UNIVERSITY of San Carlos (USC) Architecture graduates Joachim Michael Espina and Francino Delima did not stay 570 kilometers away from Cebu for nothing.

Espina gained second place with a rating of 85.20, just 0.7 shy of topping the 2015 Architects Licensure Examination, while Delima’s 84.10 earned him seventh place.

Together with their friends, they spent four months reviewing in Manila, in a review center owned by Joachim’s uncle.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Friday night announced that 1,201 out of 1,964 examinees hustled through the exam.

Out of 71 from USC who took the exam, 61 passed, for a passing percentage of 85.9 percent. Among 66 first-timers, 59 passed, or 89.39 percent.

On that night while waiting for the results, a bored Delima went out of the house for a leisurely trip. And then his friend Joachim called him about the results.

“Chim called me and I felt very happy. My family was very happy about it, too,” said Delima, who finished elementary and high school as valedictorian. He also plays for the orchestra as a violinist.

Delima’s thesis—“Proposed Concert Hall for Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra”—was declared the best. He previously passed the board exams for master plumbers.

When asked if landing in the top 10 felt familiar to him, considering his previous academic achievements, Delima said it was a bit different because the board exam defines his career as a professional.

Runs in family

For Espina’s part, he said he had thought of taking up law or pre-medicine degrees, but he felt these fields wouldn’t suit him in the end.

His father Joseph Michael “Yumi” Espina is the incumbent dean of the School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design (SAFAD), previously known as College of Architecture and Fine Arts. Their family owns an architectural firm, where he and Delima had their apprenticeship.

“The first thing I did was to learn as much as I can during my undergraduate studies because those were the important foundations,” said Espina.

In the meantime, Delima said that while enjoying his vacation, he will also consider plans like pursuing a master’s degree in architecture.

Their review in Manila was not an entirely rigorous time. They often tool the time to relax and unwind by exploring the place.

“Actually, pag-adto namo’g Manila, sige ra mi ug laag. Pero part of the review sad. (Actually, when we went to Manila, we often roamed around. But it was part of the review.) You need to get to know the old structures, the works of national artists. Mura ra pud mi’g gabakasyon didto (It felt like a vacation),” said Delima.

Renewal

But during the course of the four-month review and the exam, Delima said he experienced one change that dramatically affected his life. He became more spiritually-inclined.

“I felt it was part of God’s plan for me to experience a renewal of faith,” he said.

Espina, on the other hand, said keeping in touch with family and friends helped a lot, as did group studying.

“Staying with my friends in CDEP helped me in my studies. They kept me calm and we shared a lot of knowledge and laughs: Francino, Joshua, Mark, Ryan and Ronnie,” said Espina.

Delima said he considers being a topnotcher as a bonus for all the hard work.

“Topnotchers are both fortunate and not. Beyond the obvious reward is the burden of expectations of a brilliant career ahead. Not all topnotchers do. But His message is not to be ignored. When we are called, we must rise to the occasion; topnotchers, passers, retakers and future examinees. The future is an empty book for us to write,” said Delima. (Sun.Star Cebu)