SIXTEEN examinees earned the 10 best scores in the latest licensure exam for certified public accountants (CPA). Ten of them graduated from a university in Cebu.

Six graduates from the University of San Carlos (USC) and four from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) were on the list of topnotchers released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Among them was Trisha Elaine Yu Cabanlit of USC, who couldn’t believe it when she was told she placed fourth.

“I am so thankful to God. I wouldn’t have done it without Him and, of course, my parents and mentors who were there to support me,” Cabanlit said. 

She spent nearly 15 hours a day studying and credited her father, who also studied accountancy, for inspiring her.

Di gyud ko ganahan unta mag accounting. Ganahan ta ko mag med-tech pareha sa akong sister. Ana man akong daddy na nice mao to na inspire ko (At first, I didn’t want to study accounting because I wanted to be a medical technologist, like my sister. But my dad said it was a nice course, so I was inspired to take it up,” Cabanlit said. 

She plans to work in an auditing firm for one year, before proceeding to law school.

Best 10

A graduate of the Universal Colleges of Parañaque topped the CPA licensure exam held earlier this month.

Karim Gonzales Abitago scored 92.17 percent to lead the 2,967 passers out of 6,925 examinees.

Making the Top 5 are Kim James Sarapanan Manalo of the Holy Cross of Digos with 91.83 percent; Jayvee Faust Bugtai Anga of USJ-R with 91.67 percent; Cabanlit of USC with 91.33 percent; and Ervin Michael Bendulo Cavalida of USC with 91.17 percent.

Clare Monica Gako Pilapil of USC is at sixth place with 90.83 percent. Tied at seventh place with 90.67 percent are Blessy Batausa Doylabo of the University of Mindanao-Davao City; Adrianne Paul Ignacio Fajatin of the University of Manila; Jomar Leona Lumagbas of the Eastern Visayas State University; and Elyzzah Kaye Cadalin Torres of USJ-R.

In eighth place is Shenen Mae Talaboc Goc-Ong of USJ-R with 90.33 percent. Tied at ninth place with 90.17 percent are Patrick Villaluz Cipriano of the De La Salle-Araneta University; Joshua Abundo Echivarre of USC; Marc Raphael Nazareno Ong of USC; and Kenny Ching Tabiliran of USJ-R.

In 10th place is Sarah Mansueto Balisacan of USC with a score of 90 percent.

Top 3 schools

The three top performing schools are De La Salle University-Manila with 93.10 percent passing rate; University of Santo Tomas with 90.32 percent; and University Of San Jose-Recoletos with 81.20 percent.

They each had 50 or more examinees, of whom at least 80 percent passed.

In a separate interview, Dean Edgar Detoya of the USJ-R College of Commerce said the results will inspire the university’s students.

“We are happy with their performance. At least we can say that the hard work has paid off,” he said.

Third-placer Anga, who graduated summa cum laude, will get P100,000 cash and a laptop from the university, the dean said, in addition to P75,000 from the university’s review center in Manila.

The other topnotchers, he said, will receive laptops and cash incentives ranging from P60,000 to P85,000 from USJR and its review center.

Detoya said that the students who topped the board exam were hard-working, focused and responsible, and a real credit to the university’s high admission standards.


After placing fourth, this was Cabanlit’s advice to aspiring accountancy students: “Love and enjoy what you do.”

Another topnotcher, Ervin Michael Bendulo Cavalida, said he felt relief in knowing he was part of the top 10.

“I feel very happy because we really prepared for this. I’m glad I was able to fulfill the expectations of the school and my parents as well,” said Cavalida who placed fifth.

He decided to rest for a month, after spending the last five months preparing for the board exam.

Clare Monica Gako Pilapil, who placed sixth, said she didn’t expect to be part of the top 10. 

“Our batch was branded as the weakest so I was driven to redeem our batch,” Pilapil said. 

She was inspired to study accountancy by her mother, who also graduated from the same course.

For Joshua Abundo Echivarre, one of the four examinees who shared the ninth spot, it was a case of perseverance and discipline paying off.

“At first, I could not believe that of all the thousands who took the exam, I was part of the top 10,” Echivarre said. 

Keep pushing

He advised students who will soon take the same journey to trust themselves.

“You never know what you can achieve. So aim to be on top, not just to pass. If you fall back, at least you will still pass the exam,” Echivarre said.


He plans to spend some time with his family and to recover from all the sleepness nights he endured while reviewing for the exam.

Sarah Mansueto Balisacan of USC, who placed tenth, dedicated her success to her family and friends. “My classmates knew how hard the journey was but they always pushed me and believed in me,” Balisacan said.

Both her parents also studied accountancy. She hopes to proceed to law school, after getting some work experience.

“Whenever you feel bored of studying, push that thought away. In accountancy, you will always be pressured. Just do your best and everything else will work out the way it should,” Balisacan said. (HDT/Sunnex)/With Vaña Ferre C. Abella & Josette Marie G. Rafaeles, USJR Mass Comm Interns