Col Ariel Querubin: This Most Awarded Philippine Soldier is a Fur Parent

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

This sentiment perfectly captures the bond of Retired Colonel Ariel Querubin with his canine companions. Known as the most decorated soldier in Philippine military history, Querubin’s journey as a fur parent has been a significant part of his life, helping him navigate through his darkest times and adding joy to his everyday routine.

During his time in jail following the 2006 Fort Bonifacio standoff, Querubin found solace in the company of dogs. “Dogs have an incredible way of understanding human emotions,” he says. “They were my silent companions, providing comfort without asking for anything in return.” This connection grew stronger over the years, and what started as a spectator attending dog shows to discovering a newfound passion of being a fur parent.

Discovering a New Passion

Attending these dog shows opened a new chapter in his life. Col. Querubin started to appreciate the discipline and training that goes into raising well-behaved dogs, something that resonated deeply with his military background. It wasn’t long before he became a dedicated fur parent, applying the same principles of discipline and care to his furry friends.

“I trained my dogs during the pandemic. You can see it on social media,” Col. Querubin proudly shares. “I don’t give verbal commands, just signs. Look, snap.” His Instagram feed has lots of heartwarming moments of his dogs responding to his commands with precision, a testament to the bond they share. A friend once commented, “Sir, it’s like they’re all Marines, the way they’re disciplined.”

Querubin’s household is a vibrant mix of breeds. “I have a Great Dane, a Rottweiler, a Boxer, a Labrador Retriever, and a Pitbull,” he says with a smile. Each dog has its own personality and quirks, but together, they form a loyal and loving pack. His Pitbull, Gabriela Silang, even has a story of her own. “She bit me once,” he recalls with a chuckle, showcasing the close, if sometimes challenging, relationships he has with his pets.

The Loss of Bubba

The joy his dogs bring is palpable, but the tough Col. has also faced heartache. The loss of his beloved pug, Bubba, to heat stroke was a devastating blow. Bubba was almost like a child to him and “losing him was one of the saddest moments in my life. It reminded me how fragile life is and how we need to cherish every moment.”

This sentiment is echoed in his dedication to his family. Despite his demanding career, Querubin always made time for his loved ones. 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 influence extends beyond his immediate family. His stepson, Martin Loon, has followed in his footsteps, becoming a successful CEO while upholding the same principles that guided Querubin’s military career. Querubin’s impact is evident in the paths his children have chosen, with many following in his footsteps of service and leadership.

A Legendary Military Career

Querubin’s military career is nothing short of legendary. He is the most decorated soldier in Philippine history, holding 49 medals and decorations. His awards include the Medal of Valor, the Most Distinguished Conduct Star, and multiple Distinguished Service Stars and Gold Cross Medals. His leadership during the Battle of Kauswagan in 2000, where he led his men to capture Camp John Mack from 300 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, earned him the prestigious Medal of Valor and brought peace to a region plagued by violence and kidnapping.

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, which he even showed us during our dinner meetup. 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 good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving fervorthan silver and gold” – Proverbs 22:1.

Dedication to Public Service

Even in retirement, Querubin’s contributions to his country did not wane. After his military service, he wants to venture into public service, driven by a desire to continue serving his country. He wants to focus 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.

Charting the Course for the Future

For Col. Querubin, venturing into public service might be the next big step in his decorated career, hoping to put a strong focus on unity and courage. He says he wants to bring together leaders from different backgrounds to address the West Philippine Sea dispute with solidarity and strategic thinking. Querubin envisions a government that emulates the strength and orderliness of a well-maintained ship, steering the nation towards progress and prosperity.

As tensions rise over the West Philippine Sea issue, Querubin advocates for a collaborative approach and urges leaders to defend the nation’s sovereignty with a united front. His call for collective action against the true adversaries reflects his commitment to protecting the Filipino people and their well-being.

Colonel Ariel Querubin is widely regarded as one of the most respected figures in Filipino military history. His remarkable career has been defined by his exceptional bravery, unwavering integrity, and commitment to serving his country. From the very beginning, Querubin showed great determination and became a fearless leader within the Philippine Army.

At the core of Querubin’s character are the values of courage, integrity, and loyalty, which he upholds both on and off the battlefield. He understands that true heroism is not solely measured by medals but by the strength of one’s character and convictions.

Even in retirement, Colonel Ariel Querubin maintains his prominence in Philippine military history. His retirement ceremony was a testament to his distinguished career, attended by dignitaries, fellow soldiers, and grateful citizens who recognize him as a true patriot and a model of virtue.

Although he has stepped away from active duty, Querubin continues to serve his country in various capacities.

Col. Ariel Querubin’s next mission is clear—to once again find ways to serve his country. His vision for the future is centered on the same values that have guided him throughout his life: courage, integrity, and loyalty. He aims to bring these principles to the forefront of public service, advocating for strategic and united efforts to address national issues.

The author with Col. Ariel Querubin

Querubin believes that the key to addressing complex challenges, such as the West Philippine Sea dispute, lies in unity and collaboration. He calls for leaders to come together, setting aside differences to protect the nation’s sovereignty and promote the well-being of the Filipino people. His approach is rooted in his extensive experience and the belief that, much like a well-maintained ship, a country must operate with order and strength to navigate towards progress and prosperity.

As Querubin embarks on this new chapter, he remains a figure of inspiration and hope. His journey from a decorated military career to a dedicated public servant exemplifies the enduring spirit of patriotism and service. Whether through his involvement in politics or other avenues, his commitment to the Filipino people is unwavering.

Col. Ariel Querubin’s life is a testament to the fact that true heroism extends beyond the battlefield. It is found in the daily acts of service, the unwavering dedication to principles, and the relentless pursuit of a better future for all. As he continues to serve, Querubin’s legacy of honor, excellence, and compassion will undoubtedly inspire future generations to strive for greatness and uphold the values that make a nation strong.

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