Graduating on top of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2021 is Ensign Jovy Bernardo’s gift to her farmer parents, who made her dreams a reality, for striving to send her to the academy even to the extent of borrowing money just to make sure she makes it to her training.
Jovy, who recently topped the PMMA Sinaglakan Class, graduating as Cum Laude with the degree Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering, narrated that in 2016, she was on her practicum for her undergraduate degree in BS Elementary Education at the Kalinga State University when she heard about the PMMA exam.
Her dream was actually to be an educator and teach children, but she accepted her batchmate’s invitation to take the entrance exam, adding that they were just a walk-in applicant.
Jovy never expected she would pass the exam; however, when she did, her supportive parents, who are both farmers, had to look for means to earn money in order to send her to the academy. Her parents’ earning and wage were not enough, this is why they had to borrow money from a lending company.
“’Yung sa financial po kasi malaki ‘yung babayaran at gastos bago po makapasok, naghirap din sila makahanap ng pera, andoon na rin ‘yung nag interest[nag-loan] pa sila kasi walang wala na po kaming pera,” she recalled.
Jovy graduated at KSU in April 2016 and entered the PMMA probationary in July.
Her family, her strength
One of the greatest challenges Jovy had to endure was the transitionary period of civilian life to quasi-military daily routine. She revealed she had a hard time coping with the training and that her body and her mind had almost given up.
“Sa loob po mahirap yung from civilian ka then papasok ka sa hindi mo nakasanayang routine yun din po isang mahirap dun kasi you need to cope with quasi military training, ‘yung halos wala ka ng tulog at pagod na pagod pa katawan mo,” she said.
But on those times when she felt like giving up, she remembered what her parents had to go through just so she could enter the academy. This was enough to comfort her and make her face another day of training and study with renewed strength.
Hard work is the key
Topping the class of 162 cadets required hard work and diligence, Jovy said. She added that she had to multi-task and manage her time well in order to balance her training and academics.
“Ginawa ko lang is pinagsabay ko ang pag-aaral at training. Nag-aaral ako kung may free time pa, iniisip ko lang noon na one at a time matatapos ko to,” she said, adding that she doesn’t waste time and goes over her notes whenever she can.
Meantime, apart from being a Cum Laude, Jovy also received the Presidential Saber Award, Flag Officer-In-Command Saber Award, and Discipline Award. She is set to join the Philippine Navy.
Jovy is from Bulo, Tabuk City. She is the daughter of Mrs. Lucia Sallosar Bernardo and Mr. Mario Tapang Bernardo.
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