MANILA - She always knew that she wanted to be a lawyer, but the need to work here and an early pregnancy almost got in the way of fulfilling her dream.
Just two months after giving birth, then 22-year-old Krizza Fe Alcantara-Bagni enrolled at the St. Mary's University law school in her native Nueva Vizcaya.
Bagni said she pursued the dream at the prodding of her husband Marlon.
With a newborn baby and her job as an accountancy teacher at the Aldersgate College, Bagni had to endure a grueling schedule to reach her dream of becoming a lawyer.
She would leave the house at 7 a.m. when her baby was still asleep, teach in the morning, and then attend law classes in the afternoon.
By the time she would come home at 10 in the evening, her baby would already be fast asleep.
"Paminsan, may klase at may break time, uuwi ako para makasama ang baby ko. Kakaunti ang time ko para sa anak ko," she said.
"Kahit minsan gusto ko nang tumigil, pinu-push ko na lang sarili ko," she added, thanking her family and friends for the support.
(Sometimes when there is a break in between classes, I would go home to be with my baby. I only have little time for her. Even when there a times I want to stop, I push myself.)
Preparing for the bar exams proved even harder for Bagni as she took formal review lessons in Manila, which meant time away from her family in Nueva Vizcaya.
"Sobrang sacrifice po, nakakaiyak (It was a lot of sacrifice, it makes we want to cry)," she said.
But her sacrifices did not go to waste: Bagni did not only pass the 2017 bar exams, she was among the top 10 passers, landing on the 8th spot.
She said she cried the moment she heard the news from friends.
"'Di pa rin nagsisink-in (It has not sunk in yet). I'm overwhelmed," she told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview on Thursday, shortly after the release of the results.
Bagni said she never expected to top the Bar exams. She was just praying that she would pass.
"It's a blessing," she said of her experience.
Now that she has conquered teaching, law school, and the bar exams while being a doting mom to a now 5-year-old daughter, Bagni is looking forward to practicing the profession.
"Kung mayroon pong opportunity to practice the profession," she said.