Female cadet from Ilocos Sur tops PMA Class of 2019


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MANILA, Philippines – A female cadet from Ilocos Sur graduates at the top of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 2019, making her the fifth woman to be honored as Valedictorian in the premiere military school in the country.
Female cadet from Ilocos Sur tops PMA Class of 2019

Cadet 1st Class Dionne Mae Apolog Umalla hails from Allilem Daya village in Alillem town, Ilocos Sur. Besting the 263-strong PMA MABALASIK (Mandirigma ng Bayan, Iaalay ang Sarili, Lakas at Tapang, Para sa Kapayapaan) Class of 2019, this young woman received praise online as netizens applauded her achievement in the once male-dominated profession.

Female cadet from Ilocos Sur tops PMA Class of 2019
Photo credit: Ian Russell Requiso / Midtown Photography - PNA

This year’s batch, though, has 73 female cadets. Umalla isn’t the only female in the Top 10. She is also joined by Cadet 1st Class Glyn Elinor Buansi Marapao who hails from Buguias town in Benguet province. Marapao happens to be the sister of the third top cadet of the PMA Salaknib Class of 2017, Eda Glis Marapao; the younger Marapao ranks eight in her class.

There are also three other female cadets in the Top 10: Cadet 1st Class Jahziel Gumapac Tandoc of La Trinidad, Benguet; Cadet 1st Class Marinel Dinihay Fundales of Leganes, Iloilo; and Cadet 1st Class Ruth Angelique Ricardo Pasos of Pasig City.

“My Mom is My Hero”

Umalla credits her success to her mom, whom she considers a hero. The youngest child with three elder brothers, she was just in Grade 2 when her soldier dad left the family for another woman.

Her mother, Dominga Umalla, took care of the four children by herself, working as a public school teacher at Alilem National High School.

Female cadet from Ilocos Sur tops PMA Class of 2019
Photo credit: EV Espiritu / Inquirer

The valedictorian shared how she left their town at a young age to study elementary at Saint Louis College in San Fernando City, La Union. Early on, she was already an achiever. A consistent honor student, Umalla graduated as valedictorian from elementary.

She was among the 30 scholars nationwide who attended the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities in Tanauan, Batangas. She was already in her second year, taking up an Education degree at the school when she decided to join the PMA.

She continued with great records as she entered the PMA, joining the President's List on her second year. Thanks to her stellar school performance, she is also set to receive the following awards:

  • Academic Group Award
  • Agfo Award
  • Australian Defense Best Overall Performance
  • Computing and Information Sciences Plaque
  • Distinguished Cadet Award
  • Humanities Plaque
  • Jusmag Award
  • Management Plaque
  • Natural Science Plaque
  • Phil. Navy Saber
  • Presidential Saber
  • Social Sciences Plaque
  • Spanish Armed Forces Award

Umalla plans to serve in the Navy.

Watch this report featuring Umalla and others in the Top 10:


The PMA graduation ceremony for 'MABALASIK' class is set on May 26.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express


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