I’d like to present to you, readers of Bariles Republic’s GenSan News Online Mag, our Guest Writer for today, a fellow general who is now based in Manila,  Jonathan “Toyski” Susvilla.  Here goes…

A little more than two hours before midnight, my shift was about to start and I was reading through some  email when a text message broke the news about a “general“, a friend, making it to the TOP 10 list of the 2008 Physicians Licensure Exam.

This came not as a surprise to me anymore and to everyone who knows him back in college when he was touted as the “Renaissance Man“.

In this age of consumerism where malling is the favorite pastime, being an artista is “the ultimate dream”, of every youth and our heritage is still being haunted by smallness, it is refreshing and inspiring to know people “living” from the center and excelling yet still meek – people our youth should revere.  People like Lemuel Benedict R. Non.

Lemuel Benedict who took up BS Biology at Mindanao State University – Gen. Santos is that university’s first and only SUMMA CUM LAUDE.  It was his father’s dream for him from the very beginning to take up Medicine after college.  Inspired by theis profession because he grew up with three brothers who all became dectors, his father wanted him to continue this tradition.  He even arranged and prepared all the necessary documents for him to get into a good school.

His only job was to take the National Medical Admission test, where he got 99% assuring him a highly coveted slot at the UP, becoming one of the only 10 non-UP students to have become part of the 160+ members of the Class of 2008.

He graduated in the Top 9 of his class and during the preparations for the board exams, everyone was bugging him and his group to get into the Top 10.  He took the pressure half-jokingly, and insisted that he shall only study out of necessity and that the most important objective of the two months of self-reviewing all 12 subjects was to learn as much as he could to further hone his competency.  This way, every patient of his, every Filipino who shall consult him for some ailment shall benefit from all these knowledge.

The possibility of being one of the topnotchers is just the icing on the cake.

So he went through the process of studying at his own pace.  Finally, in August, he took the exams with confidence, knowing his family and friends were supporting him and praying for him.

Then came the hardest part – waiting.  The day before the results were out, someone broke into his room and stole his cellphone, laptop and wallet while he was alseep.  He was left with barely any money and no way of communication with his family and friends.

Thankfully, his family responded with clockwork precission and acquired him a new cheap phone just a few hours before the results.  And through the mighty Internet, he was able to broadcast with his new number rapidly.  Minutes after the results came out, his new phone was flooded with messages of congratulations.  Yes, he was among the TOP 10!  He was the 8th placer.

The new doctor was exuberant.

“The feeling of jumping up from a tragedy like what I experienced to the news that I was a topnotcher was so overwhelming,” he recounted.

When asked on what he would want to say to the younger generation, the now-famous “general” has this to say, “I guess the most effective advice I can give is to first love what you’re doing.  You should not go through school just because it is required or because you have to, but it should be because you wanted to.  Never go through something without enough passion to pursue it.  Learning will go smoothly from thereon.  And of course, put God first above all.”


Doctor of Medicine, University of the Philippines, College of Medicine, Class of 2008

  • Top 8, Philippine Licensure Examination for Physicians, 2008
  • One of the Top 10 Graduates in Academics, UP College of Medicine
  • One of the Top 10 Interns of Philippine General Hospital
  • Most Outstanding Intern in Internal Medicine
  • Outstanding Intern in Surgery
  • 3rd place, Interns’ Research Forum for paper on “Value of Pathological Examination of Clinically-indicated Placentas:  PGH Experience, in 2004
  • College Scholar, 2006-2007

BS Biology, Mindanao State University, Gen. Santos City, 2003

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Philippine representative (Bayer) to the Eco-Innovate Forum in Sydney, Australia, 2003
  • Winner, Best Poster presentation of Undergraduate Thesis in the Philippine Society for Microbiology Annual Conference
  • National Finalist, Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, 2003
  • National Finalist, Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines, 2003
  • Manny Villar Excellence Award
  • Top Student, Ten Oustanding Students of Region 12
  • Gen. Santos City Youth Achiever Awardee, 2003.


Father: lfredo P. Non, a mechanical engineer, graduate of UST, who back then topped (Top 5) their boards.  Presently, he’s in Canada.

Mother: Vissia Agnes R. Non, a commerce graduate, and presently a homemaker.

His three other siblings:  April Kathleen, Lynn Abegail, and Lance Alread.

WRITTEN BY:  Jonathan “Toyski” Susvilla