The Association of Certified Public Accountants in Commerce and Industry (ACPACI) and the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), in partnership with P&A Foundation, Inc., held the Grand Finals of the 15th Search for Outstanding Accounting Students of the Philippines (Search) at the Grand Ballroom, Century Park Hotel last December 9, 2013. The Search is an annual national competition which aims to help hone the skills of Accountancy students to assist them in their chosen career paths.

Out of the 25 finalists who competed in the Quiz Bowl, three students stood out and contended for the top title. Joan Mae Lugtu of Holy Angel University was hailed Champion. Monique Bea Kho and Thomas Zachary Sarigumba, both from the University of San Carlos, placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. Each of the top three finalists received a plaque and cash rewards of P50,000, P30,000, and P20,000. The top 25 finalists also received plaques and a cash reward of P5,000 each. Award recipients from the Qualifying Examination were also recognized during the Grand Finals. Mark Z. Ibayan, from De La Salle University-Lipa, was acknowledged for garnering a perfect score in Management Accounting; and Ray Hamodi B. Ngalot, from University of San Carlos, was awarded for acquiring the Highest Over-all Score during the Qualifying Examination. Both winners received a cash reward of P10,000.

The Grand Finals also served as a gathering for noted personalities in the Accounting industry. The Board of Judges - Leonardo D. Cuaresma, Jr., Punongbayan & Araullo’s (P&A) Managing Partner & COO; Consuelo O. Cadeliña, 2013 ACPACI National President; and Samuel F. Villacampa, PICPA Committee Chair; Violeta J. Josef, 2013 PICPA National President; Jose M. Ireneo, 2013 PICPA Executive Director; Wilhelmina Cuico, 2013 ACPACI Executive Director; Feliciana B. Santos, 2014 ACPACI President-elect; Paz V. Malubay, 2011 PICPA National President and P&A Grant Thornton Partner; Edward D. Roguel, P&A’s Tax Advisory & Compliance Partner; and Hum Mikyll Narvios, 2nd place-2012 Search for Outstanding Accounting Students of the Philippines, took part and joined in the success of the Search Grand Finals. Also present during the event were the coaches and accounting professors who gave their moral support to their participants.

The top 25 finalists who competed in the Quiz Bowl were Mark Sheldon Albao and Kathleen Rose Pazo, from Mindanao State University; Louis Paulo Batac, from the De La Salle University-Dasmariñas; Renz Kristoffer Cheng, Mark Andrew Chiu, Troy James Palanca, Kim Taruc, and Marie Kathleen Uy, from the De La Salle University-Manila; Daphnee Plan Dolteo, from the University of Baguio; Jamaica Englis, Dece Christine Fulache, Arianna Gajudo, Monique Bea Kho, Ray Hamodi Ngalot, and Thomas Zachary Sarigumba from the University of San Carlos; Jenette Vivian Icalla, from Divine Word College of Calapan; John Louie Jumamoy, from Central Mindanao University; Mary Ruth Lachica, from Saint Louis University; Mebielyn Lloren, from the University of the Cordilleras; Joan Mae Lugtu and Kenneth Pangilinan, from Holy Angel University; Angeli Maningas, from Central Luzon State University; Philip John Martin, from the University of Saint Louis-Tuguegarao; Kim Rommel Panaguiton, from the University of the Philippines-Visayas; and Leo Niño Punzalan, from Araullo University-PHINMA.

There were 294 students competed in the Qualifying Examination, which was held simultaneously at twelve (12) testing centers nationwide on November 16, 2013. The Accounting students who participated came from 61 universities and colleges from NCR, CAR, Region I, II, III, IVA, IVB, V, VI, VII, X, XI, and XII. The whole-day examination covered nine (9) subject areas: Business Law, Current Issues/Economics Essay, Finance, Financial Accounting, Information Technology, Management, Managerial Accounting, Marketing, and Taxation.

The Grand Finals culminates this year’s Search, where the finalists answered a 40-item quiz composed of a variety of questions in Business Law, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Taxation. The top three finalists who bested the others in the Quiz Bowl moved on to the final round–the Question and Answer—where the Board of Judges asked individual questions to the top three finalists. From this, one emerged as the Outstanding Accounting Student of the Philippines. The Search served as a venue for determining the top Accountancy students and opening doors of opportunities for the students, such as being hired by distinguished Accounting Firms.