The Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific is the premiere maritime academy in the country that trains young men and women to become future marine officers of the shipping industry, and leaders of the country. Situated on a rugged hill in Mariveles, Bataan and spanning an area of 85 hectares, it houses up to 2000 midshipmen and women (as of this writing), academic buildings, training center, parade ground and other sites for the development of the trainees.
The first midshipmen entered last July 1999 and graduated as Soveneas Class of 2003, with just only about 150 something as their total strength. Today, the latest class inside has a total strength of about 500 something. The “03” were considered as the “pioneering class” because they set the standards, traditions and other things that the following classes followed later on. From that moment, every classes has its own legacy, stories and other achievements that their juniors, and even themselves can be proud of.
I am a member of Leganeas Class of 2010, also called 0-10 or oten, the eighth batch of young men and women who entered the sacred walls of the academy on the summer of 2006. As the saying goes, “there is a light at the end of the tunnel”. Just like our predecessors had, we also traveled and hurdled all the hardships, battles and worked together as one to get through that tunnel. Finally, on the humid afternoon of 19 June 2010, we had out last three cheers and finished our studies inside the academy.
We have also our fair share of experiences, achievements and legacy that can be proud of. And that’s what our class name means. Legacy of the Ardent Navigators of the Seven Seas. In fact, we were considered as the class with many first and last, which became the turning point for many changes inside the academy.
For myself and in behalf of my class, and in celebration of our upcoming 10th birthday on 03 April 2016, here are the reasons why we were proud to be a Leganeas 2010.
1. The first class who had their Indoctrination and Orientation Period that spanned for almost two months.
Indoctrination and orientation period is the final phase of an applicant to be finally admitted to the academy. It is a grueling, crushing period where a boy separates to the men and girls to the women. Several basic military drills, academic lessons and other orientation are done here to inculcate discipline and knowledge to the applicants before they call themselves a midshipman.
Previous seven classes had their IOP period for just one month before having their Incorporation Day and finally admitted to the academy. But for the Class of 2010, the MAAP administration decided to increase the days of IOP to further instill knowledge to the applicants.
2. The first class who increased the original total strength from the usual 150 to 200.
To be exact, the class of 2010 started with a total strength of 202, and 18 more were added just after Incorporation Day (but undergone separate IOP), so it brought up from the previous trend of 150 applicants to a massive number of 220. This was done to meet the demands of shipping companies for trainees that will become their future assets that will man their shipping fleet.
3. One of the classes with lowest attrition rate of midshipmen
From the total strength of 202 from the start of IOP, the class had their Incorporation Day with 192 strong men and women. Additional 20 men ended their own IOP with only 2 fell off. Before they took their shipboard training, their number dwindled down to just 192, and they finished their studies with a total of 179 probationary ensigns. It was a pretty good small number of midshipmen that was either terminated due to some offenses, suspended due to medical matters and many more reasons.
4. Barracks was considered to be the “standard barracks”.
During out first summer inside the academy, we were tasked by the Dept of Midshipman Affairs (DMA) commandant to strip down and clean the whole barracks as if it was a brand new building so that the new and freshly admitted IOP probationary midshipmen or PMs will see what a real standard barracks is- and it was just done in one night. From the surroundings of the quarters to every inch of corners of the building, from a simple spec of dust of an electric fan, arrangement of uniform in the lockers, a very small scratch in the wall to the total cleanliness of the head (military term for comfort room, that also includes shower and laundry room) was carefully scrutinized and fixed so that it will be a standard for the following classes.
Finally, at the hour of presentation, many said that it was the “standard barracks” that was never done before. The PMs were allowed to go inside our quarters to see what a barracks looks like.
Although there are some moments that the barracks will go mad and unfixed because, yeah it is a living quarters, but ask any member of the class how to fix a rumbagized room in five minutes, and they can do it without any sweat. Some say, up to this day, this moment is still resonating in the four walls of the
5. First dual course midshipwomen.
The class of 2010 were the second batch where the big shipping company AP Moller – Maersk Lines asked for dual course cadets. Dual course is the conglomeration of two single course offered inside, the Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering. Previously, there were no female midshipmen for the dual course. But because MAAP celebrates diversity of the trainees, they had four female undergone dual course.
