After Going Viral for Ranking 2nd in LET, Fisherman’s Daughter Shares Update on New House

Several years ago, the photo of a humble nipa hut proudly displaying a ‘Top 2’ tarpaulin went viral. It became a beautiful testament to how a poor fisherman’s daughter overcame many challenges to rank Top 2 in the September 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET)!

Iah Seraspi LET Top Notcher Old House

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

Iah Bantang Seraspi from Romblon State University got an average score of 90%. But the mere fact that she ranked Top 2 was considered a great achievement, with netizens expressing amazement when they learned she’s the daughter of a poor fisherman who could barely make ends meet.

I came from a poor family. I am not telling you this to humiliate my family nor to get your sympathy. I just want you to realize how blessed you are if you were able to live a life better than mine. Since I started schooling, feeling ko mayaman na kami kapag nakapag-ulam akong noodles sa agahan kasi usually ang ulam ko ay chichiria, kape, asin, asukal o kahit ano basta lang may lasa ang aming kanin. Imagine the nutrition I get from those foods yet I am an achiever in school. Di naman nila makikita ang laman ng tiyan ko but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains,” Seraspi explained.

Her story went viral, with many people expressing support and admiration over how she was able to overcome the difficulties in her life. She did not let poverty hinder her from achieving her dreams.

I secretly wrote in my notebook these words: Goal: To top the BLEPT; Deadline: September 27, 2015. This is to remind me every day that I have a goal to meet and to avoid procrastinating,” Seraspi revealed to a local news outlet.

Many years have passed since she went viral – how is she now?

Recently, as she celebrated her 25th birthday, Seraspi shared an update to her viral story. After passing the LET and becoming an inspiration to many, she accepted a job offer from the review center that she also credits for helping her excel in the board exams, Carl E. Balita Review Center (CBRC).

Iah Seraspi LET Top Notcher New House

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

It all started with a dream. As of the moment, I still can’t believe na nasa harapan ko na ngayon yung matinong bahay na pinangarap namin ng ilang taon. This was the exact location of our old house which went viral and changed our lives 180 degrees,” Seraspi shared.

This blessing in front of me reminds me of God’s promise when I was still dreaming: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

And while many people expected to find a job as a public school teacher, Seraspi chose to work with CBRC. The job gave her better pay, exciting opportunities to travel across the Philippines and even outside the country, and lots of perks she certainly couldn’t receive if she worked as teacher at a regular school. It did come with its own challenges, too, but this inspiring young woman feels no regrets at all.

Iah Seraspi LET Top Notcher New House

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

She wrote on Facebook:

Topping the board examination opened so much doors for me. But I chose to open one door which led me to my dreams. Choosing to stay and work in CBRC may sound selfish for some but I have no regrets: I chose to be practical, I chose to dream bigger, I chose to achieve greater heights. After all, it’s not only my dream at stake. It’s my family’s dream too. My work in CBRC demanded a part of my life which I willingly gave. Life here has been so good to me but it was never and will never be easy. I may have enjoyed the luxuries of life but I have a little luxury of time to cherish those moments because I chose not to rest even if we were given the privilege to rest. We were given prerogatives to choose our schedule but I chose to work as long as my body can. For my entire three years in CBRC, I’ve been choosing the hard choices because I’m a strong believer that everything will be worth it in the end.

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

Seeing this home in front of me reminded me of all the hardships I’ve been through. Walang kapagurang byahe, walang maayos at kumpletong tulog, walang boses at masakit na lalamunan, walang kasiguraduhan kung makakarating ng ligtas sa pupuntahan, walang kasalo kumain at walang kasama matulog, walang oras para magbreakdown kapag nalulungkot at madami pang hirap na di ko na rin maalala kasi pinalampas ko na lang dahil ginusto ko to. Pinili ko to. Nothing feels more fulfilling than the thought that while I am helping others to achieve their dreams, I am also achieving my personal dreams.

Photo credits: Facebook / Iah Seraspi

As she celebrates her 25th birthday, Seraspi shared the photos of their new home that was built at the very site of that nipa hut that went viral so many years ago… Congratulations, Ma’am!


