education in the Philippines

The right time: Oriental Mindoro teacher passes LET after more than 10 tries

Christa Escudero

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

The right time: Oriental Mindoro teacher passes LET after more than 10 tries

Photo courtesy of Oliver Landicho

‘Passion ko ang pagtuturo. Mahal na mahal ko ang pagtuturo. Kaya talagang pinilit ko na mag-take ng board,’ says Oliver Landicho, who passed the March 2023 licensure exam for teachers

MANILA, Philippines – At about the time the results of the March 2023 Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers were released, Oliver Landicho was on his motorcycle heading for home as another school day was over for this teacher. Though homeward bound, a single prayer kept racing again and again through his head that Friday afternoon.

You see, Landicho has already taken and flunked the teachers licensure exams over 10 times. But still the same mantra is echoing in his head – a plea that this time he passes the exams to be a licensed teacher.

He stopped by a store to buy a candle, which he was going to light when he offers prayers in church.

His phone kept ringing many times, but he ignored it. He was already in church when he answered the phone. The voice on the phone broke the news he had been waiting for over a decade – he passed the licensure exam for teachers.

Siyempre, ‘di ako makapaniwala. Sabi ko, ‘Huwag ‘nyo akong lokohin’ (Of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said, “Please don’t fool me”),” Landicho shared in an interview with Rappler.

“Tapos umiiyak na ko. Tapos nagtirik na ‘ko ng kandila, umiiyak na ‘ko sa harap ng Birhen.” (Then I cried. Then I lit the candle, crying in front of the altar of the Virgin Mary.)

The first time Landicho took the licensure exam was in 2010. He doesn’t remember the exact number of times he has taken the exam — there were years he skipped it — but he estimated it to be “more than 10, [around] 12 or 13 times.”

Sa totoo lang, ang tagal kong hinintay na makapasa ako. Patawad, biro mo, ang tanda ko na. 50 years old na ‘ko sa August 1,” he shared.

(To be honest, I’ve waited for a long time to pass. I’m sorry, who would’ve thought, I’m so old already. I’m turning 50 on August 1.)

Journey to passing the LET
Oliver Landicho with his co-teachers at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, in 2013. Photo courtesy of Dwight de Leon

Landicho graduated with a degree in chemistry, but since his younger years his heart was set on his becoming a teacher.

‘Yung father ko kasi, retired teacher siya. Ang pangarap ko talaga noong una, nung nag-aaral pa ako noong high school, sabi ko ay gusto ko magturo, kukuha ako ng BS Biology. Pero hindi BS Biology ang nakuha ko,” he said.

(You see, my father was a retired teacher. At first my dream was, in high school, I thought to myself I wanted to teach, I’ll take up biology in college. But I ended up not taking it.)

Together with his chemistry degree, Landicho also earned an additional 18 education units — enough for him to take a shot at the licensure exam for teachers.

Noong unang take ko ng board, hindi ko alam na ganoon pala ‘yung pakiramdam na hindi ko masabi kahit kanino, kahit sa pamilya ko, na parang nahihiya ako. Nagkulong na ko sa kwarto…talagang parang bagsak sa ‘kin noong unang take ko. Pero noong mga sumunod na take na hindi na ko nakapasa, parang okay lang, parang normal na,” he recounted.

(When I first took the exam, I didn’t know that that was how it felt to not be able to say to anyone, not even my family, that I was embarrassed. I sulked in my room… I was really down. But during my next takes when I still didn’t pass, it already felt quite normal.)

Landicho recalled he had also done numerous rituals as part of his petition to gain a professional teacher’s license.

Lahat na ng ritwal ginawa ko. Lahat na ng santos dinasalan ko. Lahat ng simbahan — sa Quiapo, sa Baclaran, lumakad nang paluhod. Talagang ginawa ko na. Nagpatasa ako ng lapis sa mga pamangkin ko…lahat na ng ritwal talaga para makapasa. Magsuot ng pulang brip, mga ganoon. Pero hindi talaga binigay.” 

(I did all the rituals. I prayed to all the saints. I went to all the churches — to Quiapo, to Baclaran — walking on my knees. I did everything. I made my niece and nephew sharpen my pencils for the exam… I did all the rituals just to pass the exam. Wear red underwear, all that stuff. But it still wasn’t for me.)

The last time he took the exam — the time he finally hurdled it — there were no rituals made.

“Parang ang dala ko lang talaga, dasal na lang talaga. Mga nag-pray over sa ‘kin (What I only brought with me were prayers, those who prayed over me),” he said.

Landicho also did self-review, with the help of exam drills on YouTube particularly those on the Sir Melvin Buracho Corner channel.

Noong natapos na yung board, sabi ko sa sarili ko, tanda ko lahat ng mga questions. Nari-recall ko ‘yung mga questions at alam ko tama ‘yung sagot ko (When I finished the exam, I thought to myself, I remembered all the questions. I could recall them, and I knew my answers were right),” he shared.

Pero hindi pa rin ako umasa, nasa isip ko lang. Sabi ko, sige, kung ibibigay sa akin… Kasi ayaw kong sabihin na nadalian ako tapos hindi ako pumasa. Ayun, ganun lang ‘yung nangyari. Tapos pasado na pala,” he added.

(But I still didn’t expect anything, I just kept it to myself. I said to myself, okay, if this is really for me… Because I don’t want to say that it was easy for me and then still fail in the end. So yeah, that’s just what happened. And then I actually passed.)

Oliver Landicho with his nephew, mother, and niece. Photo courtesy of Dwight de Leon

What made Landicho keep on trying despite the failed attempts?

Ang nasa isip ko, sabi ko tuloy lang. Kasi sabi ko, hindi pa talaga siguro oras para ibigay sa akin. Pero ‘pag talaga para sa akin, para sa akin. Ang pangarap ko kasi talaga, maibigay ko sa magulang ko, sa mommy ko, ‘yung pagpasa ko sa board exam, tsaka sa mga pamangkin ko, para sa kanila ‘yung pagpasa ko talaga,” he said. 

(In my mind, I said, just kept going. Because maybe it wasn’t the right time for me. But if it was meant for me, it’s meant for me. Because I really dreamed of giving the honor of my passing the board exam to my mother and my niece and nephew as a gift. Me passing the exam was really for them.)

‘Exemplary educator’  

Landicho has already been teaching for at least 13 years before passing the licensure exam.

He first taught at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, where he graduated high school, in 2008. It was the school’s principal that encouraged him to earn education units and take the licensure exam, because he wouldn’t be able to continue teaching unless he had a license within five years. 

After multiple tries at the licensure exam, he was removed from the school in 2014. In need of a job, he applied as a college teacher at the Pinamalayan Maritime Foundation Technological Institute. He taught there until 2017.

Oliver Landicho at the Domingo Yu Chu National High School in Pola, Oriental Mindoro. Photo courtesy of Landicho

The same year, he heard of and applied for a job opening with the Department of Education for senior high school teachers. He got into the Domingo Yu Chu National High School in Pola, Oriental Mindoro, teaching there until he had to leave in 2021, when they started requiring licenses for teachers.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Landicho became jobless, until he got a chance to teach college again in 2022, this time at the Southwestern Institute of Business and Technology in Pinamalayan.

Passion ko ang pagtuturo. Mahal na mahal ko ang pagtuturo. Kaya talagang pinilit ko na mag-take ng board…. Feeling ko parang alam ko ang tinuturo ko kasi favorite ko ang science, chemistry, physics. Enjoy na enjoy ako sa pagtuturo. Kaya talagang sabi ko ito ang gusto ko, dito ako nag-eenjoy,” he shared.

(Teaching is my passion. I really love teaching. That’s why I pushed myself to take the board exam. I feel like I know what I’m teaching to students because science, chemistry, and physics are my favorites. I really enjoy teaching. So I told myself this is what I want, this is what I enjoy.)

“Despite these failed attempts, I know in my heart he’s an exemplary educator,” shared Landicho’s nephew Dwight de Leon.

“His colleagues in school know him as someone who submits his lesson plans on time. He always chats with his students, and expresses genuine concern when they’re falling behind in chemistry or physics. He is also a team player who leads school activity preparations every time a principal instructs him to. Science Festival, Academy Day, Miss Intramurals, you name it,” he added.

“Standardized tests have their merits, but they will never accurately measure a teacher’s heart and dedication to their craft.”

Oliver Landicho with his students in 2012. Photo courtesy of Dwight de Leon

Landicho had an advice for aspiring teachers: “Kung passion talaga nila at love nila ang magtuturo, sige tuloy lang, ‘wag susuko, lalo na kung may pangarap ka talaga na gustong abutin (If teaching is really their love and passion, just keep going. Don’t give up, especially if you have a dream you want to reach).”

Patuloy lang, nandyan ang Diyos, talagang hindi ka pababayaan niyan. Ibibigay at ibibigay ‘yan sa tamang oras at sa tamang panahon (Just keep going, the Lord is there, he won’t leave you. Your prayers will be granted at the right time and place).” —

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Avatar photo


Christa Escudero

Christa Escudero is a digital communications specialist for Rappler.