'Surviving yet another day': What UST Bar 6th placer 'Sir K' advises future Bar takers

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2020 02:45 PM | Updated as of May 03 2020 05:30 PM

MANILA -- “It was not easy, but every single day, I thank myself for having survived another day.

This is what the 2019 Bar examinations 6th placer, Kenneth Manuel, also known as 'Sir K', from the University of Santo Tomas, described how pursuing to be a lawyer is and how he dealt with it.

Manuel, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), is at the top of the pack of 2,103 Bar passers in 2019 after garnering a score of 88.1730% in the exams.

Juggling his life as a CPA reviewer at the Review School of Accountancy and a full-time legal assistant at DivinaLaw, how did Sir K manage to pass the Bar with flying colors?


For Manuel, preparations for the Bar starts at law school. He was struggling to get good grades, maintaining scholarships and pleasing professors while teaching at Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

"Bar Exam was not really the mindset, perhaps until I was already in fourth year when we had our review subjects at UST," he told ABS-CBN News. 


Law school for Sir K is a test of everyday survival and a daily practice on the upcoming Bar exams.

"I had every opportunity to quit. There will always be reasons for us to quit," he recalled.


Time and exhaustion were Sir K’s enemies while reviewing as he was balancing his life at work and as a CPA reviewer and Bar reviewee.

By the time the four “ultimate stress days” of November came, Sir K said the junior members at the UST Law Debate and Moot Society helped him to cope. “Really thankful for everything they have done to make Sundays a lot easier – from delivering notes and my breakfast, to securing my meals and noontime coffee. Their efforts were priceless,” he said.

After the exams, he tried to suppress his thoughts on its results. But anxiety came as the announcement day drew near.

“I get increasingly annoyed with all the tags I have been receiving saying, “sure pass” or “Bar topnotcher na 'yan”, because it added external pressure which is frankly the last thing I needed back then,” he said.



Sir K slept his anxiety away the day before the results.

Then, on April 29, his friend said to now open his social media accounts and see for himself. 

“My social media accounts were ablaze with tags and messages. I was trying to catch my breath. My name is indeed up there,” Sir K said.
“I went to our family’s group chat and said “Ma, abogado na ako. Since I was alone, I just had some pizza and soda delivered to my unit,” he shared.


After the results were released, nothing has changed for Sir K but to move forward to his next goal and survive another.

“If I’ll be allowed, I would also like to teach in law schools. But I guess I have to gain more experience for that. Publishing a book on Tax is likewise a plan,” he said.

His road to success might be bumpy but he made sure to always remember who he is dedicating to all that he is doing.

“Nothing worth it comes easy, and when we think of giving up, remember your purpose, remember why you have started – remember how you want to make your loved ones proud, remember how you wanted to lift your family from poverty, remember how you want injustices to end in our society," he said.

"Make that your drive.”