Seafarer’s son tops CFAT, takes up nursing

Ananda and her first school notebook
Ananda and her first school notebook...
First song in school
with her classmates singing their first song in school...
with her first teacher
with her first teacher...
Ananda with Tito Herdy, her biggest fan.
...and Tito Herdy, her biggest fan.

(I am tempted to write about my grandniece Ananda’s very first day in school but the euphoria of seeing our beloved baby begin her educational sojourn is yet to subside, and I lack coherence when I feel euphoric, so I will do that in another column. For now I will share with you the story of a lad who leads the new batch of freshmen in the region’s finest higher education institution.)

DANE MIKHAEL S. Calica, eldest child of a sea-based Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), topped this year’s College Freshman Admission Test (CFAT) taken by almost 5,000 high school graduates seeking admission to the Mariano Marcos State University. His father Gary, who was in Spain when Calica finished high school, began working as a seafarer in 1992, the same year Calica was born. His mother Marilec is a full-time mom.


A graduate of the Ilocos Norte National High School Special Science Class (INNHS-SHS), Calica scored 156 out of 190 items in the admission exam. He tied with another examinee for the top spot in the Science-Math part with a score of 80 out of 100 items, placed fourth in the analytical component where he correctly answered 26 of 30 questions, but landed only at sixteenth place in English with his 50 of 60 score.

Calica also topped the BS Nursing admission process which, aside from the CFAT, includes assessment of an applicant’s high school general weighted average (GWA) and an interview.

Federico V. Nagtalon, a College of Health Sciences instructor who conducted the admission interview with Calica, said the young man struck him as “very inquisitive and eloquent.”

Bespectacled since 11 because of poor vision caused by too much exposure to computer glare and poorly-illuminated reading, Calica said he chose nursing and physical therapy as his priority courses in view of his dream of becoming a physician in the future. He has even all figured out what type of doctor he wants to become: a neurosurgeon. He hopes to be able to study medicine in Australia where he has relatives.

Calica said he wants to be able to heal people even as he himself is suffering from heart and kidney problems, occasionally experiencing difficulty of breathing and twitching of hands for a couple of years now. He has also been asthmatic since childhood.

Audie G. Coloma, advanced physics teacher at INNHS-SSC, described him as “hardworking and focused in his studies”. The mentor said that even in high school, Calica, who tucks interschool quiz bee championships under his belt, has been devouring piles of college-level books in science and math. Yet Coloma says the young achiever is “very humble,” reciting only in class when no one else among his classmates knows the correct answer to a question.

While Calica’s 95.03 GWA was the highest in their batch at INNHS-SHS, he was beaten by his classmates in points from co-curricular activities. He graduated as first honorable mention, and received medals in science and mathematics.

Calica admits to being a nerd, but adds that he is a “nerd rockista,” given his rocker-inspired fashion sense and taste for music. His hobbies include drawing, painting, playing musical instruments, and singing.

The lad from Laoag City expects college life at MMSU, which he said he chose because of its excellent reputation, to be difficult and challenging, but looks forward to new experiences and fresh opportunities.

He said he wishes to be a positive influence to his brothers Samuel Vincent, 13, and James Noah, 9.

Calica is entering the university as one of highly select awardees of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Education for Development Scholarship Program, a grant offered to qualified beneficiaries or dependents of OWWA-member-OFWs who intend to enroll in any baccalaureate course. It is given in the form of a financial assistance amounting to Php30,000 per semester.

Nursing was the first priority course of 28 of the top 100 examinees, the most sought-after program second only to BS Accountancy which was chosen by 41. Other picks of top examinees were BS Secondary Education, 7; BS Civil Engineering, 5; BS Pharmacy, 5; BS Biology, 5; BS Chemical Engineering, 2; BSBA Management Accounting, 2; and BS Sociology, BS Electronics Engineering, BS Mechanical Engineering, BS Computer Engineering, BS Computer Science, BSBA Tourism Management, and BS Elementary Education each with one examinee indicating the courses as first priority.


Three-year-old Ananda began going to school on June 8 while the opening of classes for college students was moved to June 15 as a precautionary measure against a deadly flu. Do you see something irrational here, or is it just me thinking euphorically incoherent?

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

17 thoughts on “Seafarer’s son tops CFAT, takes up nursing”

  1. you should write more on Ananda. It’s your own cyberspace so you can write whatever you want. Cute niya ha..chinita talaga. About the flu, feeling yata ng Dept of Health na mas mababa ang anti-bodies ng mga college students kesa sa mga

  2. As far as I know, yes. Althhough last week, there is this flight attendant case again. But so far, no alarm/warning from the Health Department.

  3. i love those dimples.i remember when my son started school i was more excited than he was.i use to take the night off so i could be home when he goes to his first day of school with my camera ready .he use to say to me”mom is it really necessary for you to take all these pictures ? and my husband would say”what do you expect she is a filipino they love pictures let her do her thing and get it over happened up until he was in the 3rd grade and then he refused to be photographed.but i still made sure that i took the night off every first day of his school until 7th grade. i have lot of memories and i am sure you will too with ananda.

    1. Yes, she gives me so much joy. I hope she will be discerning about what to believe and not to believe in school.

  4. i was just both have dimples…..that is my presumption too donna the college students and professors have lower anti bodies than the small kids…poor babies..

  5. The Beginning.

    Its quite inspiring to know this kind of story for a lad who has a sense of focus and dream driven youth.

    People like him should hold a grip for the freedom for them to pursue their dreams. Not bewildered by financial probs as well as not distracted by taking a “curse “(course) they dont want to take.
    For NOT ALL youths have this privilege. All have the FREEDOM TO DREAM but to make those dreams happen is another thing.

    There are prices at stake, either for them to be independent to support their studies (the one THE STUDENT wants), or continue a “curse” (course) and hope to redirect ways somewhere in the future, and the greatest is LIFE of a beloved one- that becouse of ones dream caused his heart to stop.

    Most on the lower class in the societal pyramid of dont have this privilege of pursuing FREELY their dream. They are redirected to PRACTICALITY and to be Financially stable in the soonest possible time: helping their family, and establishing themselves. Then the thought that “AFTER that” that i’ll be able to pursue my fream. But how many of them was able to get out from that Catastrophe? The problem of “Brain Drain”, “The Filipino Diaspora”, how long has it been and how many will still thrive for that? A greener pasteur in exchange of ones dream, for themselves, for their family, and for our beloved country. When will this End?

    I must say, Im proud of this boy, He is somehow fulfilling a dream of his parents… that he may pursue his career and have a good future…In the Hope of not being another OFW.

    This is a good start for him,
    Stay FOCUS and have a strong hold for your dream in the future, though this is just the beginning… hope for you to have that staying power.

  6. she is precious .are her parents and grandparents as excited as you sound like you are the “spoiler and overprotective of this girl which is a good thing.(you are practicing hehehe

  7. there is nothing wrong with spoiling.together with love you can do it with materials too. ananda is lucky to have a tito herdy. my husband i think would love to have a girl too.sometimes he treats me like one.easter sundays he buys stuffed animals for easter sunday i came out of work and i thought there was someone in the drivers seat of my car and i found out it was a big,big bunny.he dropped it off while i was working. i have so many stuffed animals.unbelievable.

  8. i think first teachers play a very important role on the molding of a child’s mind and perspective about school.the child meet the teacher for the first time and leaves an impression.either this teacher is a good one and nurturing or a not down to earth kind.first experience should be a pleasant one otherwise the child will develop a phobia of going to first teacher eons ago (mrs. albano)was the greatest.i love her and i always looked forward going to school.the child should not have a separation anxiety from home. it should be a” home away from home atmosphere.”

  9. maganda ang impluwensya sa mga kabataan ang pag-aaral sa savior. tinuturuan nila ang mga bata ng mga magagandang asal…

  10. I’m proud sa kanya dahil schoolmate ko yan. at according to what i read, noong una ay hindi daw siya ganun kagaling pero nagulat na lang daw yong mga clasmates nya dahil bigla na lang tumalino ang classmates nila. sa aking nabasa eh nagkahilig daw siyang magbasa ng mga science magazines at mga articles.
    In my opinion, it’s not the school who molds the students, it’s the student itself.
    And how i wish that meron akong motivation sa mag-aral ng mabuti gaya ni Mr. Calica dahil pagbasa ko palang ng aking math notebook eh nakakaantok na. mas grabe pa sa soft music.

  11. According to Mr. Cabrales of INNHS (MAPEH teacher), waterloo is not in his vocabulary, in fact dancing is one of his waterloo but Mr. Cabrales saw the effort, and effort makes things perfect. I agree with supremo that “it’s not the school who mold the students, it’s the student itself”, excel is not just getting high grades, with an uno mark, and his history, but excel can be view how he venture his own life after college, and I’m looking forward of those things

  12. It is very hard for a student to study their lesson i there something that is missing in the family.Especially if its the mother who is out to do work.Mother knows best is what they say.But students with this kind of problem must serve as an inspiration to the m so that they will strive harder and do their very best to fullfill their dreams.

  13. I am also a graduate of the Ilocos Norte Science High School and I am proud of him. It is a manifestation that we in the Science High School are not ordinary people, we are gifted ones (nagbuhat ng sariling bangko!). Seriously, high school trained us to be diligent students, valued education, and made us see how lucky we are to be studying. Kudos to you Dane!

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