Lovers from Cebu top board exams one after the other

Richale Cabauatan
Lovers from Cebu top board exams one after the other
Marina Luchavez tops the mechanical engineering licensure exam in March 2016. Before that, in September 2015, her boyfriend Micah Arceño was the top placer.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Since Marina Luchavez received a car from her alma mater, the University of Cebu, as a reward for topping the 2016 mechanical engineering licensure exam, the joke among her and boyfriend Micah Arceño’s friends has been: whose car are they going to use when they go on a date?

It’s not simply because they both have cars now. It’s because Micah’s car also came from the university – in fact, just last year – when he also topped the mechanical engineering licensure exam (MELE) in September 2015.

Micah got a red Toyota Wigo; Marina got a white one. 

So whose cars will they use now on dates? “I think it will be on toss coin?” Micah joked. 

When Micah received his car from UC in 2015, Marina was reviewing for the MELE. He told her: “My love, if I could do it, you can too. So let’s make it our goal [for you to top the exam too].”

His success – and the prize – inspired her to study even harder. 

“I hadn’t planned on just passing in the first place. I aimed to be a topnotcher just like my brother,” Marina told Rappler. Her brother also graduated with a degree in engineering from UC in 2006 and placed 6th.

“I’m very thankful to the Lord because this achievement is an answered prayer. I’m very thankful to my church mates who helped me pray to achieve this. I really am overjoyed I achieved my goal. I’m very excited to have received the car,” Marina said. 

UC has been giving away cars to their students topping various licensure exams for several years. (READ: ‘It’s becoming a habit’: University of Cebu gives cars to board top placers)

“From time to time, she had her ups and downs, but I didn’t need to teach her anything because she’s already very smart. That’s the truth of it. So I was more on encouraging her,” Micah said of the time Marina was reviewing for the exams.

The challenge was not with the academics. Marina said she had been dealing emotionally with the deaths of 3 of her loved ones – her little sister, her father, and her niece – in the last 10 years. 

She drew strength from God, her family, and her boyfriend. 

Her mantra when she was preparing for the exam and while she was taking it was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

She added: “Because life is short so we should enjoy it. I always remembered to enjoy even when I was focusing on my review.”

Asked about their thoughts on their achievement, which has gone viral and has been branded by netizens as their #RelationshipGoal, Micah said, “Everything comes from the Lord.”

Marina has this advice for those taking board exams: “Try their best in studying. Don’t forget to pray always, especially when they feel down and hopeless because of pressure. And always keep in mind that God is with them to help.”  with Ryan Macasero/

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