AYLC alumni graduate first, second of PMA class of 2016

The Philippine Military Academy has time and again proved itself to be the breeding ground for a rare kind of leader. Cadets are held up to the highest standards and to rise through its ranks is no mean feat.
As the smallest batch of PMA graduates since 1970 prepares for the challenges outside the academy, two of these outstanding cadets prove that they are more than equal to the task.
A former Civil Engineering student, Kristian Daeve Abiqui, or Gio to friends, began to consider a military career when he was in college. “I was very ideal. Like everyone else, I wanted to change the world. I eventually realized that if you really want change, you should be able to step up. So I found PMA a very nice avenue for me to change something.”
“If there is one organization where I am able to incessantly hone my leadership skills and ability, it would be the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines, the student body of the Philippine Military Academy. Joining the institution, I know I am destined for something great. As early as my plebehood years, my upperclassmen already instilled in me the kind of leadership I won’t learn anywhere else,” he added.
Christine ‘Chin’ Calima was valedictorian of her high school class and was already taking up BS Accountancy when she was entered the PMA. A native of Bolinao, Pangasinan, she has never let her gender get in the way of her service.
On March 13, they will be graduating at the top of the PMA Gabay Laya (Gintong Anak ng Bayan, Alay sa Buhay Para sa Kalayaan) Class of 2016.
Gio, the class valedictorian, will receive the Presidential Saber. He will also receive the Philippine Navy Saber, the Australian Defence Best Overall Performance, and the General Antonio Award, among others.
Chin, who graduates second, is the only female in the Top 10. She will also  receive a host of awards, including the Vice President Saber, Philippine Air Force Saber, General Aguinaldo Award, Australian Defence Award, and the Tactics Group Award.
“To be able to surpass all the challenges and hardships here in PMA is an honor, and now, to graduate with flying colors in an overwhelming success. As a female cadet… this is proof that we can also do what our male counterparts can do,” Chin said.
Their leadership qualities were evident even during the 17th Ayala Young Leaders’ Congress (AYLC), a four-day congress that Gio and Chin attended along with their then fellow cadet, 2nd Lt Nico de Jesus, who was Deputy Brigade Commander of their class and graduated 13th overall. 
AYLC gathers 81 promising student leaders from colleges and universities all over the country. As the Ayala group’s concrete commitment to nation-building, the congress is designed to build the participants’ confidence and hone their leadership skills, to nurture commitment to integrity and principled leadership, to foster nationalism and idealism, and to encourage faithful stewardship of their communities and the country’s future. 
Of his AYLC experience Gio said that the biggest challenge was the ‘fifth day’ and the remaining days after the congress. “I can bring something I learned from (AYLC) to the academy.” He also praised the consultation process introduced to the participants during the congress, which was a new experience for him. “We really have to identify the real problem so we can go about to addressing it the proper way. You have to listen carefully.”
“AYLC opened my eyes to other perspectives of leadership. I was able to meet different people and learn differences and solutions to their problems,” Chin added. “Definitely, AYLC helped me become a better leader and follower.”

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