A third Filipino climber, Romeo Garduce, has also reportedly summited the mountain today, for a 1-2-3 accomplishment that will be talked about, justifiably, for a long time to come.
Get all the latest info at the Mount Everest Philippine Expedition Website.
UPDATE: 0840 18 May: Live report from Mt. Everest Base Camp has it that a second Filipino mountaineer reached the summit at 5:30 AM GmT+8, just 12 hours after the first climber reached the peak yesterday. More at ExplorersWeb.
LEO ORACION, a champion Filipino adventure racer is reported to have just planted the first Philippine flag on the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, according to sponsor ABSCBN Network. The official time was 17:30 GMT+8. A second member of the First Philippine Mt. Everest Expeditionary Team, Pastor Emata is said to be following a day or so behind; and a third climber, sponsored by rival GMA Network, Romy Garduce, is also on his way up and could make it a stunning 1-2-3 achievement for Filipino mountaineers this year. People should be warned at this point that getting to the top is only HALF the battle, since the descent from the summit, while less dramatic, remains the most dangerous part of such an epic trek.
Here is a link to a satellite image of the Mt. Everest region in Nepal (courtesy of Google Maps). The summit of Mt. Everest stands at 8848 meters above sea level. Also flag link.
Explorers Web has all the action covered on Mount Everest this week including a double amputee making it to the summit, along with the first Turkish woman to summit and a pair of Scandinavians who are skiing back down the mountain.
The British Army Team on Mt. Everest has a beautiful website with this page devoted to explaining the route up to the summit. The Brits are doing well although they had to ship their canine mascot, Shipton, back to the British Isles, after the dog ate THIRTY eggs belonging to the Sherpas with the team. I guess we Filipinos would know what to do with such uncouth and uncultured beasts...just don't tell the Canadians!
Sadly, at least six people have already died on the mountain this season, including four sherpas working on fixing ropes for various climbers, including some who are paying tourists.
Philippine Commentary proudly salutes all!
Above watercolor by Arnold Arre seems apropos on this occasion.
BACKGROUND on the members of the First Mt. Everest Philippine Expedition Team is contained in this Google Groups post by Ben Tumbling earlier this month.
Formidable free spirits, Filipinos all, with one goal -- to uplift the Pinoy spirit and empower them with an achievement the entire race can share. The Filipino assault on Mt. Everest in 2007 has been but a dream until the formation of this expert expedition team made up of the country's most passionate mountain climbers and adventure athletes. Together, they will ascend to the world's highest peak and shout from the mountaintops that indeed, the Filipino can!The wife of Expedition Leader Art Valdez reveals the plan for the entire Philippine Team to summit Mt. Everest by 2007, including the three women in the list above.
Arturo T. Valdez expedition leader
His passion for mountain climbing gave birth to this First Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition. A master outdoorsman from Bacolod, he had wanted to assemble a team to assault the world's highest peak as far back as the 70's. By recruiting the members of this expedition, he is a step closer to making the Everest dream a reality for all Filipinos.
Ari Ben C. Sebastian
A corporate lawyer on weekdays, he's also a mountain warrior and extreme sports buff on the weekends. An accomplished scuba diver, skydiver and alpine climber, this former president of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (MFPI) was one of the first Pinoys to reach the Himalayas in the 80's.
Fred B. Jamili
His love affair with Mother Nature and mountain climbing stretches for nearly 30 years. This veteran has climbed most, if not all the known mountains in the Philippines, and some abroad. One of the expedition team's leaders, he is also an accomplished caver and adventure race setter.
One of the expedition's prime movers and team leaders, he is the current president of the MFPI on leave from his day job at Globe Telecom. A skilled mountaineer, he has conquered Razdelnaya Peak in Kyrgyzstan, Mts. Aylmenr and Cook in New Zealand among others.
Florentino 'Jong' Narciso
He is a physical education instructor in the International School. He is also and accomplished mountaineer, climbing gym instructor and adventure race setter.
Fondly called Pastor by the group, this Davaoeño's love for the outdoors is matched by his boundless, enthusiastic energy. The team's morale booster and resident comic, he is one of the best adventure racers in the country, having won numerous races such as the Carera Habagat, Survival Challenge in Guimaras, and Survival of the Fittest in Escalante, Negros.
Also one of the country's most prominent adventure racers, this Cebuano has also conquered international adventure races such as the AXN Challenges in various parts of Asia and the 10 day expedition racing in NZ.
One of the youngest and few women in the group, she is a formidable sport climber from Cagayan de Oro City. Recently, she joined the expedition to the peak of Mt. Muztagh Ata (7,546 meters or 24,758 feet) in China-Pakistan. This is the highest peak ever reached by a Filipino - or a Filipina!
Juan 'JB' Añonuevo
A freespirit who could not rein in his love for the outdoors, he quit his job in government and became a fulltime mountain guide in his native Mayon in Bicol. He is also a sought after race setter and winning adventure racer.
A climber from Lagaw, Ifugao province, he turned his passion for climbing into a thriving business, with Lagalag, a shop which supplies outdoor apparel to other mountaineers. He is also an accomplished mountain and rock climber and adventure racer.
A mountaineer and adventure racer extraordinaire, he joined the expedition in order to bring pride to his family and country.
A member of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers, she is also a fitness instructor for the Moro Lorenzo Fitness Gym in Ateneo. An excellent sport climber, lawn tennis coach and champion triathlete, she is also a consistent winner in the Philippine and HongKong legs of the AXN adventure races.
A mountaineer from Mandaluyong, this father of two has also been a participant of several adventure races.
A prized member of the Dragonboat team, she (along with teammate Janet Belarmino) was also a winning fixture in the AXN races here and in Hong Kong. Noelle is also an expert biker and extreme adventure athlete and mountaineer while attending class as a Physical Education student.
Dr. Ted Esguerra
The team's physician is also from the Philippine Coast Guard. An accomplished mountaineer himself, he has conducted studies on the effect on high altitudes on climbers with the United States Air Force, making him an indispensable caretaker of the team's physical health on Everest.
The team's official video and photo documentor, his mastery of capturing nature's beauty on film is only matched by his passion for climbing.
This mountaineer, caver, and in-demand adventure racer lends his considerable strength and skill to help ensure the success of the Pinoy Everest ascent.