CLE 2023 Topnotchers

The year 2023 will end brightly for the Visayas State University community now that an Ormocana and a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) makes history by being the first #ProudVican who clinched the most coveted top spot in the recently concluded Chemists Licensure Examination (CLE).

Meet Krizzia Mae D. Ignacio, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of VSU in 2022, who is a proud daughter of a high school teacher and a sari-sari store vendor in Barangay San Juan, Ormoc City.

Krizzia along with her 2 other batchmates ends the long drought for topnotchers of the VSU chemistry program. In fact, this is more like a redemption arc for the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry (DoPAC) after implementing radical changes to improve overall institutional performance in the annual chemistry board examination.


It was indeed a bountiful harvest for both VSU and DoPAC as James M. Mortel of Baybay City also placed fifth in the CLE while Arianne Joy B. Beluan who is a native of Malitbog, Southern Leyte obtained the second highest spot in the 2023 Chemical Technicians Licensure Examination (CTLE).

Overall institutional performance also went very well this year for both chemists and chemical technicians surpassing the national average. 

VSU registered an impressive 58.21% institutional passing for the chemistry boards, which is higher than the national passing of 51.79%. First time takers who experienced the needed curricular changes implemented by DoPAC provided the university with an even higher institutional passing percentage of 63.65%.

For the chemical technician boards, a total of 49 out of 50 or equivalent to 98% of takers from VSU passed this examination exceeding the national average of 82.86%. All of them are first time takers.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Quevedo, the current Head of DoPAC, was very happy to know that all their hard work of making necessary changes in the curriculum have brought in a positive outcome for the university.

“This is indeed a momentous occasion for us in our department because we tried to find ways to push our board exam performance higher and we’ve always reminded and encouraged our most recent graduates about preparing well for the boards so that they can pass the said exam,” the DoPAC Head shared.

DoPAC alumni and former VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin was ecstatic for this news considering that the field of chemistry is one of the most difficult board examinations conducted by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) annually.

Self-control and faith as key to acing the boards

The three topnotchers agreed that performing well in the boards required two things: persistent self control and unceasing faith in the Almighty. In an exclusive group interview with Krizzia, James, and Arianne on New Year’s eve, they shared similar reasons that made them ace the examination.


Persistent self-control for them means having discipline in the face of pressure from an immediate urge, desire or compulsion that delays instant gratification.

“I was convinced to take the examination last year because I really wanted to get my license as soon as possible. But because of personal sickness, I had to listen to the advice of my parents to delay it until this year. It was a very long wait for me that at some point, it made me doubt myself. But this allowed me to focus and have more time to invest in self-reading and online review. While I was helping my mom in her sari-sari store business, I devoted my time patiently reviewing by daytime while giving myself enough time to rest in the evening,” Krizzia imparted.

For James, he had to sacrifice and leave his first job in the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (PhilPhos) to focus on the face-to-face review in Manila.

“I had to let go of my job because I have a goal of topping the boards. It is a dream that I wanted to realize. Even though I know that this will cost me so much money, I had to do it and concentrate on my goal. With my widowed mother’s help who is selling vegetables in Baybay, we were able to push through and finance my in-person review despite the many odds,” James recalled.

As for Arianne who also took online review, it was about having the right self-discipline and proper time management skills especially that she had to balance her self-paced review with her part time teaching stint in the campuses of the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU).

“Completing the eight hours of sleep was important for me so balancing the time both for the online review and my part time teaching experience in SLSU was very necessary. While this balancing act was quite difficult, since I was teaching laboratory classes and the CLTE was more about the applied side of chemistry, I think that my part time teaching experience was more like my practical review that gained me some form of advantage,” Arianne said.

The unceasing faith to the Lord for these three topnotchers was more about fulfilling their Christian obligations of attending weekly church service, praying daily for their goal, and manifesting something into reality by the power of intention, belief, and focused thought.

“It was a bit providential for me that on the orientation day for our online review with Quantum Review Center, I received a notification message about the making of a champion. When I get to remember this, it brings me goosebumps of the amazing grace of God in my life and my entire family,” the first placer thought.

For James, prayer kept him calm despite the many financial challenges that he had to experience during the face-to-face review.

“The Lord blessed me with classmates who would help me in Manila in times that the remittance of my mother gets delayed. It taught me the importance of entrusting everything to Him no matter how difficult life gets,” James expressed.

Arianne, just like many other young people today, suffers from chronic anxiety. And having a stable connection with the Lord was her constant assurance along with the enabling support of her friends and peers.

“2022 was a difficult year for our family because I lost my grandfather and uncle in that same year. It brought me so much anxiety but I turn to the Lord for constant support by visiting churches in Baybay, Maasin and even take pilgrimage in Simala Church in Cebu. My friends were also helpful in times of panic attacks especially when we were closer to the exam date,” Arianne disclosed.

While these three topnotchers have been currently offered with teaching positions in different universities, they all wanted to pursue industry practice that will allow them to immerse into the common procedures, methods, standards, and behaviors typically adopted by best chemical companies in the Philippines and even overseas.

On behalf of the three, the chemistry first placer expressed her heartfelt thanks to DoPAC particularly to their professors and mentors at their home department.

“We’re very thankful to Sir Candelario Calibo, Ma’am Elizabeth Quevedo and all our previous professors and instructors at VSU. We’re very happy to bring pride and honor to our department and we hope that our next set of batches will take this as an inspiration to uplift the name of DoPAC in the many years to come,” Krizzia concluded.

Just like the chemistry first placer, James and Arianne are also DOST scholars in their undergraduate years.

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