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For high school in the Philippines almost all students will go through the CAT before graduating. You would probably wonder what is a CAT? CAT means Citizen Army Training. Just like the military. We have to go through the drill and formation. For most of the schools here private or public it’s really mandatory for a senior student to have the CAT. In my school, being just girls exclusively and not many senior students, that’s why the junior students were called to filled in. With the CAT it also had a band that played while we were in the formation.
Our CAT uniform was really like the military, and we had a rifle too. Were using the fatigue and the shoes has to be really shiny and the belt. Our Colonel really checked our belt if she could see herself, just like a mirror. If she could not, then it’s not shiny enough. You got punished for that. Also, there was a certain way to fold the handkerchief and the way to put the hat. If you had long hair you had to tie that and tuck it in inside the hat or use some hair clip that would hide your hair so that it wouldn’t go in your face . The clip to be used had to be black. They really were strict on that. Can you imagine the drill in the hot sunny day over 100 degrees. We got sunburned a lot. If there was a contest against all schoosl private and public school (GenSan and the neighboring provinces) we would really have the drill (practice) for a whole day with Saturday and Sunday whole day too. Sometimes one of the students would pass out being under the hot sun for hours. Try not to pass out because the punishment will await you. To be honest I passed out one time. I think if I remember before going to school that day I didn’t eat breakfast. Man I really suffered later. I just fainted while in the drill. When I felt better later I had to give 20 push ups. I’m not happy to give but had to do it. Luckily it doesn’t happen a lot. I think being an all girls school we wanted to prove to everyone that we can do it. To be honest we really got good marks during the contest. Scores for the contests were really for the formation, rifle assembly, the band and discipline of course for the Cadettes.
One thing too on the training, don’t be late on the drill because the punishment would really be more than the push ups. Honestly on the military thing like the CAT students were not late. If our Captain leader said be here at 15 hundred we would be there 10 minutes before the time. But if our class president say we have a meeting at the classroom by 9am most of the classmates would be late like 10 to 15 minutes. I think because no punishment. With the military right in front of everybody you get punished.
In all honesty I’m glad to have the training. Just didn’t want it to be 2 years. It’s harder if your the lower year because as if your the slave. You will serve the higher years. It’s like payback time. Since they were punished a lot in the junior years they will pay it back when time for them in the senior years. I guess I had resentment at that time. Looking back now its kind of funny and fun. It was fun though like all of us be punished and all of us do the push up or sitting in the air. Were so serious in the drill but when we get back to our classroom we would be bursting in laughter, but we would not let the officer know that we are laughing on that. We might get more punishment next time we have the drill.
One time during our junior years one of my classmates, she’s really the clown in the class. Right before our CAT time, my clown classmate made a fashion show in our classroom using her rifle. She’s really making all kind of tricks with her rifle. Of course we were all laughing at it. We didn’t realize that one of the officer passed by the corridor in the classroom and saw what my classmate did. The officer didn’t like it. We all got the punishment. She told us to give 50 push ups. She immediately said that it’s a fault for all. We didn’t say anything, we just followed because if you said something they would give us more punishment.
I will share next time our training its not an easy one especially if your aspiring to be in a higher officer and my best friend was the lucky one to be chosen as the Colonel.
Oh! CAT days, if it wasn’t mandatory I would not attend… I remember when I arrived late, our captain (which was my crush) was screaming at me in front of everyone, I was so embarrassed; I had to do push ups. ha!ha! ha! Oh! High school life…
During my college days we have ROTC ( Reserve Officers Training Corp). and physical education in high school (PE). Do you Know when C.A.T started? Is PE still in high school curriculum? Are there still ROTC classes in college? Good post. Feyma! Cheers!
CAT??? Oh yes, I remember my poor classmates under the scorching sun, marching and doing all the drills. I was exempted because of "Asthma" and was assigned as a librarian aide during CAT times. Back in high school, our library was in the third floor overlooking the oval ground. It used to be my co-librarian's hobby to count how many would pass out while in the line. Sorry, I know it was mean, but I was in high school!
HI annm, your not excemted your are just doing your punishment by your general commandant officer. if you are real cta,ltc.you know what am saying and am cadeth 2nd leutenant sanjuan cat nagpayong high school
I'm really surprised that students have to go through all of that in the philippines. If it wasnt for the punishments though, I probably wouldnt be too much against it. What's the purpose of getting them so exhausted that they pass out? (and then punish them for that) We have mandatory conscription for all males above 18 years of age in Denmark. You recieve a letter where you fill in a lot of information about yourself (health, education, etc.). If you are currently studying, you can postpone this untill you have finished your education. Later on, you recieve a letter… Read more »
Feyma: Rebecca has a picture from her CAT time, in her uniform. She tells me that she really liked it since it got them outside and not in the classroom. She was the squad leader, but she told me they also took citizenship tests during her training (Learning the constitution, little history, and so on). I believe that the CAT is as much about being a good citizen as any real military training.
Wouldn't your eldest son be starting soon?
Hi John – Good for Rebecca. Thinking back the old days time. 😉 That's right we have examinations about the Philippines constitution and the drill formations. Yeah, its really a good training for us too.
Our oldest didn't go through that. He is a home school kid with special needs.
Thanks for stopping by John!
Hi annm – Lucky you that you were exempted. You can't be under the hot sun for a long time though with your asthma. But you missed out the fun being with the classmates in training. Really when we get high points from the contest its really a nice feeling too.
Oh well, that's part of our high school life that we never forget.
Good to see you here. Keep reading. Take care!
i think it made you a stronger and better person Feyma–and i think this is one of the best articles i have read here–thank you for this article
Hi Adamite – I know what you mean. Honestly just by talking to some of my nieces and friends kids the training now of the CAT I don't think its as rigid as what we went through before. They are more lenient now towards the Cadette than before. Right now the boys here above 18 years of age are not force to joined up anything as far as I know. They are required though to joint the training again during college. Not sure how many units they need for that. Thank you for your comment. I hope to see you… Read more »
Hi james – Yes I really learned a lot from that training. The disciplined for myself especially.
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