MANILA - When bar passer Khristine Jane Ejercito caught a glimpse of her elder sister entering the Supreme Court compound Thursday, she immediately rushed towards her and gave her a long, tight hug.
"Hinintay ko talaga siya. Ayaw kong umalis hangga't di sya dumarating kasi gusto namin magpa-picture doon sa pangalan sa screen," Ejercito, still shedding tears of joy, said pointing to the screen where the names of bar passers were being shown.
(I waited for her. I did not want to leave because we wanted to take a picture together with my name on the screen.)
The road was not easy for Ejercito as she had to work as a researcher at the Senate to finance her studies at the San Beda law school. It took her 6 years to finish the course as she balanced work and school.
What pushed her on despite the setbacks was her dream of bringing her whole family to the signing of the roll of attorneys. She said she wanted to pass the bar on her first take as she wanted her grandparents, now old and sickly, to see her achieve her dreams.
"Six years ako bago natapos ng law school. Ilang years akong na-delay dahil working student. Tapos alam mo 'yung pakiramdam ngayon na kasi ang tagal mo 'tong pinaghirapan," said Ejercito, whose 2015 Facebook post about her "delayed" graduation went viral.
(I took me 6 years to finish law school. I was delayed for several years because I was a working student. You know that feeling now that the long hardship is over.)
On Wednesday, all those years of anticipation came down to just a few but intense hours of waiting for the bar exam results. The anxiety was real, she recalled, as she had to drink her nervous self to sleep at 3:00 a.m Thursday.
After a few hours of shallow sleep, Ejercito went straight to the St. Jude Church in Manila before proceeding to the Supreme Court compound around noon.
There, she learned that she was among the 25 percent of takers who passed the 2017 bar exam.
"Papunta kami dito, 'yung isang staff namin sa Senate nag-congrats sa'kin sa Viber. Kaya doon pa lang umiiyak na ako. Pero I had to validate kasi iba 'pag 'yung andito na," she said as her proud ate, still in tears of joy, continued to hug her tight.
(On the way here, a fellow staffer at the Senate congratulated me on Viber. I was already crying then but I still had to validate. It's different when you personally see it here.)
Ejercito hopes to pursue her law practice in government.
But first, she said, she has to make up to her family for all the lost time during that grueling period of review for the bar exams.