From Crowns To Combat Boots

It is easy to see from a glance that Ronnielyn Jochico is a stunner. The long-limbed and lithe Silaynon beauty often strode past the classrooms of John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation (JBLCF) Bacolod with her signature graceful stride. She was after all, Miss Silay 2017 AND a Miss JBLFMU 2019. Even then, she was more than just a pretty face. A member of the campus student council and the model society, she had smarts and a heart for service to the students. A true-blooded Lacsonian.

Jochico graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management Major in Cruise Ship Services. She found employment in a 4-star hotel in Bacolod City, starting a career in the hotel industry. Or so, she thought.

After some time, the monotony of corporate life got Jochico yearning for new adventures. In came the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), looking for new recruits. She grabbed the opportunity without hesitations.

However, she was not expecting the 360-degree turn in her life when training commenced. After all, she was used to the mental rigors of academics, the comfort of hotel life and the pomp of pageantry. PCG training was a completely different ball game. She was kicked straight out of her comfort zone.

PCG recruits were trained in a facility in Taguig City. They were subjected to military-style indoctrination. There was no difference in the intensity of the training if one was male or female. This challenged Jochico on all levels: mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. After all, to be a Coast Guard officer, one needed to be molded to be a person in selfless service to the PCG and the nation.

If one were made of lesser stuff, he/she would have given up. But not Jochico. Using a combination of smarts and sheer moxie, she overcame restless nights, mental struggles and endless hurdles, battling through boot camp like a true queen with the heart of a soldier.
Finally, towards the end of 2020, she graduated from the PCG Officers’ Course Class and was inducted as Probationary Ensign.

What makes Jochico’s journey a story worth telling? Two things:
First, there is a kind of serendipity in her joining the PCG since the entire John B is affiliated with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), the civilian arm of the PCG. In fact, John B.’s CEO, Dr. Ronald Raymond Sebastian serves as Commodore for Coast Guard Auxiliary District Western Visayas.

Second, it is not an easy feat for a woman to enter the PCG and live a life of selfless service to the country over having a comfortable career in the corporate world. For Jochico to consciously make that choice speaks of the embodiment of the Lacsonians’ core values of integrity, perseverance, loyalty, excellence, discipline, Godliness and equality.

When asked what her message is to young girls aspiring to serve the country, this is what she had to say:
“For all aspiring women who want to be an instrument of serving the country and the people, do not be afraid to start your own career away from home and the comforts of life. You are empowered and you can conquer everything that you want in life. No amount of discouragement and doubt can hinder your success. Always be yourself and believe that you can empower others to do and be better.
Nothing more, nothing less. Leave and live your own legacy.” P/ENS Ronnielyn Jochico PCG is set to join the PCG District of Southern Visayas for her first assignment.

By JP Libo-on
*photos grabbed from P/ENS Jochico’s and Team Acids Productions’ Facebook pages. CTTO

© 2021 John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University. All Rights Reserved.