CEBU, Philippines— Since the day she was inspired by a video game, Angel Phebles Altejar from Talisay City, Cebu dreamt of becoming an architect someday.
With hard work, motivation, and support from family and mentors, Altejar fulfilled her dream as she was one of the passers of the recent Architecture Licensure Examination (ALE).
Altejar passed the exams with flying colors, landing in the Top 5 after getting an average rating of 82.80 percent.
The 26-year-old Altejar said she was “completely shocked” with the results as she never thought that she would be a topnotcher.
“There were so many questions in the exam I was completely unsure of,” she told CDN Digital. “I’m just glad God blessed me with his wisdom that day and led me to the right answers.”
READ: USC graduate tops Jan. 2023 Architecture Licensure Exam
Where it all started
Her dreams of becoming an architect started unexpectedly when she was 10.
“It all started when my dad took me to a video game store because I wanted to buy this GTA San Andreas game. I couldn’t find the game I was looking for and my dad told me to hurry up since he was going to meet a client that day. So I just took a random game from the shelf that I knew nothing about and that game was The Sims,” she narrated.
“My mom installed it for me on the computer and said ‘Ang kani na duwa Gel kay trabaho ni siya, architect ang tawag sa tig design ug balay.’” (This game Gel is work, an architect is what you call those who design houses.)
“The Sims” is a series of life simulation video games. In the game, a player creates virtual people called “Sims,” places them in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves.
She fell in love with the video game and this inspired her to become an architect.
“Then it will be like playing my favorite game for a living,” she said.
But her path towards success wasn’t an easy one.
“My greatest challenge during my review was budgeting the money I have been saving since 2019 just so I could quit my job and focus on my studies for six months prior to the exam,” she said.
Altejar was supposed to take the exam last June 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that instead of studying that time, she decided to continue her work so she can save up for her review, “to be able to pay the bills, rent, and other expenses during the course of my review where I am not earning.”
She said owes her success and achievements to God, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and Snr. Santo Niño.
She credits her family for her success, saying they played a big part in achieving her dreams,
“I also couldn’t have done it without the love and support from my family, from my papa, my mama, my younger brother, and my partner,” Altejar said.
“My mentors Ar. Rey Albert Dauz from Tektonic Design and Ar. Imelda Charito Ruiz-Diano were also a big part of my success. They have exposed me to various projects and taught me how to keep an eye for details and the processes of actual practice in Architecture that helped me understand my review better,” she added.
Message to aspiring architects
Altejar shared some tips for those who also want to pass the board exams for architects.
“The secret to passing the exam is consistency and discipline. Set a study schedule and a daily routine,” she said.
Getting enough sleep and taking afternoon naps are also important, as well as maintaining a healthy diet,
“Avoid junk food as much as possible.”
Her advice to aspiring architects, especially young women, is to be strong and not let gender stereotypes hinder their dreams.
“For years architecture is considered to be a ‘masculine’ profession and I was teased as a child by my peers for dreaming to become an architect since women, as they say, don’t belong to the world of architecture/construction. Women are strong, can solve problems differently, and have a lot to offer in the field of architecture. As a matter of fact, we have countless of significant women architects who have great accomplishments and contributions to the field,” Altejar said.
Finally, her message to aspiring architects is this: “DREAM BIG, pray, learn new skills, stay humble and never let anyone dictate your dreams and aspirations in life. Just keep working hard and by the grace of God, we will achieve great things we thought that were impossible.”
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