Monique Arrojado, Abigael Hernando, Ma Lourdes Magtiza and Mary Joy Abigail Vera were the first female midshipwomen in the academy, and guess what, in the
6. Kamaya Point publications came back after a year of no release.
A success of a class inside the academy is also measured in how many publications were circulated inside during their firstclass year, or the fourth year inside. Kamaya Point is the official publications of the midshipmen fleet of MAAP, and it is regularly produced four times a year; Academic issue (produced entirely by the whole Editorial corps of all classes and released before the end of 1st semester), Foundation issue (released on the day of MAAP’s foundation day, January 14), Recognition issue (solely written, imprinted, ran and produced by the fourthclass or first year midshipmen after their Recognition Day) and Graduation Issue (which is produced only by the graduating class and released a week before their graduation). So for a class to be considered successful, they must produce four (with Recognition Issue as their first during their fourthclass years).
When we came back to the academy from shipboard training and started taking over some duties and responsibilities, it was a shock that the Kamaya Point shut down and no publications were made for an entire year due to some unforeseen reasons. And so the newly formed Editorial Corps staff headed by JM Gaviola and Jeric Bacasdoon revived the publications and so it was. The rest is history.
One of the distinctions of our class’ innovation in KP publications is that the pages were made of glossy paper, and the first to use embossed printing.
7. The first to undergo Initiation Rites.
Initiation rites were done days before the fourthclass midshipmen will have their Recognition Day- the day that they can get the handshake of their seniors, be carried on and be a part of the upperclassmen corps. The initiation rites is a day where the plebes will have their greatest fear put into test- to face all of their upperclassmen, whether they had an offense to them or not, perform massive exercises and other heavy stuff a midshipman could imagine. Some academies and military institutions also call this as the “hell week”.
We had our initiation rites on 17 March 2007 and began on the wee hours. As previously said, the whole class did an “international”, which means we were passed from a company to other company until we end up to our own company. I belong to the Alfa Company so my coymates and I started from Bravo to Charlie, Delta and finally to Alfa. There is one rule hwre- no hazing allowed, so you can imagine what crazy stuffs we were doing in that day.
The following classes had also undergone this rites, but several provisions were made and lighter rules were implemented. Up to this day, again, the dub “first and toughest initiation rites” were also stamped on our class’ name.
8. The well famous Silent Drill company.
Every class has its own silent drill company. It is a group of selected few men and women that performs fancy rifle drills during parades, special occasions and sometimes, we’re invited outside the academy to perform it in front of the civilian people, to also encourage young men and women to try and apply at MAAP.
I said ours was well famous, not because of the company alone, but for the innovations did that the previous silent drill companies never had. From the tri-circle formation, opening and closing flower formation to just simple rifle tricks, it was a pattern that was never followed later on. It was a very versatile and bright idea but will later remember on as the “most unique silent drill company ever”.
9. Innovations were made in the midshipmem fleet on their firstclass year.
Our final year inside saw the sudden boom of number of midshipmen. The thirdclass were the Azeleas class of 2012 with almost 250 midshipmen and the fourthclass, the Arkhegion class of 2013 has over 500 all in all. To properly handle all the underclassmen inside, several innovations were done so that there will be a smooth operation within the midshipmen.
Several new set of officers were formed and introduced as part of the Officer’s Corps, like Medical Officer (a midshipman specializes on handling medical matters, preferably someone that has been a former student of amedical course before entering the academy), Mess Supervisor (in charge of the food, water, condiments including utensils for the fleet inside the mess hall), Installations and Maintenance Officer or IMO (those who were in charge of maintaining electrical appliances, equipments and berthing facilities, computers and payphones in the barracks. I was the 1st Squadron IMO before) and other more.
Other new schemes were also implemented like adding one more Mess Midshipman Duty Officer of the Day or MMOOD (duty officer in charge of smooth operations in the mess hall, including galley and academic building) and to properly control all of the food so that no pilfering will happen from the reefer to the galley. In return, budget was controlled and so that the midshipmen will have more food on the table.