  1. what i read is so inspiring, this coming Sept. 29, 2019 i will take also LET so I pray to our God Almighty to please guide me since i am in self -review only, like the lessons to what i read I pray a lot and on the other side read, read and understand… answer is coming on my way. Thank you for this news since i am a mother of two (2) kids who are still young since i served my family also and later dreamed to have my own family as well.

  2. This doesn’t make sense to me. From the looks of the house, the cost of constructing this house is around P1.2M at the very least, provincial rate. She started teaching maybe in 2016 in CBRC. With that, she must be earning at least 80K gross starting salary in order to save up to 50K monthly for 3 years, in order to meet the amount of 1.2M. Why I said 80K? If you deduct the 25% income tax, you’ll get a take home pay of 60K. So you have 10K to squeeze for you and your family in a month and save the remaining 50k for the house. No company that I know of can give you that starting salary even if you are a graduate of prestigious school like UP, Ateneo, LaSalle, Mapua etc. In a big call center, you can only get around 20k-25K starting salary. Even you are a very, very good employee, you can only have up to 50K in 2-3 years. So how was she able to put up 1.2M in a span of just 3 years?

    • She just only proud of herself….. the efforts she exerted while working. no matter how much she spent the certain shelter. there’s no body can estimate how much she spent coz we are not the one who made the design, the plan, even the engineer can not guess the amount the whole structure coz we don’t know the area? the materials.. in every province have their own salary standard…. if she spent how much we don’t know… at least she achieved her goals…..

  3. Hello Ma’am .. Just want to say you inspire many people by your humble beginnings. Maybe there are few who will be critical to you bacause of your great achievement but be strong. My prayer that God will give you godly partner who will be very supportive.

    God bless

  4. It doesn’t make sense to an ordinary close minded person but knowing that she went viral and she has a benefactor it’s normal to have a very good house. Using a little bit of imagination, I’ll break down the possible sources of funds.

    1. School
    2. Politicians
    3. Teaching Job
    4. Sideline teaching jobs
    5. Online teaching jobs
    6. Loans
    7. Grants from private individuals

    Etc. Etc.

  5. She also recieved bonus , perks and ect…, not just her salary. 1.2M now a days is no longer impossible its achievable got it. Beside it took her 3 beautiful years to complete her dream house, she achieve her goal

  6. i think that house could be built for less. actually, if you check the angle of the stairs, it seems quite steep so that could mean one thing- smaller take-off footprint. meaning the floor area could be really smaller than what it looks. and judging by the number of frames behind her, i could estimate the with of the room to be approximately 10 feet. so an estimate of a 1.2M house would be an over estimate. plus cost of labor in the barrios isn’t near the cost of labor in the big city with friends and relatives pitching in to help.
    and for all you know, this is a lifelong project as you can see in the photographs, some parts of the ceiling hasn’t been put up yet.

  7. Possibly the total sum of the family income taken together to save and used to build a modest house. Even the furniture is of the low end and other house fixtures can be had at a bargain price. I doubt your costing of the house. In the rural area, carpenters, masons, and helpers are working below the minimum. Gravel and sand are just nearby, and some material are locally available at no cost at all.

  8. That house might been built through a housing loan. That has a mortgage maybe with 30 years to pay or whatever would be the contract. That’s how regular people are able to obtain nice decent houses although their basic pay is not too big.

  9. The power of loan and other means to have this house since you have the wage to pay installment basis…that’s normal here in PH. Did you consider that one? The main point of this is she had done the target plan she had for this year 2019 by all means. I think this how it goes. Congratulations!! I have the same experience though I’m not a top notcher but i have another skill and talent that made me have the same achievement…but all that hardships…same here…cheeze it and peewee tag piso and toyo, etc. for viand…sometimes walang kain pero among topnotchers pa at every end of the year except in college… thanks be to God!!

  10. I also top the board exam in 2005 but I still don’t have my own house until this time hahaha.. how to be you po ma’am? ..hehe

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