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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Retired Colonel Ariel Querubin: A Legacy of Valor, Unity, and Dedication


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” This sentiment encapsulates the extraordinary life of Retired Colonel Ariel Querubin, the most decorated soldier in Philippine military history. 


His career, marked by countless acts of bravery and unwavering integrity, serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for a nation. Querubin’s legacy is not just defined by his numerous medals and accolades but by his steadfast dedication to his country and family, proving that true heroism is rooted in character and conviction.



A Hero’s Early Life

Born in Dagupan City, Pangasinan Province, Querubin grew up in La Union and was educated in Manila. His journey to becoming a national hero was marked by humble beginnings and the typical challenges of youth. He attended Project 6 Elementary School in Quezon City and Christ the King Elementary School in San Fernando, La Union, before graduating from the University of the East High School in Manila. His early life was unremarkable, filled with the same youthful exploits and missteps that many experience. Yet, these experiences laid the groundwork for the disciplined, courageous leader he would become.


Military Beginnings and Rise to Prominence

Querubin’s transformation began at the Philippine Military Academy, where he graduated with the Matapat Class of 1979. From the outset, his career was defined by bravery and a steadfast commitment to his comrades. His military training took him to Australia, where he completed the Foreign Officer Tactical Intel Course and the Australian Command and Staff Course, equipping him with strategic insights that would serve him well in numerous battles.

His rise through the ranks of the Philippine Marine Corps was marked by extraordinary acts of heroism. Notable among these was his leadership during the Battle of Kauswagan in 2000, where, despite being outnumbered and under heavy artillery fire, he led his men to capture Camp John Mack from 300 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels. This victory not only earned him the prestigious Medal of Valor but also brought peace to a region plagued by violence and kidnapping.


Courage Under Fire

Querubin’s career is filled with tales of bravery that seem almost mythical. In 1989, during a coup attempt, he was hit by a helicopter gunship and left for dead. Miraculously, a doctor noticed a twitch in his finger, leading to life-saving surgery that removed part of his liver and six feet of his small intestines. This brush with death only strengthened his resolve to serve his country.

Throughout his career, he sustained 67 battle wounds, each a testament to his willingness to put himself in harm’s way for the sake of his men and his mission. His valor was not just in the face of the enemy but in the face of immense personal sacrifice. During one critical operation, his wife was pregnant and nearing her due date. Despite this, Querubin’s focus remained steadfastly on his duty, a decision that exemplifies his selflessness and dedication.


A Devoted Family Man

Despite his grueling career, Querubin always made time for his family. He is a proud father of seven children, each of whom has been imbued with his values of courage, integrity, and loyalty. His first wife, Dr. Loreta Cercenia-Querubin, passed away in 1994, but he found love again with Pong Azcarraga. Together, they navigated the challenges of military life, instilling in their children the importance of honor and duty.

Querubin’s family has been a source of strength and inspiration. His stepson, Martin Loon, reflects his father's dedication to service, becoming a successful CEO while upholding the same principles that guided Querubin’s military career. Querubin’s influence is evident in the paths his children have chosen, with many following in his footsteps of service and leadership.


A Legacy Beyond the Battlefield

Querubin’s contributions extend beyond his military achievements. After his retirement, he ventured into public service, driven by a desire to continue serving his country. His campaign focuses on unity and strategic thinking, particularly in addressing the West Philippine Sea dispute. He envisions a government that operates with the strength and orderliness of a well-maintained ship, steering the nation towards progress and prosperity.


His dedication to public service is rooted in the same values that guided his military career. He advocates for a collaborative approach to national issues, emphasizing the need for collective action and strategic leadership. Even in retirement, Querubin remains a prominent figure, respected for his unwavering commitment to justice and national security.


A True Patriot and Role Model

Col. Ariel Querubin’s name is synonymous with heroism in the annals of Filipino military history. Yet, beyond the medals and accolades lies a man of profound character and humility.


He understands that true heroism is not measured solely by awards but by the strength of one’s convictions and the impact of one’s actions. His life story is a shining example of selfless service, integrity, and the enduring power of patriotism.


As he continues to chart a course in public service, Querubin’s legacy of honor and excellence will undoubtedly inspire future generations of Filipinos. His journey from a typical youth to a national hero serves as a reminder that greatness is achieved through dedication, sacrifice, and an unwavering commitment to the greater good

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