In the life of a young adult, socials are an activity to look forward to, and cadets are no different in that respect.
And this is why a “hop” is a major highlight in a cadet’s three year tenure (Plebes are not allowed this privilege until they take a step upward as upperclassmen).
You would think that a cadet hop was nothing more than a party. Think again. Cadet hops are more formal, and though it would appear to be more stiff, by comparison, it could be quite fun and memorable – specially for those couples whose journeys began with these events.
(From the album of Cavalier Liberato Picar ’40, RIP)
The cadet hops are usually held in the mess hall, appropriately rearranged to accommodate a more lively three to four hour engagement, allowing cadets to mingle with visitors of the opposite sex. (* note that my limited exposure only allowed for the experiences of male cadets at that time. With the Corps being co-ed already, the culture is vastly different.)
Should the affair be held elsewhere, the same rules apply. Invitations are issued in advance, and should the hop be in Baguio, cadets were normally allowed to escort their “drags” or dates from their houses or wherever they were staying to the hop venue, and afterwards, they could escort them back. Whatever happened along the way is none of our business, but theirs.
These affairs were comparatively stiff, by regular standards. A “hands off policy” applied and cadets were always at their straight, braced up form – which impressed the ladies no end.
This of course, was not applicable when the music turned their feet to dancing. And a lot of them danced. As the night waned, the music took on a slower pace and there was a major increase of occupants on the dance floor – including tactical officers, with their watchful eyes monitoring the distance between dancers.
What a lot of people do not know is that there was a unit assignment of gentlemen that were tasked to be equal opportunity “entertainers” to visitors without drags. These cadets approached every lady, regardless of height, orientation, persuasion, or form. They were there to make sure that their time at the hop would not be one that they would regret going to.
And many a friendship began with this intended gesture or manuever. Some even took it a bit further. At any rate, these gentlemen are to be saluted for doing the Academy proud and leaving a good memory in the minds of these female visitors, who would have otherwise ended up being wall flowers.
I have no idea what happens now, with the female cadets.
During the recent visit of the Class of 2019 to Cebu, a hop was put together to allow cadets to mingle with the young adults of their age and allow the locals to see what cadets are like, up close and personal. Needless to say, it was a successful affair and we laud the officers of Central Command, which spearheaded this initiative and the Cebu Squad families for supporting them.
I am grateful for the use of the photo of Cav Dice Dignadice 00 of this hop – he was a foster father to several cadets and they all had a memorable time with him and his family.
One last thing – the hop usually ends with “Kaydet Girl” as the last song to be played and tradition mandates that the cadet dancing with the drag has the right to demand one kiss for the privilege of dancing. How this applies to the female cadets and “dragons”, I have absolutely no idea.
Times have changed things, indeed. But not the need to meet and mingle. May there be more of these engagements, and not necessarily entangled ones.