Bicolano MELE topnotcher: “It was a dream come true, magpapasko akong engineer”

Surprised and extremely happy.

Those were the words that defined the feeling of the 22-year-old Bicolano topnotcher, John Mekko Ostonal Payonga as he heard the good news from his classmate that he topped the Mining Engineers Licensure Examination (MELE).

Payonga who is a native of Ligao City, Albay got a rating of 88.40 percent in the August 2023 MELE.

In an interview with Bicoldotph, Payonga revealed that his goal during the board exam was not just to pass but to become a topnotcher.

“Nagri-review pa lang ako, [goal ko na maging topnotcher]. Hindi lang passer, kundi topnotcher,” said Payonga.

Towards his dream of being a topnotcher

Payonga knew that his goal to become a topnotcher entails a lot of hardwork so he also doubled his efforts.

“Alam ko talaga na kailangan kong maglaan ng effort at panahon dahil kung gusto kong mag-topnotcher dapat ang effort na ibibigay ko pang-topnotcher din. Kapag tinatamad akong mag-aral, iniisip ko na lang na magpapasko akong engineer,” said Payonga.

He also added that as early as 3rd year college, he started reviewing board exam questions that were shared by his college seniors.

“May klase pa kami dati, nagpi-prepare na ako ng mga notes [for reviewers]. ‘Yong pader ko sa boarding house, punong-puno na po iyon ng mga dapat kong tandaan for board exam,” told Payonga.

He was also motivated by his classmates who shared the same goals with him and who helped him review before the board exam.

Inspirations to become a topnotcher

Payonga said that his family and relatives served as his ultimate inspiration to achieve his goal of being a topnotcher.

“Number 1 na inspirasyon ko ay ang mga magulang ko dahil kahit isang beses hindi sila nawalan ng tiwala sa akin na papasa ako,” said him.

Payonga is the eldest child among four siblings. His father is a farmer and laborer while his mother is a housewife.

Future aspirations

Payonga have high hopes to contribute in the mining industry of the Philippines. He envisions that it will reach its potential as a mineral-rich country.

According to him, he will also continously advocate to implement responsible mining through rehabilitation of mining sites to restore the environment.

“Gusto kong maging parte ng pagbabago sa larangan ng mining industry sa ating bansa at gusto ko ring maibahagi ito sa mga nais ding maging mining engineers,” he added. I Jona Bagayawa