HISTORY OF THE UP VANGUARD
By BENJAMIN VALLEJO
UP Vanguard Class of 1952
Rewritten by ROBERT JOHN S. COSICO
UP Vanguard Class of 1992
Duty well performed, Honor untarnished, and Country above-self has been the
shibboleth and clarion call of the UP Vanguard since its inception 78 years ago.
The UP Vanguard tradition begins with
the UP ROTC Cadet and the academic system
and military program under which he is
developed. It is a tradition incepted from the
time he enters the Corps as a humble but
dignified member in search of truth and
knowledge. It is the tradition engendered
through the years even after he graduates from
the ranks of the Corps and the University; a
tradition that marks him not only for service
but also for leadership in his chosen field of
endeavor. It binds him to his brethren and his
Alma Mater; and keeps him forever tied to the
development of succeeding generations in the
Organized military training in the
University of the Philippines started in 1912 at
the old Padre Faura Campus when it was made
a required subject for all able-bodied male
students in all colleges, institutes, and schools
of the University.
During the early years after its inception,
military training in the University was mainly in
infantry and the use of the rifle. Captain
Silvino Gallardo of the Philippine
Constabulary was named first military
instructor and assumed office during the first
semester of 1912.
Although the Philippines had no significant
military involvement during World War I, the
conflagration made the Philippine Government
realize the need for a good reserve force of
able-bodied Filipinos trained in the art of war
capable of resisting foreign aggression.
With the formal organization of the UP
DMST on March 17, 1922, military drill was
superseded by the term "military science and
tactics". Together with this, the objectives and
purposes of the Department were announced:
1st. To develop patriotic, physically sound,
upright and disciplined citizens;
2nd. To create a Corps of Trained Officers for the
Reserve Force; and
3rd. To take the lead in fostering the University
Studies in Military Science and Tactics in
the University of the Philippines are curricular
activities, much as the DMST is a curricular
department. Since the opening of the
Department in 1922, the basic course in infantry
has been compulsory and a prerequisite for
graduation in the academic courses.
On March 5, 1925, the UP Board of
Regents in their 273rd meeting approved the
granting of University Certificates to those
students who have completed the advanced
course, thus making these students alumni of
the University even though they might not have
yet finished their academic courses.
The field artillery unit was established on
October 26, 1929 with the issuance of 75 mm
field guns. In 1935, a mounted battery unit was
organized equipped with 2.95 inch guns.
With the support given by both the
Government and the University at that time,
greater impetus was given to military training
with the then DMST more than able to live up
to its avowed objectives. Such that during the
193Q's, other than the now defunct Philippine
Constabulary Academy, the UP ROTC
produced most of the leaders who were
destined to distinguish themselves in the
Defense of the Philippines in 1941 to 1942,
and the succeeding resistance war against the
With the formal
establishment of the
Department of Military Science
and Tactics as a curricular unit
of the University in 1922, the
military fraternity spirit had its
modest but significant
beginnings. Though informally
called undervarious names, the
apt choice of UP Vanguard
Fraternity came about with
the class of 1934 as a fraternity
of the Corps, with the alumni
also carrying on with the
organization after graduation.
War in the Philippines came in the ear!y
morning of December 8, 1941. Cadets in the
advanced courses were mobilized and joined
the Philippine Army, many of them going on
to fight in Bataan and Corregidor.
In December 25, 1941, Manila was declared
an open city. Together with this, the UP DMST was officially closed for
the duration of the war, its mission of preparing a good part of the citizen
army leadership had been accomplished, its history to be written in the
blood of the enemy and its own.
The Vanguard brotherhood was subjected
to severe tests during World War II and the resistance warfare against
Japan. Despite the chaos and resultant disorganization brought by the
war, the fraternal bonds kept the members together. Many Vanguards distinguished
themselves during the war-and it became corollary that the UP Vanguard
would be the Nation's vanguard.
Some of the Vanguards who excelled in
the field of battle during World War lI include
Major Alfredo M. Santos and Captain
Adamin Tallow who drew first blood from
the Japanese invader in the beach defense of
Mauban and Atimonan in December 1941.
The two were likewise charged with the
delaying actions as the Southern Luzon Force
withdrew to Bataan. Major Santos would later
on rise to become the first four star general of
the AFP in 1963.
Even with the fall of
Bataan on April 9,1942, the UP
Vanguards remained dauntless.
Major Macario Peralta Jr.
carried on with guerilla warfare
in the island of Panay. His
methodical and scientific
manner of warfare earned him
the respect of many of his peers
and placed him among the ranks
of the best guerilla leaders
during the war.
