A Journey of Twists and Turns

My CMA story is nothing unusual. In life, there will always be ups and downs. I made my first step towards this goal on the summer of 2017. I was still a student of UST-AMV College of Accountancy then. Having our last semester on the months after, I decided to take up CMA review with the January-February testing window as my target date of examination.

My friends and I have set our minds to become medalists, taking both parts in the same testing window. It was a feat that, during that time, was close to impossible, juggling our academic life with this new goal. With this in mind, we did our best to reach the impossible, studying every day, day in and day out. I have tried different methods, working on index cards, manila papers, yellow pad papers, business pad papers, cellphone notes, notebooks, fillers, handouts, you name it!

From the start of our summer 2017 until January of 2018, I have been studying hard for part 1. My mistake? I completely neglected part 2, with my exam date on the latter part of February.

I took the part 1 exam in January, got out of the testing center, an hour to spare, with full confidence and high hopes that my score would be above 400. After that, I gave my mind a week’s time to rest and relax my brain.

February came, and it came fast. By the first week of February, I am cramming all of part 2 in my head, missing out on writing formulas on index cards, on manila papers, basically everything. All I had time to do was to review the handouts and write on yellow pad papers.

My testing date was fast approaching, and I could not concentrate on studying part 2 because of overthinking, and I keep on feeling that all hope’s lost in being a medalist. I wanted to quit, but on the day of my exam, I pushed myself out of bed and went to the testing center.

I finished the multiple-choice questions in less than 2 hours, and I closed my eyes, hoping and praying that I earned at least 50% score. I opened my eyes and stared at the “continue” button for 5 whole minutes and when the timer said I had 1 hour left for the MCQ, I clicked the button, again closed my eyes and prayed long and hard. I was relieved to see that the exam was taking me to the essay part. I used almost an hour and a half for my essay and believe me, I went out of the testing center still praying for good results.

After some time, results for the part 1 is out, I hurriedly open my e-mail full of excitement just to find out that I was way below the passing mark. I was devastated. I felt like my whole world crumbled. I kept on asking myself, “If I did this bad on part 1, what more hope do I have in part 2?” It took me the whole month to get over it, to the point where I even forgot to open my e-mail when the part 2 results were released. It was 2 days after the release when I realized I haven’t checked the results yet. I opened it and I cried when I saw that I am one-half done with the CMA exam. I passed the tougher Part 2 exam!

I immediately filed for a re-take of my part 1 and studied rigorously. During that time, I marched and graduated college, June 1 to be exact, and I continued studying right after. I took the exam by the end of June, with the thought in mind that this will be my last exam and I will pass the exam this time around. Results came shortly after, and I was glad I passed my retake on Part 2. With just the 2-year work experience I can now claim my right as a certified professional!

With this, I am currently taking up my bridging program in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, not giving up on my dreams, with the thirst for knowledge backing me up.

Every failure I come across makes me stronger and stronger still. My achievements aren’t the only things defining me. These setbacks, and how I manage to get back up on both feet completes the definition of myself. These comeback moments are what makes me who I am, a man of twists and turns, making the most out of everything, and that, is my CMA Journey.

Keep on striving for your goals. If I can do it, you can do it, too!


About the Author: Julian Job Martinez is a graduate of BS in Management Accounting in the University of Santo Tomas. He passed and completed the CMA exam last May/June 2018 testing window. He is currently taking up BS in Accountancy in the Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Intramuros in pursuit of the Philippine Certified Public Accountant title so that he can maximize his potential in sharing his knowledge and expertise in the field.

The Opportunity

I was 4th yr. college at the University of Santo Tomas taking BS Management Accounting. It was a normal day at school. No quizzes, no events, just classroom discussions. I was outside of our classroom when I learned that one of the professors was discussing about the CMA program.

From what I learned, we just have to take an exam prepared to see if we were qualified for what they called back then as the first “Elite Batch”.

A few days after thinking about it, I gave it a try. I spent some nights reviewing the materials given. What’s fun was only a few people knew that I would take the exam.

