USC graduate ‘didn’t expect’ to be in top 10 of board exam

Joshua Solano

CHARIMAE Budiongan couldn’t hold back the tears when she found out that she had passed and made it to the top 10 of the January 2020 Architect Licensure Examination while she was at the Basilica del Sto. Niño.

A prayer and a friend were all that she could cling to on that fateful day.

“I really didn’t expect to be part of the top 10,” Budiongan said.

The Professional Regulation Commission released the results of the exam on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Budiongan, who graduated from the University of San Carlos, ranked fifth with a rating of 82.60 percent.

Rhicel Gonzales Sapasap of Saint Louis University took the top spot with a rating of 84 percent.

Hailing from Botoc Oriental, Loay, Bohol, Budiongan is the third child of six siblings. She graduated as salutatorian in both elementary and high school and was a dean’s lister during college. She is the first architect in the family.

Budiongan first took up Bachelor of Science in Biology in college. But for as long as she could remember, she had always wanted to be an artist. That calling made her decide to shift to architecture.

Growing up in the countryside of Bohol, Budiongan admitted that she had a hard time adapting to the culture and lifestyle of Metro Cebu. Since architecture is a time-consuming course, she often felt homesick.

“I was not able to go home often and spend time with my family. But through my parents’ constant support and my perseverance to study, I was able to overcome those struggles,” she said.

Budiongan enrolled in a review center in Cebu and studied every day for six months. However, she never forgot to take care of herself.

“What I always kept in my mind was I needed to balance my mental, spiritual and physical preparation for the exam,” she said.

Her advice to future exam takers is to study the basics and to understand these deeply. They should also have the right mindset.

“You are studying to educate yourself as a great and responsible architect in the future. Preparing for the exam will not be easy. Sometimes, self-doubt will overcome you. So having a study group or a study buddy will help a lot,” she added.

Budiongan thanked God, her parents, friends, especially her best friend Marianne, and all those who have been there throughout her journey.

Of the 2,229 who took the exam, only 1,242 passed. (JGS)