VIRAC—Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) bested well-known engineering schools in the country when its graduates bagged the top three places in the board exams for civil engineers given earlier this month.
Benjie Pantino, 21, a son of a farmer and housekeeper, got 98.05 percent in ranking first place, according to results posted on the website of the Professional Regulation Commission on November 23.
He was followed by CSC’s first engineering magna cum laude graduate, Benjames Go, 22, also of Virac and a son of a construction foreman, who scored 97.35 percent.
In third place was Jerwin Rendon, 21, with 97 percent, along with two others from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)—Joseph Malicdem Caburnay and Glenn Angelo Endaya Galano.
The three CSC topnotchers had consistently made it to the dean’s list.
Thirty-nine other civil engineering graduates from CSC passed the exams, giving the school an overall passing percentage of 69.84 to rank fourth among engineering schools in the country, just behind UP Diliman, University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP).
With its graduates’ impressive showing, CSC continues to display its prowess in producing outstanding engineers.
The list of CSC topnotchers now stands at 24, including previous first placers Edwin Ogerio (1992) and Ruben Quintal (2005). In May, Ramon Gonzales placed fifth in the board exams for civil engineers.
CSC, the lone state college in the island-province of Catanduanes, is formerly Virac National Agricultural and Trade School. The institution was converted into a state college in 1971 and began offering engineering classes in 1972.
The college has some 7,000 students, about 600 of them taking engineering courses.
The topnotchers honed their skills in regional and national students’ quizzes. Go was a back-to-back winner of a Bicol civil engineering quiz and teamed up with Rendon and John Michael Bernal to place first runner-up in last year’s National Civil Engineering Quiz in Manila behind UP Diliman, the declared champion.
In a phone interview, Pantino said he expected to pass but did not think he would land among the Top 10, much more No. 1.
Father woke up neighbors
Pantino’s parents, who reside in the coastal village of Marilima, were elated by his feat. His father, Rafael, a landless farmer, went around the neighborhood, waking people up to share the good news, Pantino told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone on Thursday.
“Dala na ini ning pagtios (This was brought about by poverty),” the topnotcher said in Bicol, adding that he was motivated by a desire to improve the family’s lot, being the eldest of four children.
He said that when the Inquirer called him up, he was staying with his aunt in Laguna province to wait for money to be sent by his parents. He said he did not have enough to pay for his 15-hour bus-and-ferry fare to Catanduanes.
Second-placer Go said he prayed hard to pass the exam. He, too, did not expect to be in the Top 10.
Parents to slaughter pig
The second of seven children of construction foreman Jerry Go Sr. and his wife Evelyn of Danicop village, he planned to look for a job in Manila, along with Pantino and Rendon.
Rendon said his group of five classmates, who stayed at a boardinghouse in Sampaloc, Manila, all passed the exam. His proud parents, tricycle driver Redencio and wife Marilyn of Pajo Baguio, plan to slaughter a pig when he comes home.
The CSC administration, faculty and students are planning a motorcade and testimonial dinner to welcome the three topnotchers, who will be given cash incentives, according to CSC president Minerva Morales.
Morales lauded the topnotchers and board passers for continuing the school’s tradition of excellence.
Pedro Arcilla Jr., the acting dean, described the trio as hardworking students who had the determination to pass the tough test.
Others in the Top 10 in the civil engineering licensure exam were Ray-Ann Toralba Hoseña of Technological University of the Philippines-Manila (96.75 percent), fourth; Ariel Balbuena Panorel of Bulacan State University (96.65 percent), fifth; Rajiv Eldon Equipado Abdullah of UST, Elvin Bernardo Cruz of UP Diliman, Kathleene Grace Ordoña Dadero of Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Main-Sta. Mesa, Jestoni de Guzman de Leon of Bulacan State University, and Daryl Calibayan Pama of Ateneo de Davao University (96.30 percent), sixth.
Jesson James Cabael of Columban College-Olongapo City and James Pioc Lacia of UPLB (95.60 percent), seventh; Brian Esparrago Bautista of UP Diliman, Ruel Datinguinoo Catapang of Divine World College of Calapan, Eduardo de Castro Cruz Jr. of Bulacan State University, Angelo Cama Garcia of TIP-Quezon City, Jose Eguna Pagaran Jr. of UPLB, and Eldrin Costes Quiambao of UPLB (95.25 percent), eighth.
Carlo Santos Gragas of Bulacan State University (95 percent), ninth; and Loreto Cruz Paz of UST (94.9 percent), 10th.