Student who Sold Sponges for 13 Years also made it to graduate school

3 Mins read

Remember the boy who went viral for selling sponges for 13 years so he could study until he graduates from college? Well, he has come a long way and even made it to graduate school!

Melvin Chua began selling sponges in the streets of Makati when he was still in his elementary years. He literally ‘grew up’ with a huge plastic bag and a basket filled with various types and colors of his product.

Despite his young age, he diligently persevered to sell his goods in order to earn regularly, and it’s no surprise he earned a loyal customer base of people who would frequently buy from him through the years; his ‘sukis’.

In every milestone of his life, his regular patrons would be there to congratulate him as they have become friends, so to speak. They have seen the boy ‘grow up’ and perhaps they also felt they were part of the boy’s struggles and achievements in life.

After 13 years of continuous selling of sponges, he was able to graduate from college. He took up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Major in Office Management at University of Makati.

He went to some of his loyal customers the day before his graduation and thanked everyone for their valuable contribution as regulars customers in his lifelong journey.

“I am sharing this because I just can’t celebrate alone the success I made without sharing it to all of you,” Melvin wrote on Facebookback then, because he was not able to meet all his loyal customers that day.

His journey via a Rappler feature story:

Another Feat

After his journey took him to an ‘unexpected limelight, another door of opportunity opened up for him. He was offered a scholarship in China in 2019 after his story went viral so he may pursue post-grad studies.

“I am beyond grateful to share that I’ve finally graduated from Renmin Business School with a degree of International Master of Business Administration (IMBA).
The last two years were a roller coaster ride, but they were the best years of my life. I owe many people this significant milestone, and I couldn’t thank them enough for their unconditional support in this endeavour. This one’s for you!” he shared in another FB post.


“As I humbly shared this, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the time when my life was put into unexpected limelight, which opened the door for me to study in China. I had countless moments when I recalled the same time when I was still selling sponges in the bustling streets of my country, while talking to myself, “Dati, ganitong oras, naglalako pa ako, hindi ako makapaniwala na nandito ako,” that kept rolling. I guess when your heart is grateful and your life has suddenly changed, you’ll always have those “unbelievable moments” and you’ll never get tired of them. I will always be proud of my life as a sponge street peddler. Coming from a humble background in the Philippines, being awarded a scholarship was a dream come true and a life-changing moment.
Even up to this day, I couldn’t believe I had come this far. It’s true that God’s plan is bigger than ours. He always listens and answers at the right time. Never lose faith or hope in him! Thank you, God, my great provider, for everything.

Pursuing a post-graduate degree abroad was an uphill climb, but despite all the challenges it demanded, I am extremely proud of my decision to stay in China during this extraordinary time of the global pandemic and share the same difficulties my foreign and Chinese classmates and friends have experienced. We grew stronger and better! And it just made our two-year study program even more worthwhile!

“Thank you to all of my professors for the knowledge and values you imparted. My special thanks to my thesis advisor, Prof. Jun Pang; to my brilliant classmates who formed the best cohort (you just proved that a single “你好” can go a long way); and to my school administration and university for making this journey truly transformative. To the China Scholarship Council and the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines for their generous support and the chance to discover the fascinating beauty of China, its culture, and its people. My eyes were opened to a whole new world and gave me with a new perspective and experiences in life from China that I’ll carry with me as I embark on the next chapter of my life. It was indeed an incredible journey to remember and to share. 🇨🇳

With all my heart, thank you to Mr. Jerry Liu, Ms. Camille Tigas, and Kuya Carlo for helping me unfold this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I would not be able to obtain this if you all didn’t believe in me. I am forever grateful.”

He also thanked his family, especially his mother, his mentors and friends, the supportive Alumni as well as his roommates.

“It’s a long list of people I want to recognize, but please know that I am thankful to each and every one of you. And to all my Sukis, every day I pray that you are all safe. I wonder if you still remember me, because you are always in my heart and I can’t wait to share with you this humble achievement.”

Related posts

Grandfather celebrates his 78th birthday with a community pantry for those affected by the quake

1 Mins read
Every birthday deserves some sort of celebration, and for a senior citizen in Abra, 78 years of life is worth being thankful…

Because someone cared enough, viral smiling 'Lolo Pops' now has own house in Pampanga

2 Mins read
Indeed, life has angels and they don’t always have wings! One amazing angel on earth chanced upon an elderly man and paved…

Grandmother finds much joy in being able to wear elementary graduation toga

2 Mins read
“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep…in dreams you will lose your heartache; whatever you wish for,…