Home is where the heart is for this Tawi-tawi resident who topped the Civil Engineer’s exam

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 November) — After topping the 2021 Civil Engineering licensure examination, Rajiv Nooh Dalagan Amil wants to gain experience from industry experts and return home to Tawi-Tawi province to pursue his dream of building his own construction firm.

In a telephone interview, the 23-year-old Amil said he wants to contribute to the development of his hometown by putting up his own company.

Rajiv Nooh Dalagan Amil, topnotcher, Civil Engineering licensure exam. Photo from his FB page

He took inspiration from his parents who are both public servants. His mother, a certified public accountant, is working at the Commission on Audit and his civil engineer father is a retired employee of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Tawi-tawi.

Tawi-tawi is a member-province of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Amil graduated from the Ateneo de Davao University in April 2019 and went to Cebu in June 2019 to review at the Megareview Tutorial Center, which took him as one of its scholars.

He obtained a rating of 93.25%, leading the 2,374 passers out of the 6,474 examinees nationwide. Two other graduates from Mindanao included in the top 10 are Art Gil Lumapas Granada of the University of Southeastern Philippines (6th placer) and Maruel Jade Christian Bering Alidn at the University of Mindanao in Davao City (9th placer).

He recalled having encountered several challenges while preparing for the examination, among them living away from his parents, battling self-doubt, and dealing with exhaustion over extended lockdowns in Cebu.

“During the online review, there were a lot of challenges. I had difficulty adjusting to the lockdowns here in Cebu. I cannot go back home,” he said.

The COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in postponement of the exams in 2020 and in 2021, the exam scheduled on May 2 and 3 was reset to November 14 and 15.

Amil recalled listing down his motivations just to keep his momentum every time he would find himself feeling weary and slacking off.

“At the start of the review, I summarized my reasons to keep myself motivated and my purpose – I wanted to top. I carried that with me. That’s my key every time I was having self-doubt and feeling low. I will not give up,” he added.

An academic achiever since his elementary days, Amil admitted that he aimed for the top spot to redeem himself from his shortcomings in college.  During his third to fifth year, he did not fare well after losing focus and motivation.

“I was very disappointed with my setbacks in college. I wanted to top to redeem myself… Also, my parents very supportive of me, considering that I was staying in Davao for college,” he said.

Amil said that he performed well on his second year where his knack for numbers and persistence put his name on the President’s list for two consecutive semesters.

After taking the board, Amil told his parents that he might not get the top spot, as other examinees were more prepared than him.

“They knew that I wanted to top. But I called my mom after taking the exam. I told her, I’m not sure if I would still make it because the math exam was very difficult. Others were really prepared. I told her that I was no longer expecting it but I remain hopeful that I would make it to the top 10,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)