Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Emotional Reunion Between 2 Everest Climbers and 1st Philippine Everest Team

Namche Bazaar, Solo Khumbu - It was an emotional reunion between Everest climbers Leo Oracion and Pastour Emata and the rest of the 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Expediton. Leo and Pastour met the 14-man team at Lukla airfield, where the trek to Everest Base Camp begins. This is the first time in two months the team has seen Leo and Pastour, who have been training in the Everest area since February.

The whole team is now in Namche Bazaar, the center of trade in the Solo Khumbu or Everest region. They are doing last-minute shopping for equipment and goods they will need for the climb to Everest in May. From here, the team will trek to Everest Base Camp where they expect to arrive on April 18.

The climbing season on Everest has been delayed due to a longer than usual winter. Even now, when its supposed to be spring, there are still reports of snowfall in the higher villages and at Everest Base Camp. Because of this, the route through the Khumbu Icefall, the first stage in climbing Everest, is expected to be opened at the end of the second week of April.

Expedition Leader Art Valdez has talked to the two Filipino Everest climbers and reiterated that their primary goal is to keep safe on the mountain. He said that if the weather does not cooperate, the two should not continue with the climb. When told about media reports that the Everest climb is turning into a race for the 1st Filipino to reach the top, Emata dismissed this. "Everest should be approached with respect. On Sagarmatha (Nepalese name for Everest), you do not race against anyone. It is between you and the mountain. If she allows you to summit, you are lucky. You should never say you will conquer her, because in the end she will always win."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Philippine Everest Team Begins Base Camp Trek

Kathmandu, Nepal - The 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Team is all set for its reconnaissance climb on Mt. Everest in May. The team will take a 45-minute flight tomorrow morning from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal to the town of Lukla. From Lukla, the team will trek for 8 days to reach Everest Base Camp.

Leo Oracion and Pastour Emata, the team's lead climbers are already at Everest Base Camp (EBC) waiting for the rest of the team. They have been in the Everest area since February, training and allowing their bodies to adapt to the high altitude.

At 5,500 meters, EBC has half the amount of oxygen compared to sea level. The body adapts to this by producing more red blood cells, which enables more oxygen to be transported to the brain. But this process takes time, which is why doctors recommend climbing no higher than 300 meters per day once you are past an altitude of 3,000 meters. Climbing too high, too fast could result in altitude sickness - symptoms include nausea, headaches, vomiting, impaired motor skills, and in severe cases, death.

With the completion of their acclimatization program, Leo and Pastour are all set to climb Everest in May. While their primary goal is to gain experience on Everest to lead the team's 2007 climb, the two have a very strong chance of reaching the summit this May. Other international climbing groups and even high altitude sherpas have expressed surprise at how strong the two Filipino climbers are. On a recent training trek to the sherpa village of Kericola, the two made it to the village in 5 hours, when it normally takes 9 hours to get there.

Leo and Pastor will be supported by fellow team members at Base Camp. JB Anonuevo, Fred Jamili, Levi Nagayahan and expedition leader Art Valdez will provide logistical support, while Dr. Ted Esguerra of the Philippine Coast Guard will provide medical aid.

Team member Jong Narciso says their presence at Base Camp also goes beyond providing for the two climber's physical needs. He says it is good for the two to be surrounded by friends to keep their morale high amid the miserable conditions on the mountain. Jong says they are also there to reign in the two and remind them to stick to their climb schedule. "These two are very competetive and very strong climbers who may push themselves to the limit. While we do not doubt their strength, we will be there to constantly remind them of what their ultimate goal is, and that is to keep safe and get back down alive."

The other members of the team meanwhile will conduct a training climb before proceeding to Base Camp. Larry Honoridez, Jong Narciso, Regie Pablo, and the team's three women - Janet Belarmino, Karina Dayondon and Noelle Wenceslao - will climb Island Peak, a 6100 meter mountain 3 days away from Everest.

The training climb at Island Peak is part of the teams continuing training program in preparation for the whole team's attempt to climb Everest next year. Dubbed as the 2007 Unity Climb, the team hopes to climb simultaneously from the north, or Tibetan side, and the southern Nepalese side and meet at the top.

Team member Regie Pablo says, the 2007 Unity Climb is meant to show the true strength of the Filipino's Bayanihan spirit - that despite all the political bickering and economic problems hounding the country, when Filipinos put their mind to it and work together, they can accomplish great things. "We are just ordinary people, just everyday Filipinos. But with the support of each team member, our sponsors, and the many others who have helped in their own way, we know we will achieve what many believe is impossible."

The team has already earned the recgnition and respect of other nationalities. A mountaineer from New Zealand said the Philippine team reminded her of the movie "Cool Runnings", about a team from Jamaica which joined the Winter Olympic's bobsled competition.

