Five of ABS-CBN’s talented actors traded their acting hats for camouflage gear last week to take on the Soldier Skills Orientation Training in Camp Tecson, Bulacan last week.
Gerald Anderson, Nash Aguas, Yves Flores, Jerome Ponce, and Elmo Magalona, who all are set to star in the upcoming Kapamilya series A Soldier’s Heart, voluntarily underwent the three-day training that tested their physical, mental, and emotional abilities.
“We knew if we graduated, we would have the privilege of being in the Philippine army reservist. This would also help us portray Philippine scout rangers in our TV series - A Soldiers Heart.” Anderson explained.
Anderson also used the military training he received to have a more positive outlook amidst public backlash with the issue regarding him, Julia Barretto, and Bea Alonzo.
For Aguas, seeing a video of the Marawi attacks made him pursue the training.
“It was like World War II in Marawi while we are here in Manila clueless of what was really happening in our country. Isa ‘yun sa mga naging motivation [ko]. Sa maliit na paraan, maipakita ko ’yong suporta at pagmamahal sa bansa natin,” he said.
The training not only trained the boys to become better scout rangers but also gave allowed them to reflect on the role. Flores saw the training as an achievement.
“The ranger training segregates boys from men. I learned the value of discipline, camaraderie and the love for our country,” he said.
Ponce, on the other hand, thought of the hardships the soldiers go through on a daily basis.
“Ang mga army, soldiers, rangers ang real heroes because wala tayong alam how they live everyday from training until sa battlefield. All they want is to make our country free and safe,” he said.
In the span of three days, the boys have learned a lot about what goes on with a soldier’s life in camp and in battle.
“They showed us na kailangan mong mapagdaanan ito bago mo mapatunayan na gagawin mo ang lahat, mapagtanggol lang ang iyong bansa. Ang pinakamahirap at pinaka-memorable sa training para sa akin, ay ’yong pangatlong araw namin sa camp. ’Yong pagakyat namin ng bundok daladala ang bandolier, rucksack at mga baril namin,” Elmo said.
He also added, “We performed a simulation at doon ko naramdaman ’yong totality ng training namin, lahat ng tinuro. You have to make sure to apply all of them because you and your squad will go down if you don’t.”
Although they seem to speak highly of their experience in the camp, they also admit that they came a time where they had to think about backing out from training.
“Ilang beses ko na gusto mag-quit to the point na tumakas ako noong first night para lang makatulog at makatawag na gusto ko na umuwi kasi feeling ko hindi ko kaya dahil unang una ’di naman ako physically active na mahilig mag-gym or tumakbo,” Nash recalled.
But in the end, Nash realized that the training did not only train their physical abilities but their mental capacities, as well.
“Sabi nga nila lagi sa’kin ‘positive thinking’ seeing the good side in every shitty (minsan literal) situation you are in. ’Yong training tatanggalin nila lahat ng civilian ways mo: pride, kaartehan, ego etc. tapos ibi-build ka ulit to be a better person,” Nash ended.
In the end, the boys came out on top. Despite going through dire straits, they concluded the training as different individuals.