Armed with the passion to become the first Filipino to set the Philippine flag proudly on top of Mt. Everest in May 2006, Romi Garduce kicked off his quest in conquering the highest mountain in the world last March 3, Friday. The plan was to make this as low key as possible because of the political implications (won’t elaborate anymore :). Romi is an officemate and a good friend for some years now, and I’m glad that our company supported him in this quest. We ensured that back-up plans are in place and agreed on a 3 months leave of absence. He would be attempting to climb the summit and be back in Manila by May 15 (at the earliest) or May 29 (at the latest). May is the best time and the only window for safely climbing Mt. Everest @ 29,028 feet (8,848 meters).

On a related topic, the 1st all Filipino Mt. Everest expedition team has now been trimmed down to 17 core members. The core group of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Inc. (MFPI), including Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Art Valdez, Butch Sebastian, Fred Jamili, Jong Narciso and federation president Regie Pablo, will spearhead the Philippine expedition. They just finished a 10-day alphine Mountain Course training in Mt. Cook National Park in New Zealand. Here they tackled the 3,754m Mt. Aylmer and the 27 km long and 3 km wide Tasman Glacier, the biggest among the range of glaciers present in the park. The team is set to climb Mt. Everest in May 2007 and for sure will set other records including becoming the first all Filipino expedition team and the first Asian woman on top of Mt. Everest. Female adventure racers Janet Belarmino, Noelle Wenceslao and Bukidnon-bred Karina Dayumdon are part of the selection. Also John Tronco, is their official photographer ( talk about a well funded star-studded team ).

Stay tuned for this and good luck to all our Filipino Climbers!

Anton