When it comes to academic honors, the more the merrier.

A total of six graduates topped their respective licensure examinations: Kristel Blancas (Interior Design), Hannah Paulyn Co (Nutrition), Roxanne Trinity Lim (Nursing), Heidi Rose Tanjueco (Pharmacy), and Celaica Vibar and Bren Cruz (Accountancy).

Vibar and Cruz were tied at first place in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Licensure Examinations, an unexpected feat for them.

Vibar admitted she had to deal with so many distractions while reviewing for three period. Cruz credited her success to deep motivation and focus.

“When I was in first and second year, it was just casual. I felt the need to strive more,” said Cruz. “My grades went up, down, up, down. And then I got inspired by two of my professors in my third year and that was when I realized I had to aim higher.”

Discipline and proper attitude served Pharmacy board topnotcher Tanjueco well.

“I valued my limited time so I took each review course seriously. During the sessions, I made sure to give my full attention and won’t do any pending stuff simultaneously,” Tanjueco said.

Eyes forward

Blancas, from the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD), led the University in this year’s Interior Designers Board Exam, which was dominated by nine Thomasians.

She and her fellow board examinees even rented a condominium unit near the review center where they were enrolled in just so they could review easily.

“Whenever I wished to study, I isolated myself in my own room. Even if we were together for five years, we did not bond that much because we had our own worlds there,” Blancas said.

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Focus was also the key for Co, who topped the Nutritionist-Dietitian Licensure Exam.

“I think everything is somehow dictated by habit and our way of thinking,” Co said. “As long as we are ready to make a change, have set our minds on doing it, then whatever we do, we will certainly succeed in it.”

Prepping up

Blancas said she needed to read aloud the items she was studying in order to remember them.

“Until the day before the exam, I still tried to study so I got sick on the exam day itself. That’s the reason why I was afraid I would not pass the exams. Maybe, if I were able to study harder, I would have time for myself,” said Blancas, who caught dengue fever just days after the exam.

She also admitted that she was not religious enough to hold novenas for saints and attend daily masses. What her fellow examinees did instead was to go to a Visita Iglesia around the churches near their condominium.

Organization became the strategy of Tanjueco. In reviewing for the exam, she made a timeframe per subject to estimate how fast or slow should she study.

An unexpected occurrence

Results of pre-board test indicated that Vibar and Cruz might dominate the actual exam.

Vibar said that she did try to strive for a place in the top 10, but little did she know that the months of her vigilant preparation would land her at the very top.

During the the pre-board examinations, Cruz emerged at the top, while Vibar placed 5th and 7th on the first and second part of the exam, respectively.

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Vibar was an achiever her entire academic life. She was the valedictorian in her high school, a consistent dean’s lister and scholar in her entire college life and a magna cum laude graduate. A complete opposite, Cruz was just an ordinary student, an avid gamer of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), and a lead guitarist of his high school band.

Vibar and Cruz’s paths crossed when they both got employed by SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. in Makati as accounting specialists.


It was both a blessing of determination and faith that put these people as the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème.

“Being a topnotcher is just a big bonus,” Tanjueco said. “For me, what’s important is that you pass.”

Echoing Tanjueco, Blancas said examinees should not expect too much and focus on passing first because that’s what really mattered.

“If you are the topnotcher, that’s just a plus for you. Because in real life no one cares if you are the topnotcher. They won’t see it on your license anyway,” Blancas said.

Meanwhile, Vibar said one must always have faith in Lord for one to have guidance.

“The Lord doesn’t give a trial that one cannot handle. Always keep an open mind and focus on the goal and mind the ones who look after you,” Vibar said. Alfredo N. Mendoza V and Catalina Ricci S. Madarang.


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