For the past 100 years, the officers training school of the Armed Forces in the Philippines has made Baguio City its home. The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) boast of a long and illustrious history of preparing only the best Filipino men (and, in recent times, women) for military service.
Located at Fort Gregorio del Pilar on Loakan Road, visitors Philippine Military Academy History, Traditions & General Information to the City of Pines are welcome to explore the grounds, view the cadets performing their drills, and explore the PMA museum and walk around its manicured grounds to see vintage tanks and other historical military weapons.
The Philippine Military Academy began on October 25, 1898 with the establishment of the Academia Militar in Malolos, Bulacan by virtue of a decree issued by the first president of the young Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo. Graduates were awarded regular commission in the armed forces. Its existence was short-lived, barely four months old, up to 20 January 1899, when hostilities between the Americans and Filipinos erupted.
While the Philippines was under American colonial rule, an officer's school of the Philippine Constabulary was established at the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila on February 17, 1905. It relocated three years later to Baguio City, initially at Camp Henry T. Allen, and subsequently at Teacher's Camp.
The Philippine Legislature on September 8, 1926 passed Act No. 3496 renaming the school the Philippine Constabulary Academy' and lengthened its course from nine months to three years with provisions to strengthen the faculty and revise its curriculum.
On December 21, 1936, Commonwealth Act No. 1 (also known as the National Defense Act) was passed. The law formally created the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and authorized it to confer a Bachelor of Science degree on its graduates after they successfully complete the four-year course.
The outbreak of World War II in late 1941 disrupted training at the Academy. Classes 1942 and 1943 were graduated ahead of schedule, assigned to combat units in various parts of the Philippines. Many perished during the war.
The Philippine Military Academy reopened on May 5, 1947 again at its former location in the Summer Capital, Camp Henry T. Allen.
Due to the need for wider grounds, the Academy moved to its present site at Fort Gregorio del Pilar, a sprawling 373-hectare compound in Loakan, some 10 kilometers from downtown Baguio City. Named after the young hero of the battle of Tirad Pass, General Gregorio del Pilar, PMA in its new location was developed into a military training institution with facilities and infrastructure required by a growing academy.
Its pre-war technically-oriented curriculum, patterned after that of the US Military Academy at West Point, was restored. Socio-humanistic courses were added In the 1960s, as the curriculum underwent major changes, and strengthened to balance the techno-scientific disciplines, with a view towards providing a well-rounded education relevant to the needs of a growing Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In 1993, PMA was transformed into a 'Tri-Service Academy', which introduced specialized, branch-of-service-specific courses in the last two years of training, preparing fresh PMA graduates for their specific branch of service, for the graduates to be 'field-ready', 'fleet-ready' or 'squadron-ready' upon graduation. Also that same year, in accordance with Republic Act 7192, the first female cadets were admitted into the Philippine Military Academy.
To build the desirable character traits expected of cadets, they live under an atmosphere of restraint prescribed by rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are all codified into what is known as the Graybook or "cadet bible." The Graybook defines, specifies, and covers all the "do's" and "dont's" of cadet behavior, activities and actuations.
Cadets follow very unique customs and traditions that are premised on the principle that "no one is fit to command who has not learned to obey." This tradition calls for certain standards which the plebe - fresh from civilian life must meet. It also considers several corrective measures the upperclassmen may take to enable the plebes to meet the standards. In other words, the custom operates to develop good qualities and individuals. Likewise, it helps him exercise his leadership. This custom is known as the Fourth class System.
Another equally, if not more important means of developing the character is the Honor System. The system is very special to the cadets, and transcends all aspects of his life in the Academy. It presupposes clean thinking and honest dealing; therefore, deception is neither tolerated nor are undue advantages allowed to be taken by one another.
The following topics should define in a nutshell the life of a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy: