Bisdak pride: 4 Cebu-based graduates top med tech licensure exam

Vanessa Feje
Bisdak pride: 4 Cebu-based graduates top med tech licensure exam

TOPNOTCHERS. From left to right: Lhorence Sucano, Khelly Mae Villarin, Nijell Potencioso, and Leonard Louwin Midel.

Vanessa Feje/Rappler

Topnotcher Lhorence Sucano jokingly wrote on his reviewer that he will rank third on the exam. In a surprising twist, he manifested it!

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu has a lot to be proud of with the recently released results of the March 2023 Medical Technologists Licensure Examination (MTLE).

Nijell Potencioso and Khelly Mae Villarin, graduates of Velez College in Cebu City, shared the second highest place with an average rate of 91.90%; Lhorence Sucano of the University of Cebu-Banilad Campus claimed third place with an average of 91.80%; and Leonard Louwin Midel, another Velez College graduate, ranked seventh with a 91.30% average.

The night the MTLE results were released, what should have been an ordinary evening turned into a moment to remember for the topnotchers. In an interview with Rappler, Villarin, Potencioso, Sucano, and Midel said they were all surprised to have done so well.

“Still feels surreal,” shared Villarin.

During the announcement, Villarin and Potencioso cried tears of joy with their families, while Sucano and Midel were playing games when their phones started notifying them of the good news. 

Midel’s parents congratulated him for passing, but he interjected: “No, mom! I topped the exam.”

The beginning of the journey

Each of the topnotchers had a unique inspiration for pursuing a career in medical technology. 

Midel, a 22-year-old fresh graduate, had initially planned to proceed with pharmacy. However, after a get-together with friends, one of them suggested that he try med tech instead.

Similarly, 23-year-old Sucano, who was also a fresh graduate, had planned to become an electrical engineer, but his dad advised him to pursue med tech for the opportunities it would open up in life and career.

“Initially, kay murag na-annoy ko kay mao naman gyud akong dream, mag-follow his footsteps as electrical engineer. Pero siya mismo nag-ingun nako ba, ‘Ayaw.’ Pero later, na-love na sad nako ang med tech. Ug sakto gyud ang giingon sa ako papa, Lhorence said.

(Initially, I was annoyed because what I dreamed of was following in my father’s footsteps as an electrical engineer. But he insisted and said no. But later, I grew to love med tech. And what my father said was right.)

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Potencioso, who graduated magna cum laude, initially wanted to pursue a program in the field of math. However, his teachers told him how nice med tech is, and he decided to give it a chance.

For her part, 24-year-old cum laude graduate Villarin had enrolled in the Accountancy, Business, and Mathematics strand during her senior high school years to pursue accountancy in college but immediately switched to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or STEM as she realized her passion in becoming a doctor.

Despite their varied paths, they all share a common denominator: the love for med tech. This passion helped them overcome the challenges they faced while studying for the licensure examination.

The review phase

The journey toward becoming topnotchers in the MTLE was not an easy one for Potencioso, Villarin, Sucano, and Midel. 

Potencioso, who is currently in his senior clerkship in medical school, shared that he juggled his clerkship and studying for the MTLE.

“I was having an irregular review. One time, it was March 8, one week before the exam, I was crunching our research patient safety doing RRLs, discussion, and all.” That’s why he was surprised he ranked second, sharing that he had a hard time.

Villarin shared that she started isolating herself from her friends and family in February.

“I needed to be alone to focus on my exams,” she said. Villarin also made use of various review materials from review centers during her free time.

Meanwhile, Sucano jokingly wrote on his reviewer that he will rank third on the MLTE. In a surprising twist, he manifested it!

Sucano devoted his free time to studying as early as November 2022. “It’s the only bare minimum I could give back to my parents for providing me with an education and a stable life.” 

Midel, on the other hand, praised his review center for being hands-on and providing the best materials and strategies for studying.

“The review time was very packed,” he said. “I think that it really helped me do good in the exam.”

As the topnotchers looked back, reviewing for the exam involved long nights of studying, crying, and studying again. They attributed their success to their support system: their family.

“If they were not understanding and supportive, it would [have] become a toxic environment,” Villarin said.

Small gestures kept them going, such as preparing breakfast, fetching them to school, and their families’ constant love and support.

They’ve never forgotten to ask for divine guidance, too.

Villarin said, “You will always ask for God’s guidance because you never know what will happen, so it’s best to have something to cling on.”

The same goes for the rest of the topnotchers, who went to the renowned Simala Shrine in Sibonga town and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño to pray and ask for guidance.

Plans for the future

After acing the MTLE, what’s next for the topnotchers?

Villarin, Sucano, and Midel already took the National Medical Admission Test in 2022. Villarin and Midel said they would lay out their next steps once they get their results. Meanwhile, Potencioso will be finishing medical school this year at the Cebu Institute of Medicine. 

As they embark on a new chapter in their lives, they offer pieces of advice to future reviewers.

Midel advised students not to feel guilty about taking a break: “Go play your games. Go watch your shows. Go read your mangas, manhwas, and books. You will need that to keep going.”

Sucano also advised students to be strategic in their review: “Do not study everything. Just focus on what’s important.”

Meanwhile, Potencioso emphasized the need for rest: “Rest when you need to, then come back stronger.”

“Study hard and study smart, but don’t ever forget to pray to God, ’cause trust me when I say that prayer works,” Villarin added. – Vanessa Feje/

Vanessa Feje is a Digital Communications intern for Rappler.

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