LAOAG CITY – From finishing as magna cum laude at the Northwestern University (NWU) in 2013, 24-year-old Tranz Aira Aguilar of Laoag City found herself among the Top 11 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) this year.
She shared that it was her parents who encouraged her and her brother to pursue a military career, particularly beginning with the PMA.
“Na-encourage at na-challenge ako, knowing the career na pwede kong mapuntahan,” Aguilar shared, “Alam kong mahirap, pero alam ko rin na ang sarap sa pakiramdam kapag natapos mo iyon.”
Aguilar is the first in the family who finished a military education. The siblings entered the PMA together, but her older brother fell almost a year behind due to a six-month medical leave. He is to graduate next year.
Saying that the first two months at PMA were the most difficult, she said, “Iyon talaga yung pinaka-rigid na training from civilian life to military life… Mabibigla ka talaga at hindi mo maiiwasang maiyak doon. It’s an entirely different world.
“Wala ka masyadong tulog, wala masyadong kain, at lahat dictated – hindi mo pwedeng gawin lahat ng gusto mong gawin.”
Nevertheless, it was during their military training that she and her brother proved “blood is thicker than water.” Aguilar also shared that at tough times, their parents would send them letters of support and encouragement.
Having a degree in hotel and restaurant management (HRM), major in cruise management, Aguilar has a background in the maritime industry. Hence, she has chosen to join the Philippine Navy.
She had intended to study at PMA right after finishing high school at the Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL), but had been below the age limit at that time. So as not to waste any time, she enrolled at NWU and unexpectedly enjoyed the HRM course enough to finish it.
Soon, she will be undergoing a six-month basic naval officer course, after which she will be deployed for the service.
“Wala kaming desisyon kung saan kami madedestino,” she shared, “Pero saan man ako madedestino, tatanggapin ko iyon kasi alam ko naman na pinili ko yung Navy, at ibibigay ko yung buong puso ko sa Navy.”
She hopes that other youth, especially Ilocanos, are inspired to pursue their dreams even if they seem unattainable.
“Keep on pursuing your dreams, kasi hindi siya imposible. Kahit na sa tingin mo, napakahirap, ituloy-tuloy mo lang. You will make it. Naniniwala ako na maraming may kaya na puntahan itong career na ‘to, lalong-lalo na sa mga Ilocano.
“Dapat, mayroon kang vision ng gusto mong puntahan. Whatever your dream or ambition is, maniwala ka lang na maaabot mo iyon, and eventually, as time passes, hindi mo mamamalayan na papunta ka na pala doon.