2nd Lieutenant Rona Joy Batan Esnara, a pure-blooded Igorot from Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya, graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Class of 2021.
The University of New South Wales Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (UNSW Canberra) is a joint venture between the Australian Defence Force and the University of New South Wales. It is a unique institution, with a focus on producing graduates with military and strategic understanding for both the Australian Defence Force and the wider world.
The Igorota, along with other fellow Filipino cadets, totaling 294 newest officers, graduated from the prestigious university on December 4, 2021, after completing a three-year training and academic program with Australian military officers.
2LT Esnara is a proud Igorot from Bokod, Benguet, and Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya. She attended Saint Louis University, the Philippine Military Academy, Australian Defence Force Academy, and the University of New South Wales. Her journey took her 8 years.
"It was a long but amazing journey! I am so endlessly grateful to every opportunity, memory, and to every person who helped me get to where I am today. To my family, friends, teachers and mentors, foster families (to our foster families in Baguio and Australia for being our home away from home), mistahs, upper-class and underclass, staff and our manongs, Thank you kindly❤️ Si Apo Shiyos eh meshedjaw🙏
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, ADFA was unable to facilitate public access to this year's ADFA Graduation Parade. Members of the community were able to join the event live on Youtube and the ADFA Facebook page.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, said he was proud of the trainee officers' efforts to maintain high standards of achievement in military and university studies during what has been a difficult time for all Australians.
2LT Rona Joy Batan Esnara will return to the Philippines to join the Air Force.