Captain Salvador Abcede, Class '36 led
the resistance fighters in the island of Negros. Lt Col. Salipada Pendatun,
also of Class '36 was the leading guerilla leader in southern Mindanao.
Brig Gen Carlos P Romulo, on the other
hand, was in charge of the famous "Voice On the other hand, while the
Vanguard of Freedom".
After the war, the UP DMST
immediately reorganized and activated as part
ofthe Manila ROTC on August I,1946. Military
training resumed at the Diliman campus during
the school year 1949-50. By then, the
communist insurgency in the Philippines gained
headway and the Korean War had begun.
Once again, manyVanguards answered the call
to the colors. Among those who served in
the Korean war were 2nd Lt. Rodolfo
Villarica, '48; 2nd Lt Bienvenido R Castro
' 49; 2nd Lt Dionisio de Leon, '49; 2nd Lt
Jose D Drilon Jr ('51); 2nd Lt Alfredo de la
Cruz ('50); 2nd Lt Baltazar Aguirre ('51);
and 2nd Lt Benjamin R Vallejo, '52.
On the other hand, while the Vanguard Fraternity of the Corps of Cadets continued
after the war, the alumni organization remained
informal. In 1952, a move spearheaded by
Gen. Macario Peralta Jr., then Senator, Colonel Joaquin Hidalgo, then UP Commandant of Cadets
and then AFP Judge Advocate General, later on Supreme Court
Chief Justice,Fred Ruiz Castro was initiated to revitalize the alumni organization. On the
30th anniversary of the organization of the
DMST on 29 March 1952, the biggest postwar
UP Vanguard Homecoming was effected as
more than 500 alumni marched to Diliman.
General Peralta became the first National
Commander of the UP Vanguard as an
Ten years later, in 1962, during the
incumbency of Gen. Alfredo M. Santos as
National Commander and during the 40th
Anniversary of the DMST, the UP Vanguard was
incorporated and has since been known to this
day as the UP Vanguard Incorporated.
During the same year, the official seal of
the UP Vanguard was likewise adopted. The
original seal was designed by then Captain
Jaime M. Cortes of class '53. Under the
Vanguard constitution existing at that time, the
UP Vanguard seal should have been a simple
circle bearing the words UP Vanguard.
However, in their desire to infuse the UP Spirit
into its seal, the Board of Governors then
decided to include the UP Eagle and college
insignias as shown in the oflicial university seal.
The year 1922 was likewise included in the seal
as it was during this year when the UP DMST
officially became one of the curricular
departments of the University-the institution
from which all members of the UP Vanguard
received their training.
The year 1964 marked Philippine
involvement in South Vietnam. Once again, this
provided the opportunity for UP ROTC
Graduates to prove their worth. Captains
Agripino R de Guzman and Benjamin
Vallejo earned the Silver Star for gallantry in
action and the Medal of Honor for civic action
duty in Vietnam. Captains Jose P Magno Jr.,
Constante Quiaoit and Ricardo Octavio
were awarded the RVN Medal of Honor.
Other Vanguards who served in Vietnam
include Major Bienvenido R Castro and
Captain Romulo Yap, among others.
The 60's ushered in the era of student
activism. The youth, including cadets were
affected by the search for national relevance.
On September 15, 1968 upon the insistence
of graduates and cadets of the UP ROTC, and
under the able leadership of Captain Benjamin
Vallejo, the now famous "Sunday Soldiers"
came into being. A purely voluntary civic-
military undertaking sponsored by the
University Chapter and the UP DMST, this
program was designed to make participants
therein to be Citizen Soldiers - good motivated
citizens and eflective, loyal soldiers. The
volunteer concept became popularly known
as the "Rainbow" Ranger training concept.
Although the membership spread to other
institutions, the leadership remained with the
UP ROTC and the UP Vanguard.
In the meantime, the UP Vanguard Inc.
continued to grow. During the term of Eng'r.. Donato T. Pangilinan '54
as National Commander in 1967, the organization of chapters all over the
country was seriously implemented. Within the metropolis, the Capitol
Chapter headed by Eng'r.. Ernesto F. Sanvictores '52 and the Manila Chapter
headed by Col Jose D. Regala '38 were immediately organized. In April
1968, agroup of young Vanguards still connected with the University as
students or faculty members formed the University Chapter, headed by esus
F. Fuentes Jr. '66. This was soon followed by the organization of the
Makati, Pasig, Metro Manila Los Banos, Los Banos, Los Banos University,
Baguio-Northern Luzon, Amianan, Cebu and Davao Chapters of the UP Vanguard
In November 1971, a whole battalion of
Sunday Soldiers and UP Cadet Of ficers formed the "Liberator Battalion"
which policed the elections in the Lanao Provinces under the command of
Lt Col Benjamin Vallejo. During its 3-week stint of peacekeeping in Lanao,
nine citations for bravery were earned by cadets of the battalion. Cadet
Captain Mariano Angeles-was cited for bravery in action against Muslim
malefactors in the mountain fastness of Butig, Lanao del Sur on November
9, 1971. Ranger John Fortes of class '70 and Cadet Captain Eustaquio Granadillos
also earned citations for bravery at Puala and Malabang respectively.
