Thirteen-year-old John Boyla Menguito, a student-athlete of Gilutongan Elementary School in Cordova town, Province of Cebu was chanced upon performing his warm-up exercises at the Cebu City Sports Center. 

John has aspired for gold in the 50 meters and 100 meters breaststroke events in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVRAA) 2024 Meet hosted by Cebu City. 

John grows up in the islet of Gilutongan, off Cordova. He is the 11th child of 14 siblings whose parents depend solely on the sea’s bounty for sustenance. 

John said that life is indeed hard to be in a big family. With his parents’ measly income, hitting rock bottom has come to be his reality. 

The extreme weather has made things worse with water scarcity being one of the biggest challenges in the island. He considers the five-month drought as an additional cross to carry because freshwater, safe and potable, is hard to source out in the island. But he is thankful of his environment despite the odds. He has grown to embrace the sea as an extension of his life. He has honed his swimming skills being surrounded by too much water, and there is no other way but to master skillfully the behavior of the sea to be its bestfriend. 

John has come to accept that even sliding down a rainbow could give the dreamer a splinter. 

John chose to stay afloat on many occasions in his life, he said, and swam across turbulent waters. In the Provincial Meet, John swam to an impressive finish to secure the gold. He has Rufino Narsico, trainer, and Prudencio Alaban, his coach, to thank for aside from others in his support group.

John has sought a repeat of the feat in the CVRAA Meet 2024 for a slot to the prestigious Palarong Pambansa. 

He has to propel himself further out at sea - a sea of possibilities. 

John is among the 900 athlete-delegates of the Department of Education - Cebu Province who is first to have contributed a gold medal to lock in Cebu Province's ranking in the Top 10 best performing school divisions in the region.