For over a century, officers and cadets that undergo training for the Armed Forces of the Philippines have made Baguio City their home. The Philippine Military Academy or PMA boasts of having a long history of preparing the best Filipino men-and, just recently, Filipino women-for military service.
The academy began on October 25, 1898 along with the start of the Academia Militar by virtue of a decree issued by General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the young Philippine Republic. Graduates of the Academy were awarded regular commissions in the Armed Forces. Its existence was, however, short-lived due to the hostilities between the Americans and Filipinos in 1899.
Under American rule, the Philippine Constabulary, which was an officer’s school, was established in Intramuros, Manila, which was the Walled City in 1905. It then relocated a few years after in Baguio City initially at Camp Henry T. Allen, and then subsequently at the Teacher’s Camp. In 1926, the passing of Act No. 3496 renamed the school the “Philippine Constabulary Academy” with efforts to strengthen the faculty and its curriculum. By 1936, in the Commonwealth Act No.1, the law formally created the Philippine Military Academy.
During the outbreak of the Second World War in 1941, classes were disrupted in the Academy that resulted to many of the students graduating ahead of time. These fresh graduates were assigned in combat units in various parts of the country where many of the officers perished during the war.
It was then officially reopened in 1947 back in Camp Henry T. Allen. Due to the need for bigger grounds, it then moved to its present site that developed into a military training institution with infrastructure and facilities required by a growing academy.
Visitors of the city are welcome to explore the grounds of the academy, watch the cadets as they conduct their drills, explore the PMA museum and walk around its grounds to have a look at the vintage tanks and other historical military weapons. It is located at Fort Gregorio del Pillar along Loakan Road. The grounds of the academy are open to the public all year round.
Getting to the PMA can be done by use of private car, taxi or jeepney. Pass through the Loakan Road where you’ll pass by the Loakan Airport to your right. Keep on going straight until you see the Fort Gregorio del Pillar gate on your right. It is about 10 kilometers from Burnham Park and Session Road. Cab fares usually cost about 200 pesos per hour to tour you around the city. Ask the driver to take you inside the PMA grounds and back so you can explore the Academy both by car and by foot. Take the Plaza-Loakan-PMA route from the Central Business District if you opt to take a jeepney to get there.
The PMA is full of pageantry and years of tradition. Drill exhibitions are held during weekends with the much awaited alumni homecoming celebration held yearly in February. Graduation ceremonies are held at the end of the school year, which remains an exciting time for the Academy as well. Get to experience an outstanding display of leadership and military excellence at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio.