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Edzelle Mhay Naquila and her journey to topping the PT Licensure Exams

Edzelle Mhay Naquilla, Top 1 June 2023 Physical Therapists Licensure Exams| contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Before college, Edzelle Mhay Naquila knew her passion was people’s recovery and rehabilitation.

Related programs such as Clinical Psychology and Physical Therapy were already close to her heart. That’s why when she was offered a scholarship at Cebu’s Southwestern University (SWU) for Physical Therapy, she decided to move away from her family in Calape, Bohol and continue her education in Cebu City.

Several years later, Naquila would become Top 1 of the June 2023 Physical Therapists (PT) Licensure Examination.

“Di pa ko katuo. I feel like I’m still dreaming. Everytime makakita ko sa akong name sa list, it is still like a shock to me g’yud. It still hits me. Everything feels so surreal,” she told CDN Digital.

Naquila had just spent almost her entire Tuesday, June 20, 2023, inside her dorm room–filled with anxiety and lack of desire to eat, until she received a phone call from a friend.

There she knew she got a rating of 89.90 percent, the highest rating out of the 708 who passed the PT exams.


“To be honest, akong gi pray is anywhere lang gyud within sa Top 10 but honestly wala gyod ko magdahom nga mag Top 1. Ang akong gi think man gani sa una is what if mag pray ko for Top 1, pero nge ambisyosa ra kaayo ka dae,” she added.

But indeed, ambition with action took the 23-year-old Naquila to places.

Naquila is known to her peers as an achiever. She graduated valedictorian in elementary, was a consistent honor student in high school, and was in college. However, getting used to these accolades does not mean getting used to external pressures and expectations.

After graduating in August 2022, Naquila left Cebu to review in Manila alone.

“Part sa reason nganong ni decide ko ato is diri man gud sa Cebu no, is syempre daghan kaayong expectations, bug-at kaayo ang expectations sa mga tawo,” she said.

“I thought if bag-ong environment, wala g’yuy nakaila nako and wala koy ma feel nga pressure sa expectations sa people around me, dili ra kaayo ko ma down if ever gamay ra kog score,” she added.

After spending about four months in Manila, she decided to come back and take her licensure exams in Cebu.

As a would-be full-flegded physical therapist, Naquila said she aspires to be an empathetic health care worker.

“It’s more of struggles with personal nga mga struggles na and nakita nako ba nga underrated bitaw and it’s not talked about that much ang process of rehabilitating. It’s always man fixing what’s wrong. But what’s next? It’s not baya gyud. Nothing can be fixed in one time,” she said.

“If you have empathy, everything will follow man gud, you will know how to build rapport with the patient and you know how to approach the patient and when you have empathy, you also know how to listen. And listening to the patient is the number 1 nga skill nga dapat idevelop gyod as a healthcare worker because listening sa patient, dira ka makahibaw how to address holistically gyud,” she added.

Naquila said this feat of her is dedicated to her family, especially to her parents, who have sacrificed a lot for them.

And for every dreamer, who may have difficulty maintaining consistency, she has this to say:

“Ang hard gyod nga part sa preparation is being consistent. It’s not everyday, naa gyuy mga moments, naay mga days nga makaingon kag ilabay ko nalang ni tanan no, ngano diay? Whatever.”

“[But] faith coupled with grit gyud. Just unyielding perseverance. Push jud. Push ng push. Sacrifice kay pila ra ni ka months of sacrifice for a very fulfilling and very sweet nga license nga makuha afterwards,” she added.



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TAGS: Physical Therapy, Southwestern University, topnotcher
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