Posted by: nastypen | June 16, 2007

“ROTC is Character Building”

…that’s how I would chant to myself everytime I was about to attend a training day at the UP ROTC. My first two years at the univesity is marred by weekends of panic attacks because, at that time, we were required/coerced to take ROTC or else we won’t graduate at all.

My sister has to witness my weekly meltdowns of me anticipating the hell I get from UP ROTC. I screamed the loudest when I finally finished that state-sanctioned torture. For the rest of my stay in my undergraduate course, I would lose class cards but I never lost my “green card” proving that I finished UP ROTC.

That was ten years ago. Today, college students are lucky enough to CHOOSE whether or not they would like to indulge themseleves in military discipline. UP ROTC has to advertise looking for people willing to join in. Here’s a poster I saw right after my Saturday class in UP Diliman:


Translation: “Would you like to puncture a hole in a one peso coin like this one using an M16? Cool, right?”

Apparently, this is one of the “cool” things you will learn in UP ROTC.

I never learned that one, although what significance do I get from puncturing a hole in a one peso coin aside from wasting money and showing disrespect to our currency?

These are some of the things I learned in UP ROTC circa 1995-1997

1.) I should have gone to Ateneo de Manila University. My friends who went to Ateneo complained to me once how they hated standing under the heat of the sun doing nothing. I told them, “Better that than running around UP Academic Oval with a heavy M1 Garrand under the heat of the sun.”

2.) I didn’t know I was tough until UP ROTC. Growing up bullied, people always had this notion that I am a limp-wristed screamer. Well, I am the only one in my batch in UP Fine Arts that never sought medical attention during any training day. Once, I went to a training day with three days of no sleep from the projects and I endured. I may be a queen, but I don’t do fainting spells. and I NEVER ended up in light duty. Despite my medical certificate, my ticket for office work, I decided to slug it out to see if I can do this and out of shame that my classmates are going to suffer and I will be arranging papers just like a good secretary. So, it was two years of proving to myself that I can do this.

3.) Faggots are the best marchers. I was part of the only freshmen troop to have joined the tacticals and pass in review. Most of us were gay. As part of the torture, bored officers put on a contest on marching. For every mistake, the cadet has to fall out and do push-ups. The only one remaining correctly marching wins. The last three cadets were gay. Guess who won? hehehe. That prize earned me a place in the pass in review. yeyness.

4.) I may be seen a screamer but I bellow like a lion. In UP ROTC, there is this ritual in which the cadets count off. the last cadet must yell the number of cadets in the troop. I always do that. The one who will yell must do it with style. I overpowered the other troops’ “yellers.” I was approached by an officer asking me if I want to be an officer because he heard me command. I just smirked.

5.) There was a time in my life, I was capable of doing 50 push-ups with an M1 garrand tuck between my legs behind me. I don’t think even my high school bullies can ever say that about their college years.

6.) Insecure boys become the biggest asshole officers. Once, we attended the dormitory’s speech contest. One of the contestant mispronounced “Epitome” that sent me into hysterics. He was an officer and he gave me hell every chance he got. I irritated him even more by going at my punishments generally unflinching. There were officers who are such losers that they are isolated in their classes and they seek revenge during training days. Law of the jungle, I guess…the uniform TRIES TO make the man.

7.) I can kiss mud. Some of my friends find it funny that I can ride the jeepney. It’s as if they have an image of me of being a shrilly pampered school girl. I don’t think a lot of people in my circles can say “I commando crawled on mud with wriggling centipedes and saw the guy next to me being attacked by fire ants.”

8.) ROTC is pointless to the academe. It was a complete waste of time riddled with terrorist antics by a select few to a general male populace who would rather do something else during the weekends. It was a complete waste of money for the uniform, the cleaning implements for boots and buckles and for what? just to see who has the shiniest charoled boots?

9.) ROTC is a necessary evil. See how I contradict myself? Why I truly believe in item #8, UP ROTC helped shaped my first two years in college. It’s like chicken pox, you only have to suffer from it once, so might as well be infected earlier than later. Might as well get on with it. Just like the pains of circumcision.

I learned a lot in ROTC and not because of the training, but from the tortures inflicted upon us by officers with nothing better to do. I don’t think I can imagine myself NOT having underwent such a stupid form of military coerced trainings.

One thing for sure, shooting a hole to a coin will never impress me.



  1. […] I was writing another blog awhile ago. It was right after I talked to Jose and read his latest enty. I admit that there are times I really kick myself hard to write as proficiently and grammatically […]

  2. Jose, I read this after we talked over YM, right? Read my latest entry… it somehow a comment on this and our YM.

  3. Take it from a girl whose encounter with military personnel has not been at all favorable. Men with license to carry guns/weapons are not necessarily men of integrity. Nyahahaha. I do, however, have faith in one military man: Maximus, as played by Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Hehehehe. But then even he became hotter only when he was technically kicked out of the military.

  4. i survived rotc by making 3000 chicken sandwich…call it light duty.

  5. Puyat, 3000 sandwiches?!?!?!?!?!?! NAKAKALOWKAAAAAH!!!!! Goodness!!!! Sana naman di mo pa yan binalot sa checkered napkins at MAS nakakabaliw yan!!! Maryosep!!! Walang kwenta talaga ang ROTC

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