Exam day came, some of my friends were surprised that I took the exam. Let me tell you that the exam was the first 100 item exam I have ever taken, and it was really difficult. I didn’t expect to get a passing score. I even placed a bet with my friends that if ever I passed I would treat them with pizza.

Back to normal but with a lot of quizzes now. I didn’t expect the results to come out soon because of the workload of the professors during quizzes. Until one weekend morning, I woke up with my phone bombarded with “Congratulations!”  When I learned that I placed first in that list of passers I ran and screamed towards my parents to show them my achievement.

I was happy and most of my friends were happy for me, then I remembered that I had to buy pizza. Anyway, because of the results I was able to convince my parents to enroll me in the certification program.

The journey to be a Certified Management Accountant is a very challenging task. I had to sacrifice some time to do stuff I wanted to prioritize what I needed to do.

The most memorable for me though was my exam month. It was June 2017. My exams were scheduled on the 2nd and 4th week. Our graduation was on the first week of June, so I wasn’t able to enjoy graduation as early as my batch mates did. I remembered sacrificing going out with friends to study every day to prepare for the exams. It was the most challenging thing I did for the certification.

In the end, it was worth it. I received the results in August 2017 and I passed the two-part exam.

Now, I’m a financial consultant of an insurance company and because of my certification I can provide better insight and added value to my clients. I’m on my way to managership and making my family very proud.

To the readers, make it a goal to learn from the certification program rather than achieve the title, it is this way that all your sacrifices and journey will be truly worth it and really useful in the workforce.

Good luck and God bless!


About the Author: Aldwyn Jan T. Gonzales graduated BS Management Accounting at The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas batch 2017. He passed the CMA Examination for both parts in the June 2017 testing window. He is now a financial consultant in one of the world’s leading life insurance companies.

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”; an excerpt from “Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, a mantra I repeat to myself in times I face life changing decisions. It’s ironic because when I chose the course I would take in college, I took the road most often taken by most aspiring business professionals and lawyers, which was BS Accountancy. But during my journey as an accountancy student, my mantra was put to the test, it was during then that I stumbled upon a road that diverged, and there lies a path less traveled by.

During my second year in college, I faced an obstacle I never knew would change my life, which was to pass the retention program. The retention program was the test that would decide whether I was still eligible to continue in the BS Accountancy program or I would be shifted to the BS Management Accounting program. Of course, when the results were released, I was disappointed when I learned I will not pass, and I was also on the verge of changing my course, thinking a career in accounting was not for me, but life always has its silver lining. During my first semester as a Management Accounting student, we were oriented about the different career paths a BSMA graduate can pursue. It was also discussed then that we can still pursue our goal of becoming a CPA by enrolling in a bridging program, but what really piqued my interest was the Certified Management Accounting Certification. I never knew that there were other avenues and greater opportunities I can grab aside from the CPA license, and the best part was it was a global certification. So, without any second thoughts, I pushed myself to pursue the CMA Certification together with earning another degree in BSA and the CPA license.

Not all roads are smooth, every road has its speed bumps and potholes, and for this journey that I am about to take, there were a lot of obstacles. It was truly a road less traveled by just like in Robert Frost’s poem, because most students were hesitant to take it due to several reasons, but what was most common was the time and the fee that we all had to invest. Although I too was hesitant because I didn’t have the resources and had difficulty managing my time, what kept me going was the excitement of becoming a globally competent professional with the lessons that I will learn through this certification and the people that I will meet. I was blessed from the very start because I had a family who supported my plans, so all that was left was my devotion and perseverance to pass the examination and claim the title of a CMA and CPA.

The journey was tough from the very beginning: the time I had to juggle between my undergraduate subjects and the review, the new lessons and I had to learn and the old lessons that I had to revisit, and the voluminous number of topics that we needed to study by heart. But it wasn’t all that bad, there were also benefits that I enrolled in the CMA course while finishing my BSMA degree. All topics that I learned and discovered in the CMA review helped me in my undergraduate studies and played a major role in helping me pass most of my exams. I also had the advantage of keeping my mind in a state of continuous studying therefore my mind was focused, determined, and I was more diligent in studying for both my CMA review and college subjects. It was going well as my CMA exam was drawing near, but there was one more hurdle that I had to face before I took the exam.

