Cadet First Class Arwi Chiday Martinez, a proud Igorot from Loakan Proper, Baguio City, was named as the valedictorian of the 171-strong Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinaglahi Class of 2015. Sinaglahi stands for Sundalong Isinilang na may Angking Galing at Lakas, Handang Ipaglaban and Bayan.
The announcement was released to the media by the country's premier military institutions with its headquarters located in Baguio City, Philippines.
A son of a Kankanaey father and Ibaloi mother, Cadet First Class Martinez will receive the Presidential Saber from President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Philippine Army Saber and is also the JUSMAG (Joint US Military Assistance Group) Awardee and Tactics Group Awardee on March 15 during the graduation ceremony of the Philippine Military Academy.
His father Darcio, a forester from Buguias, Benguet, said he and his wife, an Ibaloi from the Chiday clan of Loakan in this city, fully support their son's decision and whatever plans he has for the future.
Martinez's uncle, Jackson Chiday, the elder brother of his mother, was speechless when called for an interview.
When he got his voice back, Chiday said Arwi's achievement is an honor not only for him and his family but for all Ibaloi and Igorots, the term used for the various ethnolinguistic groups of the Cordillera region.
A "thanksgiving ritual" will be performed by their clan after Arwi's graduation, said Chiday, who is president of the Onjon ni Ivadoi, a union of Ibaloi residents in this city spearheaded the celebration of Ibaloi Day on February 23.
Martinez is one of two Cordillerans to land in the Top 10 of this year's graduating PMA class. Cadet First Class Jan Klyde Danganan, from Irisan, is ranked No. 7.
Cadet First Class Arwi Chiday Martinez will be joining the Philippine Army.
Here's the Complete List of the PMA Class of 2015 Top 10 Cadets:
- Cadet 1CL Arwi Chiday Martinez of Loakan Proper, Baguio City
- Cadet 1 CL Genesis Salvador Dizon (Army) of Block 1, Airmen's Village EAAV, Sta Maria, Zamboanga City.
- Cadet 1 CL John Paul Bacsain (Army) of 028 Cabuto Street, San Antonio, Pili, Camarines Sur.
- Cadet 1 CL Paolo Dominic Regis (Philippine Navy Saber) of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
- Cadet 1CL Caroline Jhoy Nacional of Purok Liwliwa, Barangay Malalag, Maitum, Sarangani.
- Cadet 1CL John Denver Bambico of Ambaracao Norte, Naguilian, La Union.
- Cadet 1CL Jan Klyde Danganan (Navy) of UB Housing, Irisan, Baguio City.
- Cadet 1 CL Steven Tali (Navy) of C 1080 Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City.
- Cadet 1 CL Brian Villanueva (Army) of Anas Subdivision, Lagao, General Santos.
- Cadet 1 CL Regeric Fuentes (Army) of Barangay Sangat, Mlang, North Cotabato.
With reports from Arthur L. Allad-iw.