licensure examinations in PH

‘God’s perfect time’: Fisherman’s son shares journey to passing civil engineering exam

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‘God’s perfect time’: Fisherman’s son shares journey to passing civil engineering exam
'I’m not early, I’m not late, I’m [in] God's perfect time,' says John Patrick Daita, one of the passers of the November 2023 Civil Engineers Licensure Examination

On November 25, the Professional Regulation Commission announced that 6,180 out of 18,582 examinees passed the November 2023 Civil Engineers Licensure Examination.

Among the passers was John Patrick Daita, a student from Rizal who faced hardships, setbacks, and even tragedy on his way to success. 

The youngest son of a fisherman and a fish vendor, Daita was a scholar of the Commission on Higher Education and an Unbound Foundation Scholar in the University of Rizal System-Morong.

In 2022, his friends and batchmates became licensed engineers, while some became licensed professionals in different fields. Daita had to delay taking the licensure exam as he had to prioritize earning to help support his parents. His older sister had a family of her own.

“Nagsimula ko nang maramdaman ‘yung pagiging unexpected breadwinner ng pamilya kaya mas nai-prioritize ko muna magwork to support [my family],” said Daita, who worked as a part-time math tutor during the height of the pandemic.

(I started to feel that I was the unexpected breadwinner of the family so I prioritized working to support my family.)

PROUD FAMILY. John Patrick Daita’s family, through a tarpaulin, proudly announces him passing the November 2023 Civil Engineers Licensure Examination. Photo courtesy of John Patrick Daita

In May, Daita started enrolling in a review center where he faced a series of financial challenges.

“Nai-push kong makapag-enroll sa [review center] kahit sabay sa work, and magkautang-utang pambayad sa review, gastos sa registration, books, etc.,” Daita said.

(I enrolled in a review center while working, and I incurred debts to pay for the reviews, registration expenses, books, etc.)

Despite the demanding hours of work, Daita still managed to find time for examination reviews whenever he could.

In July, Daita went on a month-long break from his exam review after his aunt died in the boat sinking tragedy in Binangonan, Rizal

During the process, he missed opportunities of acquiring reviewers on one of the crucial subjects of the licensure exam, but he managed to get back on track by outsourcing textbooks and other review materials.

“Na-stop ako sa review for one month due to anxiety and depression tapos napagsaraduhan pa ng online modules sa GeoHydro dahil late na at ‘di na makahabol, at tanging CE REF ang naging gabay,” Daita said.

(I stopped the review for one month due to anxiety and depression, and then I missed out on online modules on GeoHydro because I was late. CE REF was my only guide.)

As the board examinations neared, Daita experienced burnout to the point where he almost backed out. However, his friends became his backbone – they gave him their all-out support, lent him their calculators, and even gave him financial aid.

PREPARATIONS. John Patrick Daita shares the reviewers and calculator he used for the November 2023 Civil Engineers Licensure Examination. Photos courtesy of John Patrick Daita

How did Daita manage to forge on despite all the challenges he faced?

“Faith and prayer po pinagkuhaan ko [ng] lakas during [the] exam since wala pang half ‘yung sure answers ko per subject,” said Daita.

(I drew strength from faith and prayers during the exam, since I was sure of only half of my answers per subject.)

After learning that he passed the exam, Daita posted on Facebook, “I’m not early, I’m not late, I’m [in] God’s perfect time.”

Now that he has become a licensed civil engineer, Daita plans to pursue working in the construction industry, possibly abroad, if given the opportunity. He also wants to try teaching as a part-time job.

His advice to those who want to pursue the same field: “To all aspiring civil engineers, maging matatag, matibay, and buo ang loob since mahirap ang laban ng buhay civil engineering student at board exam, and siyempre laging samahan ng dasal at pananampalataya sa Diyos.”

(To all aspiring civil engineers, be strong, firm, and resolute since life as a civil engineering student is not easy, and the board exam is tough, and of course, always pray and have faith in God.) – Coleen Hufanda/

Coleen Hufanda’s keyboard never rests as she is not only a digital communications volunteer at Rappler, she is also a sophomore communication student at the University of Santo Tomas, and a content producer for her college radio. She is eyeing a career in media and broadcasting.

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