After successfully passing all my subjects and was officially graduating as a BS Management Accounting degree holder, I took the time to pay attention to my health before taking the CMA Exam. I was still in elementary when I was diagnosed with a heart disease, and in my previous visits in the hospital I was doing well, but during the first quarter of 2017 I received news that I did not know would affect my plans. My doctor told me that my conditions had complications and has worsened, which was caused by continuous amount of stress and strenuous activities. I was distraught because my study schedule was affected, the medicines I took had adverse effects, and the news also had a psychological impact which demotivated me.  Due to my present condition at the time, it affected my study performance and my plan on taking the bridging program after my CMA Exam to pursue my goal of also becoming a CPA. To fully prepare myself for the CMA Exam, I had to move my testing window, but I also had to decide whether I let go of my plans to pursue a BSA degree as it could jeopardize not only the results of my exam but also my health. I thought about it thoroughly and even consulted different people to help me in my decision, until I finally made up my mind.

Amidst the challenges I faced at that time I chose to pursue my BSA degree at the same time I was about to take my CMA Exam. I told myself, from the very beginning I took this path I was aiming for excellence and competency, and what more could define that by accomplishing these tasks despite the challenges presented to me. With proper time management, determination, and perseverance, I graduated with a BS Management Accounting degree, passed both parts of CMA Exam last Sept./Oct. 2017 testing window, then graduated with a BS Accountancy degree, and lastly, I passed my CPA Licensure Exam last October 2018.

During all these events, I could say that the CMA course was the best decision I ever made.  I acquired skills and knowledge that gives me an edge as a professional, it opened doors to different opportunities, I was able to meet business professionals from other countries, I was introduced to well known individuals in the Accountancy profession, I got acquainted with the best mentors and leaders in the industry, and I am now a catalyst for Management Accounting, Accountancy, and Financial Management students and professionals in their pursuit to become word class experts in their chosen fields and in becoming future CMAs.

The road I took, as difficult as it was, was the best route I took to elevate my career. I wouldn’t have made it through without the help and support of my friends, family, and mentors, along with the guidance of God. The journey I took may not be one most people would take, but I am thankful I took the challenge and endured every trial I encountered. I journeyed on this path less traveled by with the hope that more and more would find their way here to pave the way for other aspiring professionals, and I am proud to say that I never regret choosing this path. As the poem goes: “I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.

About the Author: Melosino Melvin Roi Respicio III graduated from The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas with a degree of BS in Management Accounting of Batch 2017, and at Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Intramuros with a degree in BS in Accountancy of Batch 2018. He is now a Certified Management Accountant after successfully passing the exam last Sept./Oct. 2017 testing window. He took the CPALE last October and is now a Certified Public Accountant. He aspires to help his fellow accountants and also students taking up accountancy courses discover their full potentials and help them reach their goals in their pursuit of becoming successful accountants.

Worn out shoes; kindled soul

I will not say that I was born without a silver spoon. But rather, I would say that I was born into a life that has never been easy but, taught me the most wonderful things that I could ever imagine.

In the year 2012, I’ve started taking up my college degree in Mapua Institute of Technology-Makati Campus (now Mapua University) under the program of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. Although my parents did not have jobs during those times, I pursued my degree because I’ve always believed that education is one of the greatest equalizers that we could ever have in this world that is full of uncertainties. My parents’ pocket might have been empty, but their hearts were always full of hope that their children’s future will be brighter than theirs.

I had my P.E. classes on the first year of my program and to be able to move actively in our activities, I needed a pair of rubber shoes. But we didn’t have the financial capacity to buy one. Still, I thought, I was there in the University anyway to learn and not to wear a fancy pair of rubber shoes.

One Sunday before our classes officially started, my parents told me that we would be buying a pair of rubber shoes. As a teenager, I was very delighted and excited to finally own a new one without asking them how they have got the money to buy it.

It was during my second year in college that I came to know that my parents decided to sell my father’s medicines for his blood to his co-patients in the dialysis centre. He took off a week so that he could buy me a pair of rubber shoes. Since then, my eyes were opened. I had studied so hard because I wanted to give them the medals that they deserved once I’ve finished my degree. I’ve received awards and recognitions in our university, and I’m sure that it made my parents happy, especially my father. I’ve also discovered that the funds that was intended to be accumulated for his kidney transplant was used for my college fees.

