Last Friday, April 30, 2021, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced that 674 out of 1,168 passed the Pharmacist Licensure Examination given by the Board of Pharmacy.  One Augustinian examinee, Celine Arbolonio Altamia, with a passing score of 88.40%, came out topping the examination by ranking 8th among the examinees who took the exams in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Pagadian, and Zamboanga in April 2021. She’s the only one from Western Visayas to be included in the successful examinees who garnered the ten highest places in the board examination. 

The examination kept being postponed because of the pandemic. Altamia, who is a native of Sara, Iloilo, took this as an opportunity to have a longer time to study, though she readily expected that the questions would be hard because of this. Preparing for boards, she said “I drank a lot of coffee to help me stay awake. I studied with my notes from school and from the review center I enrolled in. I scanned reference books if I don’t understand a topic. I made index cards for easy memorization and drew some structures which are posted on my wall for visual aids. I also read a lot of PACOP questions.”

The moment Day One of her examinations started, she took into heart and mind that she needed to do well in the crucial subjects to earn high percentages. Her focus and hard work not only garnered a passing mark but placed her on the topnotchers list. “I did not expect to be included in the top examinees. I just really wanted to pass the board exam. I finally passed the board exam! I went out of my room and broke the news to my family. Not long after I checked my messages, the group chat congratulated me as topnotcher. I was confused. I checked the site again and found my name in the list of topnotchers. I cried really hard; it was tears of joy.”

After she graduated her high school from Eucharistic King Academy of Sara, her parents encouraged her to take up Pharmacy at the University of San Agustin because of the opportunities it presents.  She learned to love the course and added that the environment set by their program, BS Pharmacy, under the College of Health and Allied Medical Professions (CHAMP), led her to develop strict study habits, having the foundation learned from school helped her in the board exams and the real world. And all this she owed to her teachers and mentors.

Now that she’s a pharmacist, she plans to work harder, do a bit of traveling especially in the tourist spots in the Philippines if time allows it, and give back and spend more time with her family. 

As a member of the Class 2019, she said to future Augustinian pharmacists, “Your hard work and sacrifices will not be in vain. Do not give up. Trust the Lord with all your heart. PADAYON.”

The University of San Agustin, on the other hand, is one with the most number of passers with 110 (81.48%) first time takers of the exam. The university garnered an overall performance of 79.45% and with the national passing of 57.71%.