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Filipino on Everest Summit

Cebu-based triathlete Leo Oracion is the first Filipino to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak.

The 32-year-old climber reached the top of the 8,848-meter mountain at 3:30 p.m. Nepal time (5:30 p.m. Philippine time) Wednesday. (source)

Manila's two largest broadcast networks have splashed out for hefty sponsorship deals and deployed crews which gave blow-by-blow accounts of the race to the summit, which 32 year-old triathlete Leo Oracion won hands down on Wednesday.

In a country where no mountain reaches 3,000m and the only ice is inside freezers, Oracion, his teammate Erwin Emata and rival climber Romeo Garduce were hailed as heroes as they labored up the southern slope of the 8,848m mountain. Filipinos monitored the teams? progress online as well as their televised preparations. (source)

The team was slowed down considerably upon reaching the Hillary Step, a 40-foot wall of rock around an hour to the summit.

“This is a big accomplishment for a country at sea level,” Pablo told the Inquirer just after he got the news.

“We have no experience with alpine conditions; this is alien to us. It’s like putting a Filipino on the moon. We also showed the other expeditions our positive values and outlook on things,” he said.

Pablo also said Oracion’s feat would put the Philippines on the international mountaineering map: “It’s a boost to the reputation of Filipinos in the mountaineering world. I think that in a very strong way we showed them what we are made of. All around the world, people will (source)

The island archipelago of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Philippines has two independent climbers and a national team currently climbing the mountain; in a quest to plant the national flag on the summit of Everest for the first time.

The National Philippines Mount Everest Expedition was planned for 2007, but rapidly brought forward their plans when they heard a single climber, Romeo Garduce, was attempting the peak this year, after he refused an invitation to join the expedition in 2003. (source)
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