Palaro swimming coach dedicates all to late son

Mars G. Alison
Palaro swimming coach dedicates all to late son
For a time after his son died, coaching swimmers and the pool became too hard to face for Central Visayas coach Andoy. Now, he is doing everything in his son's memory.

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – As a veteran swimming coach who has produced several Palarong Pambansa tankers for Central Visayas, Roland “Andoy” Remolino has always found solace in molding swimmers and being in or around the swimming pool.

However, for about two months last year, Coach Andoy, as he is fondly called, did not go about his usual chores of training swimmers. Instead, he shunned the pool.

The two things that used to comfort him were now sources of pain as they reminded him too much of his second son, who committed suicide March of last year.

John Luigi Remolino took his own life at the age of 19 after a disagreement with his girlfriend. He was a 4-year Palaro veteran and a bemedalled athlete in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association Meets.

Naleksyon jud ko ato maam oi, nakaingon jud ko nga sayanga wa ko kabantay sa ako anak (I learned a lesson, I told myself that too bad I was not able to watch over my own son),” Coach Andoy said while trying to hold back tears.

The Talisay City swimming coach admitted that even until now, after more than a year since losing his son, he still finds himself in tears whenever he remembers the boy.

Even now, he envisions his son walking among the tankers seeing action in the ongoing 2016 Palarong Pambansa in here.

Coach Andoy said that he did not expect John to do what he did because he was a very jolly person and was very friendly. He had a free spirit and was a jokester, often teasing not only his twin sister, Mary Joanna, but his friends as well. He said John was strong and kind.

John took his life at the third floor of his family’s home on a Sunday and his father, Coach Andoy, found his body on a Monday.

Coach Andoy slowly narrated that on the Friday before that fateful day, John and his girlfriend had a fight in his room and he advised both to talk about whatever their problem was. The two then went their separate ways.

They noticed that John wasn’t his usual self after that. He became moody and hardly talked to anyone. But the family chalked it up to his fight with his girlfriend and decided to let him be.

That Sunday, John borrowed his father’s phone. After returning it, he immediately went up to the third floor which serves as the family’s entertainment room.

They thought nothing of it because they were thinking he wanted to be alone. They never noticed or heard anything unusual and even went to a party held by a relative that night. Coach Andoy said he didn’t look for John then because he normally does not go with them to family parties, preferring to go with his friends.

The next day, still having no idea that something unusual had happened, Coach Andoy and the rest of the family went about their usual routine until he received a call from his daughter Joanna whose school project was locked inside their room.

Coach Andoy said he wandered why their room was locked when they never do that as their 5 children could just go in and out of their room. He went home and that’s when he found John’s body in the third floor.

According to Coach Andoy, he couldn’t remember anymore his actions at that time but he recalls being so angry at his son for taking his own life. He was so angry at John that he repeatedly punched his chest before attempting to resuscitate him despite knowing his son was already gone.

Having a hard time coping with his son’s death, it took two months for him to return to training swimmers as well as going back to the pool. 

The grieving father recalls how John wanted to become a priest but he told the boy to opt for another career as they already have plenty of priests and nuns in the family. John agreed and instead took up a nautical course at the University of the Visayas where he was a varsity swimmer. 

Coach Andoy said that even after now, he has so many questions that he’d like to ask John. “Whose fault was it?” “Was what happened my or John’s fault?”

Ako na lang na ihalad ug isalig sa Ginoo tanan (I am just going to offer and trust everything to the Lord),” said Coach Andoy of the tragic incident upon the advise of a priest.

Because John was about to transition from swimming to triathlon, Coach Andoy set up the Talisay Luigi Triathlon Group in dedication to John. It now has 20 members ranging from 8 to 16-year-olds.

John would have shifted to triathlon already but he opted to let his younger brother, Andrew Kim, 16, transition first because they only had one bike.

Coach Andoy dedicates everything now to John and encourages his other children to do the same.

Kim currently is no.1 in the Philippine triathlon junior training pool. He would have competed at Palaro but had to forego and instead will see action in the 2016 Subic Bay ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup.

Lisod mawagtangan ug anak oi, mao na tanan ako na gihalad kang John. Kanang daug namo diri sa pool temporary rana, akong kadaugan kay makita akong mga anak kada adlaw,” said Coach Andoy.

(It is hard to lose a child, that is why I am dedicating everything to John. Our win in the pool is only temporary, winning for me is seeing my children everyday.)

He also tells his remaining children to not be afraid to speak up, whatever their problem is so the family can talk about it.

Now, Coach Andoy makes sure that he sees all his children everyday. If that is not possible, he makes sure to call them everyday. 

Another solace for Coach Andoy is the birth of his grandchild. His eldest son, Michael Louie, named his firstborn John Luigi, whom he describes as a dead ringer for his late uncle. –

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