Athalia Briones Liong – from honors biology grad to top 10 bar passer

/ 11:04 PM May 03, 2017
Crowd waiting for results of bar exam in SC grounds. INQUIRER/LYN RILLON

The crowd waiting for the results of the 2016 bar examinations on the Supreme Court grounds. (INQUIRER/LYN RILLON)

DAVAO CITY -– Athalia Briones Liong, who placed third in the 2016 Bar examinations, is a 31-year old mother of three girls from Dipolog City.

Liong said she learned about being in the Top 3 of bar examinees from a Facebook friend who sent her a private message containing a screen shot of the list of the Top 10 bar passers.


Liong is currently in Hong Kong Disneyland celebrating her youngest daughter’s fourth birthday.

“This out-of-the-country trip is for my daughter’s birthday. It’s her birthday today. It’s just amazing,” Liong told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an online interview.


Liong, who was born and raised in Dipolog City, graduated Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2005 in Silliman University. She graduated top of her class but did not proceed to Medicine due to financial difficulties.

“I got a BPI Science Award when I graduated in Silliman so I took the offer to work with Bank of the Philippine Islands as management trainee,” Liong said.

“It was always my dream and passion to be a lawyer as I was inspired by my father who was a human rights lawyer,” she said.

She entered law school at the Andres Bonifacio College (ABC) in Dipolog in 2012, a year after her father passed away.

ABC is one of the more popular schools in Dipolog.

And while taking up law, she resigned as bank branch manager in 2014.

During her bar review at the Ateneo de Manila, she flew at least twice a month to see her family in Dipolog.


“From August to September in 2016, I flew from Manila to Dipolog twice a month. But I did not come home starting October,” she said.

“The bar exam was very difficult. No easy subject for me. I just really tried to answer all of them. Although I felt good in taking the Political Law and Taxation, but the other subjects, specially Criminal Law, was very difficult. I prayed hard to pass the bar but did not expect to land in the Top 10,” Liong said.

A religious person who has frequently visited the Sto. Niño of Cebu and St. Rita of Cascia, also in Cebu, Liong said she had always asked for “Mama Mary’s intercession.”

When asked about her immediate future plans, Liong said she has decided to go into private practice.

“I have been focusing on my children and have spent most of my time being a mother after the bar review and the bar exams. I was very busy during law school so I have to make up and spend more time with them,” she said.  SFM

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TAGS: 2016 bar examinations, Andres Bonifacio College, Athalia Briones Liong, bar examinations, Dipolog City, law, lawyers, licensure examination, Philippine Bar, Supreme Court
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