MANILA, Philippines - This year's topnotcher in the nursing board examinations is not only a magna cum laude graduate; he is also the reigning Mr. Nursing in his school, Ateneo de Naga University.
Rayan Abogado Oliva, 21, of Sta. Cruz, Naga City topped the grueling exams given last July with a grade of 86.80%. The results were released on Friday.
According to Oliva, he never thought he would get the top post even if he has always been a consistent honor student.
"It's still overwhelming since this was a national exam. I was really shocked. My mind went blank. I had mixed emotions. I was happy, overwhelmed," Oliva said.
School officials were ecstatic at Oliva's achievement because this is the first time a Bicolano topped the exam.
More than 90,000 nursing graduates took the licensure examination in the Philippines, but only about 37,000 passed.
"We prayed for him," said Ma. Clara Rubino, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Nursing, Ateneo de Naga University.
"We knew he will make it kasi focused talaga siya sa pag-aaral," said Jerome Balisnomo, one of the school's instructors.
Oliva admitted that he studied seriously for the exam, but he also made time to go out with friends during weekends.
"Of course I go out. Every Saturday night, we drink. We party. But during weekdays, we study a lot, " Oliva said.
"One of my strategies is to pray. With the help of God always at pag-a-aral talaga kaya naabot ko ito," Oliva said.
Asked about his love life, Oliva said he has no girlfriend right now.
According to Oliva's mother, Dr. Emelita Oliva, her son has been known to be kind and intelligent even when he was young. Oliva is the only son among her four children--and they are all nurses.
But Dr. Oliva, a dentist, revealed that she would prefer it if her son became a priest.
"Gusto ko sana siyang mag-pari. Kaya lang talagang para sa kanya siguro ang pagiging duktor," said Dr. Oliva.
The board topnotcher plans to study medicine and fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. He said he will take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) this December.
Oliva profusely thanked his family, teachers and friends, for helping him succeed. -- Report from Rizza Mostar, ABS-CBN Bicol