NATIONAL University’s Ar. Shaunn Remzzo T. Blanco led the 1,370 (out of 2,205) board passers, taking the top spot with an overall rating of 83.50 percent in the January 2022 Architect Licensure Examination.

A son of a registered nurse and an architect, Shaunn dreamt to be an architect since he was young. “When I was a child, I (only) wanted to build my mom her dream house. But when I entered this profession, (I realized) it wasn’t just about building houses or structures, it is actually about creating these and the special experiences that everyone would remember.”

His father wanted him to become an engineer, but he was always inspired and fascinated with what his father did. He then talked to his godfather who shared a lot of things about National U. “One thing I remember was when he talked about prestigious and famous architects from NU, that’s when I realized that if National University was able to produce those architects, then they can mold me into the architect I’ve always dreamt to be.”

After graduating in 2018, Ar. Blanco originally planned to take the ALE exactly after the required 2 years of diversified experience (June 2020) but because of the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, he decided to spend most of his time in learning through actual practice in Visionarch and some construction site immersion with his father. He thought that actual practice experience was his key factor in deciding whether to take the exam or to wait more months until he is fully prepared.

Fast forward to 2022, the persevering student, who loves to join architectural design competitions, topped the Architect Licensure Exam. When asked about his and his parents’ reactions, Shaunn said, “The moment na nakita ko yung name ko sa list of passers, hindi ko na chineck (topnotchers), friend ko pa yung nag inform sa akin that I topped the exam. I was surprised. My mother cried, pero they always knew na kaya ko ipasa. As for my father, they did not ask naman daw for this pero Top 1 pa daw ang binigay ko, so they were surprised as well.”

When asked for his secret to his success in the ALE, he said, “Most important for me yung conditioning talaga physically, mentally and emotionally. Aside from reviewing, dapat mas nama-manage yung stress at anxiety. Na-realize ko na mas okay pang relaxed ako during the exams. So even sa paglabas ko ng exam room, I wasn’t really thinking of what I did wrong in the exam. Instead, I thought of it as a way for me to prove myself, regardless of the results.”

The new architect shared that the Nationalian core value that he believes he possesses is integrity. He stressed that it is important in the profession because “integrity defines us and how we continue to uphold our ideals as architects.”

His advice to other professional board examinees, “They should study for their future practice and not only for board exam purposes. It will really be helpful if ganun yun mindset to retain information.” (PR)