Emma Pariar, a Filipina based in Kathmandu says the Philippine Team has given the Filipino community in Nepal a new sense of pride in the flag. While hundreds of mountaineers pass through Kathmandu each year to climb Everest , they never thought they would see an all-Filipino attempt to climb the mountain in their lifetime. "Many foreigners here in Kathmandu, even though they are well travelled, don't know much about the Philippines. Now, when they find out I am a Filipino, they say, 'oh, you are sending a team to Everest!' I see the admiration in their eyes and that makes me feel proud."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Update on Philippine Everest Team

Got text messages from Art and Regie today. The two are in Kathmandu with the rest of the team. Basically, here's what their texts said, as e-mailed to me by Iris of Stratworks.

Team - As we speak, the team is all set to meet Leo, Pastor and the support team at Namche Bazaar. Regie, Carina, Larry, Levi and Noelle arrived in Kathmandu last night, about quarter to seven. The Filipino community hosted a dinner for them last night as well. Art has caught up with them and they will leave for Lukla tomorrow. The team is in high spirits and are all excited. Art said Leo and Pastor have become as strong as their sherpas. Regie, meanwhile, said Leo and Pastor have become quite popular in Namche and are really fit.

Everest weather/base camp
- Several expeditions are moving to base camp today but crossing of Khumbu icefall from base camp may be delayed because of unsettled snow and ice blocks due to delayed winter. This means that all movement beyond base camp may be delayed.

Nepal situation - Curfew was extended until 10am today. There is a general strike from today until the 8th. All establishments and transportation means are closed with government banning public assembly. Nepal government likewise warned that outgoing contact by phone will stop if situation worsens. Although it was announced that tourists will not be harmed, the team is keeping off the streets. The team has no access to Internet.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Second Batch of RP Everest Team in Kathmandu

Jong Narciso, a member of the 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition, will provide support for Leo Oracion and Pastour Emata at Everest Base Camp. He posted these e-mails at the MFPI e-groups the past few days.


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 10:37:42 -0000
From: "jong narciso"
Subject: update on kathmandu

salamat s lahat!

We have just finish having mass at the local catholic church here in kathmandu. we've also hooked up with a lot of pinoys after the mass. kaya tuloy nagkaroon ng improptu party. Bigla na lng nagbilihan sa market then diretso sa bahay ni terese stuart isang pinay working for unicef.

mabuhay ang pinoy abroad. we met people from tuegegarao, nueva ecija, cebu, capiz, davao, iligan, cagayan de oro, iloilo, naga, sorsogon at ewan ko mukhang may na miss pa ko. they prepared sinigang dinuguan pata enselada at marami pang iba. Ang sarap talaga ng pinoy food especially after a week of dhal bat, nasala, roti momo at kung ano ano pang nepali food.

right now pastour is back in namche bazar after a trek around the area, yung dapat na six day trek ginawa nyang 2 days. si leo went back to kala patar and gorak shep then towards everest base camp. by tomorrow he will be back with pastour.

Pastour just had a night out with the malaysian and singaporean team. mnagdadatingan na yung mga expeditions. yesterday we were with the polish team although hirap sila mag english hopefully in threee four days pati kami makapunta na dun

salamat sa philippine airlines, summit water, medcentral, fitness first, PAMI, coleman,abs-cbn, stratworks, mozcom, kodak, mational sports grill, globe. sana po tangkilikin natin sila at sa mga tumulong po sa amin ang habagat, bombproof, fluid, sandugo, trek, power up, montanara at lagalag

sa muli


Message: 2
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 10:41:57 -0000
From: "jong narciso"
Subject: Re: kathmandu

ang may phone lang si jb number nya 09163859470 dagdag mo na lang country code 977. ang problema wala na syang load. kung yung hotel naman parati kaming nasa labas. pwede mong i-try yung trekking agency +9774220664,4266898.


Message: 4
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 10:49:53 -0000
From: "jong narciso"
Subject: helpful tips for the future

guys it's easy to go here to kathmandu and trek!!!!

right now the easiest is through bangkok. there are budget airlines now servicing manila-bangkok. in bangkok you can find cheap places to stay or if you can get connecting flights you can sleep at the airport.

the cheapest to kathmandu is royal nepal airlines, a roundtrip ticket bangkok-kathmandu-bangkok is $445. kayang kayang ipunin.

in kathmandu you can find places to stay for as low as $2 per person per night.

for trekking you can contact International Adventures Trek and Expeditions. the owner is a nepali with a filipina wife. they are willing to give discounts to us. they have a website or email them at try to look for henry or emma pariyar

the cost of living here is cheap. the exchange rate of dollar to rupees is NR 1 - $71. so nas angat ang peso

so save up and start planning

hope to see you here