Yolanda survivor, Capitol scholar tops board exam

He was on the last stretch of his review for the board examination when super typhoon Yolanda hit Northern Cebu.

Studying miles away from home, then-graduating civil engineering student Dovann Arrabis couldn’t focus at all anxious about his family’s situation in Daanbantayan town.

When the typhoon passed, he immediately went home to check on them.

Naguba gyud among balay. Nagtukod na lang mi ug payag-payag (Our house was totally wrecked. We just built a makeshift house to stay for the meantime), shared Dovann.

But with the upcoming board examination, he chose to stay strong and not be gravely affected by the catastrophe.

After staying for a week in his hometown, Dovann went back to Cebu City and finished his review. He reviewed for the board exam in the morning and attended classes at night.


Considering his family’s economic situation, he never thought he would be able to proceed to college, much less pass a board exam.

Yet 22-year old Dovann graduated as magna cum laude in Cebu Technological University Main Campus last April 2014. He also finished 10th place in the Civil Engineering Licensure Examination in May of same year.

He is now a licensed civil engineer and the only degree holder and board passer in the family.

“We really had nothing to sustain my education. Both my parents had no stable jobs. My father sometimes does construction jobs, other times he farms. My mother is a housewife,” he shared in dialect.

Third of five siblings, Davonn said his two elder brothers work as security guards in Cebu City. Both already have their own families so they couldn’t support the education of the younger ones.

But when he knew of Cebu Provincial Government’s scholarship program for high school graduates, his hopes grew.

He applied for the scholarship on his own. Nobody recommended nor referred him.

However, his application came in late and once again, he lost hope.

Five applicants per town are accepted in the program every year. In 2009, Dovann was the sole applicant from Daanbantayan. This ensured his slot to the program despite his late application.

Nagpasalamat ko nga bisan na-late ko, wala ko naka take sa exam ug interview, gidawat gihapon ko nila (I’m so thankful to the program coordinators that despite my late application – I wasn’t able to take the examination and interview – they still accepted me),” expressed Dovann.

Dovann is one of the 145 scholars under the Cebu Tertiary Education Assistance Program (CTEAP) recently honored by the Province for their academic achievements in 2014.

Of the 145, 74 were board passers and 71 were fresh graduates. Of the 71, 28 graduated cum laude and one graduated magna cum laude.

Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III and Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale with Provincial Board Member Peter Calderon and Department of Education Division Superintendent Arden Monisit handed over medals, plaques and cash incentives to the honored scholars.

As 10th placer in his board exam, Dovann received P20, 000. Other board passers received P10, 000 each. Magna cum laude scholar graduate received P20, 000; cum laude scholar graduates P10, 000 each; and P5, 000 for each scholar graduates.

Pasalamat kaayo ko sa Capitol ani nga programaha kay siguro kung wala ni, dako gyung posibilidad na di ko ka-eskuyla (I’m so thankful to Capitol for this program. If not for this, there’s a great possibility I won’t be able to pursue college), expressed Davonn.

Family and inspiration

Dovann shared he will invest some of the cash he received; some he will spend to reward his self.

“It’s important that I invest my money. My academic success would go to waste if I don’t practice good financial management. But I will also enjoy myself with the money I have,” he said in dialect.

Dovann now works in a development project by Department of Social Welfare and Development as a technical empowerment facilitator.

With a monthly salary of around P29, 000, he now sends financial support to his family, helping out in his younger siblings’ education.

Dovann shared his family was his inspiration in aiming for academic excellence.

He also got motivated seeing the tarpaulins of his seniors in the previous board examination results.

Nakahuna-huna ko kung ako sad ma ingon ana, unsa kaya ang feeling noh? (I wondered if I were up there, how would it feel?),” shared Dovann.

Now, he knows. And he’s very happy.

Proud kaayo ka sa imong kaugalingon nga kada estudyante masugatan, mutagad gyud nimo. Ang respect sa isig ka taw nitaas gyud (I felt so proud and happy being congratulated by the students that I meet. I felt like I’ve earned their respect),” expressed Dovann.

To students, Dovann advised to be both intelligent and wise in managing studies and life in general.