Cebu graduates dominate CPA board exams top 10

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Graduates of two universities in Cebu dominated the top placers of the licensure examination for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) that was given in May 2016.

Sixteen exam takers got the 10 highest scores in the board exam, and 10 of them are from the University of San Carlos (USC) and the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR).

Janden Joseph Sevilla, director of USC’s CPA Review Center, said that while he was confident of the quality of the accountancy program at San Carlos, he was surprised at how many placed in the top 10 in one examination. (READ: PRC Results: Certified Public Accountant May 2016)

“Honestly, the result now was quite shocking – that it is possible to produce this number of topnotchers in one examination.... We are also grateful for the past batches that opened the door. They were able to break the wall and prove that is possible,” Sevilla told Rappler.

While having USC graduates top the board exams is nothing new, this exam marked the highest number of topnotchers in one exam in several years.

Sevilla said one reason could be the quality of the exam review: “We give comprehensive examination to maintain the momentum of studying and expose them to different types of questions.”

USC's Trisha Cabanlit, the 4th placer in the exam, is from Lanao del Norte. She said the preparations for the exams were the “most stressful time” of her life, but she was grateful that she got through them.

Her review habit was intense. “I studied for almost 15 hours every day just so I could finish everything as scheduled,” Cabanlit said.

Her parents sent her to study accountancy in Cebu despite her wanting to be a doctor: "I didn't like it at first because I wanted to be a medical student just like my older brother and sisters."

While she took the course to make her parents happy, she said, "Little did I know that while I was fulfilling their dreams, I was also creating the future that I’ve always wanted for myself.”

Ervin Cavalida, also of USC, placed 5th place in the exam. He took accountancy as pre-law course.

Cavalida, who is from from Minglanilla, Cebu, said that health issues almost prevented him from completing the exam. “I started the exam not feeling well and it worsened during the 15th (a day before the last exam).”

“I even thought that I could not finish the exams because I wasn’t able to sleep because I was crying in frustration. At that point, I was thinking that all the preparations would go to waste because of my condition.”

Although he had plans for law school, Cavalida said he would try to get experience as an accountant first. ”Maybe a year from now. I’m still testing new possibilities as I will be working for an audit firm by July and who knows I may find joy in auditing but my wish since I was child was to be a lawyer.”

Both accountants are proud that 10 out of the 16 topnotchers came from Cebu.

“I feel ecstatic, proud, literally proud – that is, of the recent feat of many Cebu graduates topping the board exams. That means we remain to be at par, if not more academically prepared than our co-examinees from the rest of the metropolitan cities and regions in the country.” Cabanlit said.

The other topnotchers from USC are:

The 4 graduates of the USJR who placed in the top 10 are:

"It was overwhelming to see how those from other places applauded Bisaya [people] and the fact that you were part of those people is a great honor for me." Cavalida said. –

Jensen Floren is a Rappler intern and Mover.