I’ve made it! I’ve graduated with honours and proudly walked onto the stage, ready to receive the medals that I’ve worked hard for. But during that day, I’ve noticed that someone is missing and after receiving the medals, it has finally dawned on me that my father died a week before our graduation. Thankfully, I still managed to smile and be happy during that day because I wanted to show my mom and my sister that I am strong, and I am now ready to become a provider of our family, even though the pain was really excruciating.

I’ve kept the shoes for years. I’ve worn it during the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant examinations as it was a subtle reminder about how my parents loved us and how selfless they were. The shoes served as a symbol that there are people in my life who taught how to be strong and not just to live life for their own selves, but to make sacrifices for the people whom you love and who have supported you along your journey. It also helped me to change my ways and do the things that matters to me not out of obligation but, out of love and passion. Throughout these years, it has served as one of my motivations to continuously strive to become a better individual and to never stop pursuing the things that scare and excite me at the same time.

This experience taught me to climb the mountains outside of my comfort zone. It shaped me to become the person that I’ve always imagined. Instead of just going through this rocky road, I have learned how to grow through it. I have faced a lot of disappointments; a lot of failures; and a lot of shattered dreams. But I’ve learned not to be afraid and face all of them bravely as I consider them as an opportunity to build my character and create a strong foundation of my values. It also taught me to treat failures and triumphs equally and to never let my achievements and failure define me as a person. And the most profound thing that I’ve learned from climbing mountains is to never be afraid to go down from it and search for another mountain to climb again.

Tatay, I wish you could see us right now. The three of us promised that no matter how hard things will be, we will never give up in living the life that we have always imagined.

I might have failed to prolong your life, but I will never stop lengthening the name that you have given to me.


Your unico hijo,

Rence Paolo R. Pinoon, CPA, CMA (U.S.)

All For Family

As I write my CMA story, my little baby girl is sleeping in my arms. Being a mother and having a professional career is a bit tough but is so fulfilling.

My dream to have an international license started after becoming a CPA. I never got a chance to pursue it until I had spare time during my break from work because I have to take care of the little one growing inside my belly.

I inquired from a CMA friend about the steps on how to get the certification. She advised me to do self study but I thought it would be difficult to go through this by myself. So I searched the net and found Insights Financial Review Services. I was worried about the fees but the school provided negotiable terms.

I decided to schedule the exam in May/June 2016 testing window. I thought that will be the best time because my baby was due on last week of December 2015. Everything was going smoothly until one day, few weeks before giving birth I woke up with half of my face paralyzed. I was diagnosed with bell’s palsy.

Bell’s palsy is a facial paralysis on one side of the face. Its cause is not clear but pregnant women are three times more prone to this illness. Some say it is due to a virus, others say it is due to exposure to cold wind or aircon or the cause can be idiopathic or unknown. In my case, my right side was affected. It felt like I was punched in the face. My right eye could not blink, there were no tears and it could not close on its own. I had to use eye drops to keep it moist and I had to tape it at night to keep it shut. My right side of the lips has no movement. I cannot frown or smile. Eating, drinking and speaking become a challenge. I stopped my CMA review for a while.

Giving birth to a baby distracted me from my bell’s palsy. I am so happy and thankful that my baby girl is healthy. However, it is difficult to take care of the baby and study at the same time. Having a newborn and a facial paralysis, I had second thoughts whether to continue my CMA review. But I said to myself, no matter what the result will be I have to finish what I started.

With the little time left before the exam I went back to Insights. I have to recall the previous topics and catch up with the lessons. I wanted to take only one part during the exam period. However, I was already registered and if I will not take the other part it will be considered failed. So I have no choice but to face the battle.

I have a lot of worries before the exam. I was worried that my eyes will get dry, I was worried I have to pee during the exam which will consume a lot of time, I was worried that if I fail I have to start over again. I studied hard and prayed harder to pass the exam so I can save time, money and effort.

