‘Heartwearming’: Pinoys toast senior 2023 Bar passer Rosula Calacala

December 5, 2023 - 5:46 PM
Rosula Calacala
Rosula Calacala couldn't contain her happiness after passing the 2023 Bar examinations on her first take in this photo taken on Dec. 5, 2023 (The STAR/Ernie Penaredondo)

Bar 2019 topnotcher Kenneth Manuel, physician Tony Leachon and other Filipinos cheered 62-year-old Rosula Calacala who was among the oldest passers of the 2023 Bar exams.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, December 5 released the results of the law graduates who took the Bar last September.

The high court said that 3,812 takers successfully passed the exams, which was lower than 3,992 passers in 2022 when 9,183 law hopefuls took the Bar.

This year’s passing rate was 36.77%, lower than 2022’s passing rate of 43.47%.

READ: FULL LIST: 2023 Bar exams passers

Ephraim Porciuncula Bie, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, topped this year’s Bar with a rating of 89.26%.

He took the exam with Calacala, who was among the oldest takers from Northeastern College in Isabela.

Reports said Calacala entered law school at 58 years old and passed on her first take.

Her two children, who are Certified Public Accountants, financed her law education.

Calacala is a local government unit employee from Jones, Isabela who plans to help her fellow Filipinos in their community.

She said that while she has “lapses” due to her old age, she is proud to have “made it” in the Bar.

“If I can make it, why not others? It’s just putting [your] heart 100% into it,” the newly minted lawyer said to Sandra Aguinaldo of GMA Network.

Calacala’s feat was celebrated by several Filipinos who cheered the elderly on social media.

“Nobody is old to chase your life’s goals or your dreams. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams, and don’t you dare let anyone tell you that it is,” former Department of Health special adviser Tony Leachon wrote.

“Your age doesn’t define you or determine what you are capable of achieving. Congratulations and best wishes,” he added.

“HAAAYYYY, I LOVE THESE STORIES (face-holding-back-tears emoji) Congratulations po, Atty. Rosuta Calacala!” Bar 2019 topnotcher Kenneth Manuel commented with a heart emoji.

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“Naiyak ako. I live for stories like this. A reminder to hold onto your dreams. Hold them tightly,” another social media user commented.

“Ang heartwarming naman ng ganitong pledge! Congrats po, Atty [Attorney]!” a different Pinoy reacted.

“Waaaaaaahhhhhh, poweeerrrrr,” wrote another user.

Another user, a Certified Public Accountant, claimed that Calacala is their “former dean.”

“Just when I thought I am too old for entering law school, Ma’am Rose (cause she’s our former dean at accty) proved it wrong. Walang pinipiling edad ang pangarap,” the user wrote.

Last year, a nursing student shared that her father passed the Bar after two decades and six attempts.

ALSO READ: ’20 years in the making’: Daughter shares journey of dad who passed Bar

The Bar is the qualifying licensure examination by the high court which tests aspiring lawyers’ knowledge of fundamental legal principles and basic skills required of an entry-level lawyer in the country.

It is the only qualifying licensure exam among skilled professionals that the Professional Regulation Commission does not conduct.