10. The last midshipmem to live with their upperclassmen during plebe years.
Before the Don Emilio Building (plebe’s barracks) was constructed, the plebes were berthed at the fourth floor of the old dormitory together with their upperclassmen. Thirdclassmen occupies the third floor while the firstclassmen stays in the second floor. They were forced to live under scrutiny and prying eyes of their superiors. In this point, some “adventures”, sudden compliances and instructions, misfortunes and other good and bad times with the upperclassmen were experienced by the plebes.
By the time we were plebes, the new dormitory for the fourthclassmen was not yet finished. But, living with the tigers and the immaculates of the fleet is a harsh but fruitful experience because it not only trains yourself from fear and anxiety, but also instills self discipline.
11. 363 days of being a plebe.
The first year inside is the most brutal, gruesome, hardest and most challenging period a midshipman will go through. As a plebe, the strictest rules are applied to them like being on double time, walking a brisk military manner called the “adjutant’s trot”, conducting massive exercises whenever they will make grave offenses and other more. This period will strip down a person’s civilian antics, crush and test the human spirit and build a new character that will suit the life of a real midshipman.
From 03 April 2006 to 31 March 2007, we endured 363 days as a plebe. It was the longest days a class undergone as the lowest mammal inside the Academy. Supposedly, the Recognition Day was scheduled at 24 March but the guest speaker for the event was not available so it was postponed for another week.
12. Was considered to be “the toughest class” ever existed.
This remarks was uttered by the MAAP President, VAdm Santos PN (Ret), days before our Incorporation Day. It was just because we were the first class who had the two month IOP.
13. We have the probably youngest ever licensed Master of all MAAP Alumni Society.
Five years after graduation, our class produced the youngest Master (aka Captain) in the person of Mark Timothy Lucanas, who is just 27 when he took the board exams conducted by MARINA.
His track to the top was very fast: he was promoted to third officer onboard just months after embarkation on his first vessel after graduating. He took the Chief Mate board exam previously conducted by PRC last 2013 and been a second officer onboard before taking the Master’s licensure exam. In MARINA’s rule, an examinee who wishes to take Management level exam as a Master must have a total 36 shipboard months as an OIC-NW before taking it. He had 37 months already as a third and second officer combined so he wasted time no more and took the highest rank examinations, and it paid off.
I took the Management exam three months earlier than him but I am 14 months short so I fell to the Chief Mate category. But I was the first alumnus of MAAP that took and passed the “controversial” exams by MARINA for management level.
14. During the board exam for Officer in charge of the Navigational Watch (OIC-NW), the deck department of the class had the highest percentage of passing- and the first in the history of MAAP.
Way back year 2010 after graduating, we took the board exams for OIC-NW and EW (Engine Watch for marine engineers) when it was still under the supervision of PRC. During the period while we were still reviewing for the exams, the eyes of the whole MAAP community is on us, specifically to the deck department. They are very keen on what would be the percentage of the passing rate of the deck department, who will falter and what would be the grade of the examinees. Previously, no classes ever had a chance to make a perfect passing rate for the deck department. It’s either 98 or 99 percent. Sadly, those who fails the exam becomes famous inside the academy.
Of all the deck department in our class, only ten opted to take written exam and the rest were on walk-in or computerized exams. Out of the 54 strong deck department of our class, all of us passed the exams in just one take. It was a very clear reminder that there is no “jinx” in every class (it was an old fashioned superstition inside that every deck department of a class will have at least one failure).
We may be not the best class ever existed in MAAP, but ours is one of the classes to be remembered. We have also our share of ups and downs, endorsements and troubles, triumphs and chances like any other classes do. Memories still resonate in our memories as if it happened just yesterday. Sadly, we just lost one member last August 2015 because of a very brutal reason, but it can never stop us from moving forward. Instead, this event turned us to work together once again after so many years so that we can find justice for our fallen brother. As our class song goes, “We Are One”.
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