SummaryAt four years old, she saw girls doing flips and tricks and wanted to do it too; now, 12 years later, she’s a history-making gymnast.
Ancilla Lucia Mari Manzano is making history for the Philippines and wants to inspire others to develop their God-given talents.
I won a Gold Medal in the Team Event for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics during the 31st Southeast Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2022.
I also qualified for the Event Finals in Vault and Balance Beam, where I placed 5th in the Vault Event. The SEA Games was my first competition as a member of the Philippine National Team, and I was the youngest gymnast on the team!
Together with my teammates, we won for our country the first Gold Medal for Team Event in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics in over 30 years, making history for the Philippines.
The Southeast Asian Games, also known as the SEA Games, is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia.
The games are under the regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
The President of the Philippines also recognized the athletes who won medals during the SEA Games by awarding us with the Order of Lapu-Lapu, “in recognition of invaluable or extraordinary service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”
A Homeschooling Advantage
Preparing for the competition was challenging because it required much of my time. Training hours last more than half of my day. I flew to the United States and stayed for three months to train with amazing coaches in Texas and Arizona.
With homeschooling, I could adjust my study time to my convenience and according to my training schedule. I have ample time for rest and recreation; hence, I can perform my best in every practice. I also look forward to studying because I love learning new things, which gives me a break from the fast-paced world around me.
Aside from gymnastics, I love to take photos, mostly portraits and sunsets. I also like reading Young Adult literature and listening to indie-pop music.
When I am not snapping photos or reading, I love to make coffee and experiment with new recipes.
At four years old, I saw girls at my school doing flips and tricks, and I wanted to do it, too. Little did I know that, 12 years later, I would still be doing gymnastics, becoming part of the National Team, and making history for my country.
Using Our God-given Talents
As an athlete, I want to inspire others, especially younger kids. Through this role, I want to let children know that we each have our God-given talents, and we should share these gifts because only He knows what each person is really capable of and the path you are going to pave for the world.
My favorite subjects are Mathematics and Science. I like Math because I love challenging my mind. I also enjoy studying Science, most especially astronomy, because the universe is a beautiful and astonishing creation.
The photo was taken at the Training Center of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines, where I trained for many hours for the competition. The stuffed animal, the Saola, is an endangered mammal in Vietnam and the mascot for the 31st SEA Games.