There are little nooks established throughout Fort Del Pilar, which most members of the Corps will cherish fondly in their memories. But one particular cranny stands out.
It’s that unofficial supply point located mostly in the laundry or trunk rooms of every cadet company, where enterprising cadets help raise resources for the company fund while enjoying a quick snack on the premises of the barracks area.
And this is the boodle bar.
It is a given that all cadets, without exception, are hungry all the time. The plebes have reason to be hungry, given the mess hall pressures as well as having to exert more than the usual effort to get from one place to another.
Upperclassmen, because of the physical requirements of PE, intramurals, being members of the Corps Squads and many other reasons to exert themselves, end up being hungry as well.
So, a boodle bar per company seems like a logical addition where the hungry can avail of a quick snack immediately.
Mind you, this is the Cadet Honor code at work. No one mans the boodle bar. Prices are marked and for those short on cash, they write down what they take and the total accumulated debt for snacks are collected on payday. That’s how ideal free enterprise worked in Loakan – at least, during the time I was there.
Plebes had to have cash. Otherwise, if they were to be “listed”, there would be recriminations from other hungry and then, angry upperclassmen because of their “bravity”. (This is probably where the coined word “hangry” came from.)
The assortment of offerings varied according to the network of connections that the cadets had with the residents of Fort del Pilar. If one was friends with one of the enterprising daughters of the officers of the Acad Group, they would be fortunate enough to be supplied with cinnamon rolls or egg tarts. Others had the usual staple favorite, banana turon or banana cue. Others managed to outsource handmade sandwiches – which invited spoilage, but fortunately, more were hungry enough to devour them well before their expiry date. For sure, there were more, but senior moments keep the memory bank fuzzy now.
Some enterprising cadets took it upon themselves to negotiate a deal with the company staff, ensuring them an income for the company fund and were able to generate accumulated modest profits in the process. The company staff saw no reason to challenge it – less work for them and the fund just kept growing. And they had their boodles as well.
These gentlemen flourished with their business. And why not? Their marketing tactics included knocking on the doors of plebe rooms during tattoo and offering them their merchandise (authorized) and being firstclassmen, no one challenged their modus operandi.
Their efforts paid off handsomely during breaks and parades, when they had more than the usual sums to go on privilege in between practice or the official parades. But hey, that’s capitalism and free enterprise for you. Suffice it to say, these officers and gentlemen made a quick transition to retired officers and businessmen quickly.
There are many places which former members of the corps will always remember fondly. And the boodle bar ranks highly among them all.