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BAGUIO, Philippines – Growing up at the Basilio Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas, Warren D. Leonor was so used to looking up at the sky for airplanes, that even when he was small he knew he was going to be a pilot.
His father Joel retired as a technical sergeant of the Philippine Air Force. He has 10 other relatives who are also PAF officers and personnel, he said.
“This has been my childhood dream,” 22-year-old Leonor said. “I’ve always thought I’m going to be a pilot.”
His resoluteness in fulfilling his dream was so firm that, immediately after finishing high school at the Lipa City National High School, he took the Philippine Military Academy exam and entered the institution in 2020.
“My key to success is studying hard,” he said.
By his second year in PMA, Leonor was at the top of his class and never relinquished the spot.
On May 21, he is set to receive the Presidential Saber for being the valedictorian of the Madasigon Class, his batch name that stands for MAndirigmang may DAngal SImbolo ng Galing at PagbangON). There will be 311 graduates, 72 of them females.
He will be receiving the saber from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who will be attending the ceremonies for the first time as president.
Leonor will also receive the Philippine Air Force saber for being the top air force recruit. Seventy-five others will join him in the air force.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Army will have 158 recruits, while 77 will join the Navy.
Leonor will also receive the Australian Defense Best Overall Plaque, General Antonio Luna Award, Spanish Armed Forces Award, Performance Award, Academic Group Award, and the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) Saber.
Leonor will also graduate as a cum laude and will receive plaques for excellence in social sciences, Air Force professional courses, national security studies, and management.
The class salutatorian is Cadet 1st Class Edmundo Logronio, 23, of Manito, Albay, who will join the army. He receives the Vice-Presidential Saber, Aguinaldo Saber, and the Philippine Army Saber. He will also receive the Australian Defense Overall Award and plaques for army professional courses and tactical courses.
The rest of the top graduates are:
- 3rd: Cdt 1C Nicole B. Sarmiento, 22, of Butuan City. She is one of five females in the Top 10.
- 4th: Cdt 1C Zhen Zhen Cayton of Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, who will also join the air force.
- 5th: Cdt 1C Rez Mark Cantor of Bugallon, Pangasinan, the top navy recruit.
- 6th: Cdt 1C Rojan Macario, a Tausog-Igorot from Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City.
- 7th: Cdt 1C Samuel S. Banac of Fairview, Quezon City, who will also join the air force.
- 8th: Cdt 1C Kimberly Kate Lawingan of Sadanga, Mt. Province, who will join the navy.
- 9th: Cdt 1C Rico Jay B. Fernandez of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, who will also receive the Association of General and Flag officers Award and a leadership plaque.
- 10th: Cdt 1C Arla Krish Bahingawan of Kiangan, Ifugao, who will also receive the Chief Justice Saber and a humanities plaque.