• TAGUM City—Diligence paid off for a tricycle driver’s 20-year-old daughter, who topped the September licensure examinations for teachers in the elementary level.


    With a grade of 85.80 percent, Maricris Tabañera, a graduate of the state-run University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), led the 10,243 successful examinees, out of more than 45,000 who took the tests given by the Professional Regulation Commission. Jermaine Alonzo, a graduate of Laguna State Polytechnic University in Los Baños, was second.


    “They (Tabañera’s parents) really didn’t expect it. They’re very happy, especially my father, who has been very proud since I graduated with honors,” Tabañera, a resident of Barangay (village) Magugpo South in this Davao del Norte city, told the Inquirer.




    Her close friend Shirley Dimatawaran, 21, said Tabañera got her strength and character from her family and close friends. “Hers is a deeply religious family. Her parents taught her Christian values. That’s why she’s a very diligent and principled student,” Dimatawaran said.n The friends’ parents are active members of the Catholic Couples for Christ.


    “She’s a good friend. She helps you (understand) difficult concepts and lessons, but (she would not share and allow copying of) answers during exams or quizzes,” Dimatawaran said of Tabañera.

    In preparing for the exams, Tabañera said she tried to get all available review and reading materials, aside from attending review sessions.


    “I really did not expect to land at the top although, at the back of my mind, I had wished for it. But since I only made preparations and reviewed in May, just passing the board exams (would have been) enough,” she said.


    Tabañera learned that she topped the test when a friend sent her a text message after the release of the results. “I was crying, overwhelmed, (and felt like) I was floating on clouds. I could hardly believe it,” she said.


    Tabañera said diligence and hard work helped. She said perseverance accounted for 60 percent of her success, with intelligence contributing only 40 percent.


    “I’m not really intelligent, just an average student who did her best in school,” she said. “Diligence is (more important), because no matter how intelligent you are (if) you do not strive hard, nothing will happen.”