The early years ofthe 70's also witnessed
Vanguards in action in the field of disaster relief operations. During
the floods and disasters of 1972, the men of the UP ROTC again proved
their mettle in crisis. Under the initiation of Ranger Virgilio Platon,
young volunteers formed disaster, mercy and rescue units. As floodwaters
continued to grow, l 00 young UP volunteers operated at the Calumpit-Apalit
area where the Pampanga river rampaged. Likewise in the south, Laguna
lake flooded the northern Laguna towns. A similar group of 100 volunteers
from the UP in Los Banos and the Laguna Institute, all members of the
"Rainbow " brigade joined hands in disaster and relief operations.
The period also saw an increase in
various civic actions conducted by the Corps
of Cadets. In 1972, the UP DMST transferred
to its present site after the old DMST was
burned down in March 1970.
The 70's also became witness to the so-
called "Vallejo decade". Upon his assumption
as Commandant of Cadets in 1972, Ben Vallejo
stayed on until his retirement in 1982 as a
Brigadier General of the AFP His long tenure
spelled stability, and with his able leadership
coupled with his capture of the post of
superintendent, the DMST and the Corps once
again rose to glory. At this point in time, all the
best instructors, facilities, and logistics were
made available to the Corps of Cadets.
Moreover, alumni brods became more active
in their participation in the various programs
and activities of the Corps.
The post Vallejo period however, proved
to be a very trying and difficult time. Worse, it
coincided with the country's sorry
socioeconomic and political state. With the
assassination of Sen. Ninoy Aquino and the
ensuing snap elections, the countrywas almost
plunged into chaos, thwarted only bythe EDSA
revolution of 1986. However, the damage was
already done. The bad image experienced by
the AFP at that time brought about by the long
years of martial rule and the series of failed coup
attempts after EDSA, together with the
Department's lack of resources to properly
conduct training as well as the UP studentry's
seeming apathy to the program, led to a nose-
dive in cadet officer enrollment. To make
matters worse, the U P DMST Armory, already
depleted by the fire of 1970, was stripped of all
its armaments by the Administration of that
The 90's proved to be a continuation of
the trend started by the post-Vallejo years.
Cadet Officer enrollment
continued to be low and the
necessary resources remained
lacking. At one point in time,
cadets were constrained to use
2" x 2" wooden stakes to
simulate rifles for drills.
Despite all these, the
Department and the Corps
remained optimistic. Traditions
are still maintained-after all,
these are the soul of the
activities are done,
meritorious ones, are inserted. High standards of excellence and discipline are maintained. The corps now has fewer cadet officers and sponsors, but they are the best. Premium is always placed on quality, never on quantity. With the intriduction of the expanded ROTC program, and the return of drill rifles to the UP Armory, the Department and the Corps are again back on its track of producing top quality men and women for the country. This may not be the best of times for many, but the Corps of Cadets lives, and exults in living.
Men of the UP Vanguard continue to
answer the challenges of the rapidly changing
times Vanguard men have occupied the top
rungs of leadership in the national scene,
whether it be President of the Republic, in
Congress, the Judiciary, the Executive Branch
and within the Armed Forces establishment.
History is replete with Vanguards who
have willingly shed their blood for their country and fellowmen-of Vanguards
who gave their lives for dreams stronger than death.
Vanguards have likewise excelled in the various departments and branches of Government and the private sector. Many stand as government executives and captains of xommerce so much to national development.
As the UP Vanguard celebrates its 75th anniversary, the organization can proudly say that it has provided service and leadership to the nation-facing undaunted the challenges and hurdling the various obstacles brought by the times. For indeed, Vanguards have decided not to go where the path leads them, but to go
where there is no path and lead the way.
To the chosen few of the UP Vanguard, CONGRATULATIONS!
And let us again reaffirm our commitment to the shibboleths of
DUTY WELL PERFORMED,
and COUNTRY ABOVE SELF