In a world where tablets and screens are ever present in children’s lives, it’s always refreshing to see kids who look for other ways to entertain themselves (and hone their minds at the same time). Leo Borromeo, 11, is one of those kids.
Though he is like any typical tween (except he enjoys Math, English, and football), Leo has a particular talent that makes him a standout — he is the fastest person to solve a puzzle cube in the Philippines. Yes, he can unscramble a puzzle cube in less than 10 seconds, turning it this way and that way until all sides become a single color. Let us put it this way: by the time you finished reading this sentence and the last Leo could have already solved the cube. Our jaws dropped when we saw him do it (see video below).
His mom, Sheryl Borromeo, shares that it all started in 2014 when she had the idea to buy Leo, who was then 7 years old, a Rubik’s cube. “When I realized that he was good at assembling Legos, I thought that I might as well buy him a Rubik’s cube,” she shares.
Her son, whom she says has always had a thirst for knowledge, was able to solve the puzzle in under two minutes after researching and watching instructional videos on YouTube. “If Leo is interested in something, he would go online and research about it until he becomes an ‘expert’ on the subject,” his mom tells SmartParenting.com.ph.
Though the Rubik’s cube was invented in the ‘70s, it has become popular in recent years as more and more people got hooked into solving the puzzle as quickly as possible. Experts have said it’s a great toy to give kids because it helps develops their problem solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness skills.
In Leo’s case, it opened a world of possibilities. In 2015, he met JB Cañares, an officer of the Philippine Cubers Association, the first speedcubing organization in the country. Speedcubing is a sport that involves solving a puzzle cube in the quickest time possible, making use of various algorithms and methods.
Leo was invited to compete at the Cebu Open in 2015 where he was able to solve a 3x3x3 cube in 30.47 seconds. Yes, he got better from then on.
To date, Leo has joined around 20 local and international competitions, with three bronze, 15 silver, and 10 gold medals under his belt. His biggest achievement so far is participating in the World Cube Association Asian Championship 2018 which was held in Taiwan last August. He was the fourth runner-up in the 3x3x3 Cube category and the youngest participant in that category.
Watch and see how speedcubing has changed Leo’s life and what else we can expect from this talented boy: