Thursday, February 07, 2008

Anatomy of the Pangangaya

Often times, I find myself writing about peculiarities of life as a cadet in PMA. I remembered a few years back writing about the concept of “Vaultfiles” as we have it here. Then, I also wrote on several occasions about the significance of the Alumni Homecoming, Uncle Bobo and other traditions that we hold on to even if some people do not fully understand the value of these things to cadets and PMA graduates alike. Today, I write about a certain practice that has come to be significant among the cadets. I will write about the tradition of pangangaya.

During my Physical Fitness Test last 31 January, the mood was festive. Not that there was a fiesta or something only that we tend to put some festive mood on important events that our cadetship. Everywhere, one can see signs and other forms of ingenuity intended to boost the morale of the Firstclassmen who will be taking their last Physical Fitness Test at cadets. The festive mood is brought about by these things that really, although little actions, motivate us to do what we have to do to overcome such obstacle. It is our way of telling each other that we can do it. Most especially, it is the way of the underclassmen to say that they wish us the best in this significant chapter of our cadetship. Of course, this comes as a some kind of privilege as you go up the hierarchy of cadetship. Although the practice has evolved to sometimes include a downward shift of this practice, tradition dictates that this is given by a subordinate to a leader as a form of validation that they appreciate his or her leadership.

Of course, as cadets we look forward to these events. For my part, I was excited what was in store for me when I celebrated my birthday last year. I know that to a certain extent, the underclassmen are forced by tradition to extend to me the pangangaya since I was a firstclass cadet, the effort that they will put into doing it will give the idea how much they appreciate you as their leader. Believe me, even as an observer, you can see by comparison which upperclass is more appreciated than the other. Another aspect is that there are occasions when these traditions mark importance on certain parts of your cadetship. For example the privilege of being thrown into the pool at the sundial is only accorded to graduating cadets who celebrate important victories, their birthdays and, of course, during graduation day. As an underclass then, I marveled at the thought of me being “dunked” there. The joy is not on the actual practice since that pool is basically ice cold early in the morning but simply, it marks that you are already at a certain level that you have EARNED the right to be accorded such tradition. It is a privilege that is not earned easily but a reward for your hard work and perseverance. We pass on this tradition to celebrate our cadetship, to mark its triumphs and to express our appreciation for another.

This tradition also comes in various forms. On your birthdays, aside from the dunking at the Sundial Pool, you are given a grand welcome at the mess hall with various decorations being placed at the entrance or sometimes up to your seat. Sometimes, underclassmen will go into the trouble of composing some form of dedication to be read inside the mess hall for everyone to hear. These words although usually funny are, again, expressions of how they know you as a person. In most cases, it’s the only opportunity that they will have to call you things without the fear of being reprimanded or punished afterwards. Aside from birthdays, PFT’s are marked with certain rewards that you get after. The trend now is in giving chocolate drinks but they say it was different in the previous years. The true essence is to show appreciation. A kind of support to one another to say that we are happy for what you have accomplished.

These are the pangangaya’s that I received during the last PFT aside from those in kind that I already consumed (I had 5 chocolate drinks and lots of junk foods)

Believe it or not they made this mock-up... I found this "sleeping cadet" when I came back from mess

This is what the note said

This underclass really took advantage of the opportunity... The one on the side was saying "meron bang PFT?" in English... We should be flattered to be called Generals but the disappointment is when he signed his name...

This was the sign at the stairs. Although this was not intended for me particularly but I appreciated the "poetry"

I consider this one of the best, I found this after I went back to barracks being happy and all because I passed my PFT

Well, that's the little information I can share about this tradition. Forgive the lay-out...

1 comment:

bless said...

sweet din pala sila. =)