I took part 1 and 2 exams with two weeks gap on June 2016. Waiting for the result was a bit of agony and it took more than a month. I was about to sleep that time when I heard a sound from my phone. When I checked my phone, it was an email from IMA. The result for one exam part came in and it was a thrilling moment. After few minutes, another email came in and it was for the other exam part. I was fortunate to pass both parts of the exam.

Having the CMA title has been an advantage in my search for a new job. I am hopeful I can use this professional certificate to advance in my career and to give my baby a brighter future.

I will be forever grateful to my ever supportive husband, family, friends and the review school.


About the Author: Agnes A. Simbre, CPA, CMA is a BS Accountancy graduate from Polytechnic University of the Philippines and is currently working as a Financial Planning Analyst in a BPO industry.


A 360-degree Turn

Having the chance to finish my studies is already a blessing, but fulfilling things beyond that is indeed amazing.

Being a student is tough. Every student has his/her own academic struggles, but life did not only created those kind of struggles. Being in the Management Accounting program of UST was one of the greatest things that happened to me. I have learned to love the program during my stay in the college.

I have it all planned before the start of my senior year – pass the subjects, take the CMA, serve my term as an officer of my organization and graduate on time. I was as enthusiastic as I can be but then you realize life was not made for us to only enjoy the great things, because we must also bear the worst ones. It was during my senior year when my father was laid off for months from work due to unforeseen circumstances. One of the greatest things about my parents is that they are open to us, especially being transparent on our finances. It was a hard time for my family because we do not also have a lot but we only have enough.

Last November 2016, I was also informed by my parents that I may have to forget my dreams of taking the CMA at that time because obviously, even though there is a more convenient mode of payment offered, we cannot afford the costs given our situation. Heartbroken, I learned to forget that dream because I have greater things to worry about – I have to graduate on time and serve my term as an officer of my org, but I also have to make ends meet for my expenses as a student and help my family so I decided to find a part time job. Luckily, I got a job from the help of my friends in a small accounting firm located in Quezon City as a Junior Associate. Also, may I mention that I commute from UST to Angono, Rizal everyday during my stay in college. Every week, I try to juggle my part-time, my org activities and my acads. Considering all of these factors could lead to bad things, I still pushed because I just need to. I wanted to. I have to.

I hid my part time job from my parents at first. Of course, I understand that parents would not want their children to deal with this kind of things knowing that we also need to prioritize our studies and I know that they will also worry about my health given that my commute time from Angono to UST and vice versa was 2 hours at the minimum. I was able to keep it from them for at least 2 months and when I was at my first semester. And before the second semester began, I confessed it to them. Hesitant and surprised, my parents allowed me to continue, but the pressure to manage all of the things I need to balance was real – commuting, org works, feasibility study, my part-time job and of course, my acads in general. I have felt lost and tired but then I realized I am still lucky for having supportive friends, workmates and orgmates and an encouraging family. I did my best to fill myself with hope – that one day, I will know why fate directed me to this path.

As soon as I graduated last June 2017, I started to find a job a week after. But life did not made it easy again because I got rejected many times. As close as I was to give up, a job opportunity came. Then again, a conflict arise when I was supposed to take the CMA exam on September and October for each part. I could not let go of the opportunity because I felt the urgency to help my family’s finances so I took a gamble on taking the exam for both parts on September 22 & 29 and tried to manage my time in the best way I know. Scared, frustrated, frightened and I began again to question everything – but I was really determined to fight because I know that I am greater than my fears.

Now, here I am smiling to my ears, lost and astounded by the fact that I passed the CMA. It was the same week last year that I found out I would not be able to take the exam but same week a year after, the universe has affirmed that I am now a CMA passer – a 360-degree turn indeed!

The greatest thing about my CMA journey was the people I have been with – those people who never lost faith in my potential and whose encouragements served as music to my ears during my trying times. And of course, to the people who believed and trusted me with this opportunity.

As I am a person who likes to plan everything ahead in my life, I learned that life has also its way of making plans for me. Your time may not be His time, but He will never fail you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rochelle B. Orpilla is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting Batch 2017 from the University of Santo Tomas and a former president of her course’s mother organization, the Society of Business Managerial Accountants (SBMA). She passed the CMA Examination for both parts in November 2017. She is currently working as an associate in one of the top accounting firms recognized internationally.

