‘I promised my mom I’d be No. 1, and so I am’

Published March 17, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Lyka Manalo

Promises, so they say, are made to be broken.

But such was not the case for a son who promised his mom what was such a tall order – one would take it for a joke.

Fresh graduate Kelvin Mendoza Macatangay loved his mother so much that he wanted her to be proud of him and so when he left Batangas last November to take his review for the 2018 Mechanical Engineering Licensure Examinations, he left her a promise.

TOP 1 Kelvin M. Macatangay shows off the recognition presented to him by the Batangas City Council as a new mechanical engineer. (Lyka Manalo)
TOP 1 Kelvin M. Macatangay shows off the recognition presented to him by the Batangas City Council as a new mechanical engineer. (Lyka Manalo)

“Sinabi ko po sa kanya bago ako lumuwas nung November: ‘Nay pag balik ko, engineer na ako; Top 1 (I had told her before I left last November for Manila: Mom, I’ll return as an engineer; the Top 1),” recalled Kelvin, a 21-year-old Batangas State University (BSU-Alangilan) graduate.

Raised in San Jose, Batangas, Kelvin had always been an honor student, graduating valedictorian from the Tugtog Elementary School and valedictorian from St. Joseph Academy in his hometown.

College posed a different challenge, though, as he had his share of failing grades. It was Kelvin’s father – an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) based in Kuwait – who wanted him to become an engineer so he kept with it.

His mother has been a devoted homemaker and Kelvin could not ask any more of her for the love and support she had showered upon him and his younger sibling while his dad was away.

And so Kelvin’s promise was made to be kept. The board exams pushed through as scheduled last February 26-27 and when the results were released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) last March 2, only 933 out of the 1,983 examinees passed.

At No. 1 was a mother’s son – Kelvin Mendoza Macatangay, garnering the top score of 88.75 percent.

The new Engr. Macatangay said it is his faith in God that has allowed him to believe in himself and keep his promise to his mom that he would make it to the top.

Giving out advice to aspiring engineers, Kelvin said: “Kung mag-set sila ng goal, ’yung mataas na. Libre namang mangarap (If you set a goal, set it high. It’s free to dream).”

Just days after his feat had been announced, Kelvin says he has been receiving job offers left and right. But for now, he wants take a month’s rest and then return to his alma mater to help prepare the next batch examinees from BSU.

In choosing a job, Kelvin said he is not one among those who wish to work abroad. He wants a job that will keep him close to his family. “Ayaw ko po mawalay sa pamilya, ang tatay ko po ay walang na attendan kahit isang graduation ko from Grade six to college” (I don’t like to be separated from my family. My father had not attended any of my graduation ceremonies from elementary to college),” he said.

Kelvin now hopes to work and help support his family so that his father who is a skilled worker in Kuwait will not have to wait three long years to finish his job contract before getting the chance to come home.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN — It is Batangas’ pride to have seven topnotchers – all graduates of the Batangas State University-Alangilan – in the 2018 Mechanical Engineering Licensure Examinations (from left): Kelvin Macatangay (Top 1), Efren Suarez Jr. (Top 3), Emanuelito Aristorenas (Top 5), Hazel Joy Veyra (Top 6), Dyve De Ocampo (Top 7), Adrian Bautista (Top 8) and Anna Rizza Ebreo (Top 10). (Lyka Manalo)
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN — It is Batangas’ pride to have seven topnotchers – all graduates of the Batangas State University-Alangilan – in the 2018 Mechanical Engineering Licensure Examinations (from left): Kelvin Macatangay (Top 1), Efren Suarez Jr. (Top 3), Emanuelito Aristorenas (Top 5), Hazel Joy Veyra (Top 6), Dyve De Ocampo (Top 7), Adrian Bautista (Top 8) and Anna Rizza Ebreo (Top 10). (Lyka Manalo)

BSU topnotchers

Six of Macatangay’s fellow BSU-Alangilan graduates also made it to the Top 10 of the Mechanical Engineering board exams.

Efren Suarez, 22, from Lipa City is Top 3. He graduated with honors from St. Bridget’s College in high school. Suarez said he was inspired to take engineering course by his father who wanted to be an engineer and now works as senior technician in Qatar.

Top 5, Emanuelito Aristorenas, considers his achievement as a “bonus’ because he did not expect to be one of the topnotchers. “I only prayed to pass the licensure examination,” he told The Manila Bulletin.

His father is a freelance diver instructor in Mabini, Batangas where they live and manage their oxygen tank refilling business with the help of his mom.

A farmer’s daughter from Rosario, Batangas, Hazel Joy Veyra ranked Top 6 in the same state board exam. Veyra had been a consistent honor student and, just like Kelvin, graduated valedictorian in elementary. She was a salutatorian in high school and a dean’s lister during college.

Growing up in a big family, Veyra said she is dedicating her feat to her eight siblings who had been her inspiration and driving force to pursue her dreams.

Top 7, Dyve de Ocampo, 22, from Gulod Itaas, Batangas City was grateful to his elder sister who has kept on attending to his financial needs. De Ocampo also graduated valedictorian in elementary and belonged to the Top 5 graduates in high school.

Adrian Bautista, 22, from As-is, Bauan, Batangas promised himself to get a high score and was glad that he passed with flying colors to be Top 8. He graduated salutatorian in elementary and first honorable mention in high school.

Now as an engineer, Bautista is still proud to say that his parents sell Yakult for their living.

Anna Rizza Ebreo, 21, from Barangay Bagong Pook, Lipa City never expected that she would make it to the Top 10. Ebreo said a lot of her classmates were better off in school than her despite having been a consistent honor student in elementary and high school.

She first wanted to be an architect, but has no regrets of later deciding to take up engineering.

City’s pride

Last Tuesday, the city government decided to honor its “Magnificent 7” in the board exams. A resolution was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) to give them recognition for their feat.

The city council also commended BSU for having the top ranking graduates and for the passing of 117 board examinees out of 118 graduates making it as the top-performing university garnering a 99.15 percent passing rate.

 
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