AT first glance, he would seem like the typical shy fourth grader busy playing in the corner with some colorful cubes. However, upon looking closely, one would realize that Leo is no ordinary 10-year-old.
Often seen fiddling with a Rubik’s cube, Cebu’s very own Leo Borromeo is currently the fastest speedcuber in the Philippines according to the World Cube Association, and most probably the youngest as well. He is currently ranked as the fastest in the Philippines in both the single (5.96 seconds) and average (7.51 seconds) time. He is also ranked as the third fastest cuber in Asia and 23rd in the world.
At the age of seven, he started being interested in playing with the Rubik’s cube and taught himself how to solve it by watching YouTube videos. For most people, these multi-colored cubes might look like a common plaything one can buy anywhere, which is why his mother didn’t think twice when he asked her to buy him one.
“I bought him a cheap one and at first it broke. He then asked me to buy him a regular one,” said Sheryl Borromeo.
Without knowing that this cube would bring out a skill that would make Leo’s name heard loud and clear throughout the country, his parents let him play.
“First time he showed it to us, it took him under two minutes. We were already impressed then,” said father Carlo Borromeo. “A few months later, he could do it in 40 seconds and last year he did it in less than 15 seconds.”
On Aug. 20, Leo was featured in Little Big Shots Philippines. In the show, Leo was dubbed a nine-year-old Rubik’s cube expert. A few days after his guesting, Leo turned 10 years old and snagged a few more titles for himself.
The world’s current title holder of fastest cuber is Patrick Ponce from the United States (Middletown) who recently ousted Feliks Zemdegs from Australia just this Sept. 2 with an average time of 4.69 seconds as provided by the Guiness World Records. But Leo having recently competed in the Rubik’s Visayas Championship 2017 held last Sept. 3, snagged the title of being the 3x3 champion of the Rubik’s Visayas Championship 2017 and two new national records for the Philippines with the best average time of 7.51 and a fastest single time of 5.96. At his current rate and seemingly sponge-like learning qualities, it would not be far-fetched in the future that a 10-year-old boy who taught himself how to solve a Rubik’s cube can clinch the world record in the near future.
At present, Leo is balancing school and Rubik’s cube competitions and surprisingly enough, this 10-year-old is doing it pretty well. Despite cubing for hours, he has been receiving really good grades.
Leo does not simply play with a Rubik’s cube, he solves them as they are puzzles that are meant to be color coordinated after being disarranged. In a day, Leo solves over 100 Rubik’s cube puzzles by arranging and rearranging it repeatedly. His favorite cube to solve is the 3x3 but he also solves other cubes which include the 4x4. He currently studies in the University of San Carlos North Campus and he never leaves home without his Rubik’s cube by his side. Oh! And if you think the wonder ends there, wait until you see Leo solve a Rubik’s cube with only one hand.