My Success Factors: Will, Determination and Faith

2016 was the year I passed CMA exams. Contented and grateful yet I wanted more so I decided to grab the opportunity of bridging a 1 year jammed pack semesters at Chiang Kai Shek College to obtain BS Accountancy. The degree needed for taking a CPA board exam. CKSC life was far from similar with my Thomasian College life. Start my class at 7 ends around 2 in the afternoon. Lecture pacing that works so fast and efficient. Never thought that this setup will become a habit for my review schooling.

5 years of nurturing. 4 months review for that 3 letters, CPA.

Tough, nerve-wracking, emotion swirling and more word to describe what i felt for taking CPA board but in the end all efforts do pay off. Life was no easy and my CPA journey is not far from different. Start my day with coffee and bread, ride jeepneys to attend lectures and in the afternoon till evening I’d review. No phone, no hobbies, no movies, a lot of skip meals, I have sacrificed even more but one thing that i will not forgot is to give thanks and ask Guidance and Blessings from God. This was my setup most of the time it is followed because I also give way for my brain and body to rest and have cheat days as reward for a week of progressive learning. At this point in time realization struck me. My old study habits wont do me good, cramming will always be a fiend. Good preparation and proper comprehension are good best friends.

Quizzes, Preboards and review notes are my brothers. Quizzes that assessed my prowess on a topic. Preboards that tested my retention capabilities and review notes that kept my knowledge refreshed. Quite easy if you read but i struggled and failed most of them. First preboards my grades were good. Being complacent my routine laxed then i was spelled to fall to chickenpox, weeks of absences I incurred. I was left behind. My will dwindled yet my guts kept my feet stand its ground. Final preboard was no mercy. Killer, drive-deserter some adjectives that can describe those final exam. But if you want to succeed single failure won’t stop you.

October came. 3rd of it was my birthday and I promised myself that this would be my very best gift to myself not until i took the exam for RFBT which destroyed my composure and rattled my focused for the last subject MAS. I was of no hope of passing the boards. Prayers are may last hope. God’s grace and will strengthened my faith. November came, results were out and I passed the Board with God’s might. Thus it made me believe in the saying. “Manalangin ka at manalig”.

Always remember what Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Thus, stumbling is not a hindrance but a stimuli to exceed more.


About the Author: Jake Ron Mingming is a double-degree holder of BS Management Accounting, graduated at University of Santo Tomas, and BS Accountancy, graduated at Chiang Kai Shek College. A Certified Management Accountant and Certified Public Accountant.

Fear Not!

I was but a mere student in the BSMA program, a degree in which some people see as substantially inferior compared to the BSA degree. And, by “some people”, I meant parents disappointed at their children; third parties who see you as someone who failed; and fellow BSMA students ashamed of themselves.

Having to carry these negativities was a burden most of us in the program had in common. Some ended up accepting the fact while some still chase the BSA dream of passing the CPA licensure exam.

Then one day, it came, a pass-now-pay-later scheme offered by Insights Financial Review. Having stumbled upon this opportunity was uplifting. We were already aware of the CMA certification exam before, but most did not have much enthusiasm about taking it at first. Majority were not prepared to gamble huge amount of money to take a test they don’t even know they’ll pass so the idea was easily dismissed. However, this offer eliminated that risk, gave us a push, and so, the CMA title was in our sights. This was actually something exciting because, having ourselves compared to the BSAs was something unavoidable. But with this opportunity to attain the CMA title, a certification that is almost perfectly aligned with our course of study, we can have something we can call our own, something we can be proud of. Sure, other degrees related to it can also take the exam without going through extra trouble, but nonetheless, it was ours.

After having pursued such title and having graduated, I was one of those who still refused to let go of my first goal. I started with a BSA degree; I was stripped off it and got a BSMA degree in its place. I wanted to finish what I started, to give myself a second chance. Still, there were some hesitations. I was asking myself what-ifs: What if I disappoint myself? What if I end up wasting my time? What if I fail again? Because if I did fail, I don’t think I can handle much of it. You see, failure can scar you and it will hurt you. You can always find people saying things like “Failure is a step closer to success”, “You need to fail to win”, and etc., but the people who say these things are people who have already tasted success. We see them as special and we doubt ourselves saying “What if we’re not special? What if the sayings only work for some people and we’re not one of them?” Not all people succeed, we are sure of at least that much. That’s why we are very much afraid of failing.

But you know what I did? I asked the same questions again but differently: How would I know if I will get disappointed? How would I know if it’s a waste of time? How would I know if this time, I’m going to fail again? Because fact of the matter is, whether we succeed or fail, I don’t know that, we all don’t know that. And I concluded that I would rather bear the pain of having failed than bear the pain of not having tried. Wounds can heal but regrets are like ghosts that haunt you forever. Yes, it’s scary but sometimes, we can only prove ourselves by choosing to be brave. And dreams won’t fulfill themselves while we keep ourselves locked up by our own doubts.

I continued my CPA journey despite not having people’s full approval. And I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the most difficult times I’ve gone through. I was downright exhausted. It felt so easy to give it all up and the temptation to rest myself was strong. I felt like time was making fun of it, chasing me. I complained about a lot of little things: about why I punish myself with lack of sleep, about why the library isn’t open until 12mn, about not having enough sugar to keep me up. The traffic wasn’t helpful either. I was tired, and everything was frustrating.

And yet, everything was worth it.

You see, we can never really choose what results will be thrown at us. There will always be fears and doubts, and these will always try to hold you back.

Know that your dreams are worth so much more than your fears.


About the Author: Raiza C. Añonuevo, was born in the province of Ilocos Sur and grew up in Quezon City. She was a consistent honor roll student in Elementary and High School, gained her degree of Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting at University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at Chiang Kai Shek College (CKSC). She passed the two-part CMA exam in 2016 having earned the highest score in both parts within the UST-BSMA batch for that year. She was also given an Academic Excellence Award in UST in 2016 and was part of the Dean’s List in CKSC in 2017. She passed the CPA licensure exam in October, 2017.

With Your Mind and Will, You CAN!

I was enrolled in the bridging program of Chiang Kai Shek College when I passed the 2-Part CMA examination. It was in August 2016, and our professor merrily congratulated us for a job well done and achieving what others can only dream of:  An international certification. We were very ecstatic at that time because we finally reaped the fruits of our hardships and sacrifices in the past year.

Little did we know that it was only a start of a more dreadful and arduous journey to the coveted CPA title.

It was also during that semester that we had to juggle internship and the demands of our Integrated Accounting subjects (IAC). The semester was full of tears, sweat, sleepless nights, and the constant reprimands of our professor to take her subject very seriously. I was constantly complaining of how tough to balance studying for the exams and the 200-hour internship. Some subjects were sacrificed for us to make time to study for our board exam subjects. I was doing everything possible, but for some reason, it was not enough. I failed to realize that if this was the beginning, how can I even fathom to make it through until the end?  I turned to God and asked for forgiveness for all the precious time I wasted; sought guidance to help us all pass the semester; and acceptance for anything that awaits us in the end.

With God’s grace, I passed the bridging course and graduated on May 2017.

Come June 2017, I made a promise that there will be no more wasted time and energy and I would devote myself to pass the coming CPA board exam. I enrolled in a review center and took review classes from June to September. The classes were not particularly tough, sans Taxation and Regulatory Framework for Business Transactions.

I passed both the first and the final preboard and was confident that I can also pass the actual board exam. However, as the board exam looms, anxiety and uneasiness crept in. I lost confidence, occasionally threw up, and studied the wrong materials. As what T.E. Lawrence said, “To me, an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only a waste but a sin”. I made a mistake of losing my composure and not sticking to the study plan I made, and wasted time again instead of studying for the subjects I am weak at.

The day before the board exam, I cried and prayed silently to God to ask for forgiveness again for all the intangible resources I wasted; and acceptance for whatever the results may be.

The actual board exams were very tough and challenging, especially the two dreaded subjects of Taxation and Regulatory Framework for Business Transactions. A simple mistake, in aggregate, could potentially cost you the CPA license.

