the thing that made me feel happy is the fact that I got to meet the PMMA students and some of their staffs. It is delightful to note that in our visit, we have felt – not only seen – the discipline, dedication and values of the students of PMMA.

Every student we met, no matter where in the premises of the academy, greeted us. Another thing was they did not eat until all the guests had their snacks. When we tried to offer them some food, they hesitated and said, “Kayo na po muna.” That was when we realized that they first let the guests eat and took their turn after making sure the guests already did.

They are courteous and answered our questions the best they could when we asked some information about the buildings, and facilities.

The students are the epitome of the core values of PMMA: “Kawastuhan,” Kababaang Loob,” and “Kagitingan” [Righteousness, Humility, and Valiance (Integrity; edited)].There is no wonder that many people look upon PMMA graduates with high respect and regards.

To the students and staff of PMMA we thank you for the warm welcome and accommodation, and salute you for a job well done. With the positive experience, I am looking forward (and hoping really) to be invited again next year.


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