CEBU CITY, Philippines – For Mark Johnuel Duavis, passing and being part of the Top 10 passers of the Physician Licensure Examinations was more than a career achievement.
He finally fulfilled a childhood dream that took him more than six years to accomplish. Despite financial challenges and other hardships, his perseverance, patience, and hardwork paid off.
Duavis, a graduate of the University of Cebu (UC) – College of Medicine Foundation Inc., ranked 10th in the recently concluded October 2022 Licensure Examinations, much to his surprise.
It was his dog who woke him up in the wee hours of dawn on November 10, whose non-stop barks alerted him that his phone had been ringing off the hook.
“Pagtan-aw nako sa akong cellphone, daghan na kaayo ug missed calls. Unya ang pinakauna nakong nakit-an nga message kay screenshot nga Top 10 ko,” Duavis told CDN Digital in an interview.
He added that he never expected to even land on the Top 10 spot, a painful lesson he learned after finding out that he was just 0.6 percent away from clinching Number 10 in the Nursing Licensure Examinations.
“Nihilak gyud ko ’cause I’ve been praying for it my whole life. Nihilak nalang ko sa disbelief and shock. Number 10 gyud sha ba. Pinaka-iwit,” said Duavis.
“(And I think) it was not me but it was God, making His miracles para ibutang nalang ko sa pinakalast nga part. Isang-it nalang ko Niya para maapil ko para matuman niya akong gipangpray,” he added.
The new doctor hails from Buenavista town in the rural parts of Bohol province. His father is a teacher and his mother is a community nurse.
Having been exposed to the world of healthcare and tending to the ill at an early age, Duavis thought and eventually dreamt of becoming a doctor someday.
“Ana akong mama, ‘nindut na ‘nak nga mahimo kang doctor pero wala mi ikagasto’,” said Duavis.
Nevertheless, the young doctor started to carve out his path to reach that goal. He became a licensed nurse and worked for the Department of Health (DOH) as part of its Nurse Deployment Program.
When the program was halted, he transferred to a non-profit organization working to raise awareness and prevention of tuberculosis. There, he met his previous employers who asked him to come work for them again.
“And I did not pass that opportunity – working for the government with a stable income and doing public service. I worked for DOH for maybe four years,” explained Duavis in a mix of English and Cebuano.
At that point, Duavis would not have thought of pursuing medicine, as he was also helping his parents in Bohol to finance the schooling of his two younger siblings.
But then, another opportunity surfaced on Duavis’ radar – it was a government-funded scholarship for deserving but underprivileged aspiring doctors.
Like the driven and passionate person he was, Duavis gave a shot at it.
He applied for the scholarship, and submitted his application to various medical schools here in Cebu. A few weeks later, he received not only one but two acceptance notices.
“Imagina, six years ka naghuwat and then hala noh grabe pud duha kabuuk gyud ang gihatag ni Lord and (niana na ko) nga time na gyud (para mag doctor ko),” said Duavis.
The decision, however, was not easy, he added. He needed to carefully weigh his options and calculate possible outcomes that would not only impact his own career but also his family’s financial standings.
“Di gyud lalim, giving up a stable job. But my parents, supportive kaayo sila and assured me nga sila na bahala musalo para nako,” Duavis said.
In turn, he used his savings to augment the expenses needed for med school and did not ask for a single centavo from his family as help.
Medschool can be really challenging for aspiring doctors and when COVID-19 came, the difficulty seemed to have been raised to another notch.
However, Duavis’ drive in becoming a physician someday remains undeterred, and eventually, he overcame these obstacles.
When it was time to take the board examinations, the young doctor admitted that his confidence slightly faltered when he got to the second and third part of the examinations.
“Wa gyud ko nagexpect nga makapasar and even make it sa Top 10 kay pagbasa palang nako sa second and third subjects, aguy, nawala gyud akong confidence,” said Duavis.
If there’s one thing that helped him get through everything and achieve his goal of becoming a doctor, Duavis said it would be his personal outlook on life – that he has nowhere to go but forward.
“What kept me going, siguro kay wala naman koy balikan pa. I dropped everything. My job, all the things that I have, for medicine. Might as well do the best and exert the best effort that I can. Because akong gilook forward kay kung unsa ang naa sa atubangan,” he explained.
Now, Duavis is looking forward to becoming a real doctor and just like his mother, one that serves the community.
He said it is now his time to give back to the people who helped him make his dreams come true – either as a doctor in government hospitals or becoming a Doctor to the Barrios.
After that, Duavis wanted to learn more about being a doctor and perhaps, specialize in internal medicine in the future, he added.
“I don’t want to get old, regretting the things I have not done… mao nang naningkamot gyud ko for six long years and finally paid off,” said Duavis.