After the board exams, I prayed hard again, but felt sorry because I was very greedy of what I was wishing for – all of my batchmates to pass the board. This time was the most difficult time of my life yet because of the sheer anxiety and nervousness it dealt not only me, but all of us.

November 3, the results came out. And with the congratulatory posts. Posts of victory and triumph over the most difficult exam of our life. It was very surreal, almost dreamlike. It was the culmination of our 5-year long journey, and at last, the CPA title is within our grasp.

As Sir Francis Drake once said, “There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.”

For all the aspiring CPA candidates, I only have this to say, as what Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.


About the Author: Harvey Christian B. Sumagaysay is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a CMA passer. He graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a degree of Management Accounting, and finished the bridging program in Chiang Kai Shek College with a degree of Accountancy. He is currently working as an audit associate in one of the top auditing firms in the Philippines.

What Doesn’t Challenge You Won’t Change You

I always believe in the saying that “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” (Fred Devito).  It was a year ago when I decided to take another step in my career and pursue further studies.  I wanted to take an international certification, which will also be helpful in my current job and which will not take so much of my time and budget such as MBA or Law School.  So, while I was browsing through the internet, I came across the U.S. Certified Management Accountant, which is a globally recognized certification in over more than 180 countries.  Good thing, there was a local review center here, Insights Financial Review Services (Insights), which offers weekend review classes for professionals like me.  I was able to talk to Sir Angel Secerio, who is the managing director of Insights and he was able to convince me to enroll for the program.  Sir Angel was very supportive, approachable and accommodating all throughout my review, and for that I am very thankful.  I was also lucky enough to attend the Saturday classes of Dean Kenji Asano, Jr., who I believe is the best CMA instructor at Insights.

It was not an easy journey for me.  It was challenging to be a “working student”.  With my line of work as a Financial Reporting Manager, I often go home late and continuously render overtime.  Each study hour I devoted to reading the textbook and practicing to answer problems was a challenge. Regardless of the time I arrived home, I still made sure that I read or reviewed every night before I sleep.  There were even times I go home past midnight on Fridays and have to wake up early on Saturdays just to attend the review classes.  I was determined enough not to miss any review class since I know there would be lessons I could only acquire in class, and could not learn while reading only the review materials.  I don’t know why, but I was always excited in attending the review classes. I guess it always gives me a sense of fulfillment that I am able to learn something new every week, which is additional knowledge from what I usually do at work.  Most of my weekends were spent not on dates or vacation, but on studying, reading and reviewing.  I even remember going on a movie date but I brought a review material with me so I can read while we were driving to the mall.  Pathetic as it may be, but I just want to make every minute productive.  I guess it was effective because I was able to be the top performer in one of our comprehensive exams.  For an outgoing and extrovert person like me, it was hard to spend most of my time studying in my room instead of going out.  Good thing, I am blessed enough to have a strong support system – my family, my boyfriend, my boss and my friends. They were all supportive and they never doubted that I can become a CMA, which gave me confidence and will power.  Being a CMA takes a lot of prayers and sacrifices but I believe it all boils down to one’s determination, perseverance and time management.  It was tiring – yes; but it was very fulfilling.

Going back to my CMA journey, I was very challenged but it really did change me to become a better version of myself. For all those who are currently reviewing or are still planning to take the CMA exam, please use every challenge as an opportunity to stretch yourself and become better.  Bear in mind that everything is part of the journey. Every high and low, good and bad, moment of bliss and utter confusion. Don’t forget that there are going to be rough patches on the road to success, that there will be downs to each of the ups.  When you feel like giving up, always go back to the moment when you decided that you wanted this.  Tell yourself that failing is not an option and there is no other destination but to become a CMA.


About the Author: Joan Joyce U. Garcia, CPA, CMA is a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy graduate of De La Salle University Manila with more than 8 years of experience in the accounting field. She passed the CPA licensure exam last May 2009, and the CMA certification last August 2017. Her first job was as an Auditor at SGV & Co. She is currently employed as a Financial Reporting Manager at MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., the media arm of the MVP group.