Mt. Everest conquerors prepare for ocean voyage

From: The Visayan Daily Star

Date: December 30, 2008


After conquering the Mt. Everest in 2006 and 2007, the group of former DOTC Undersecretary Art Valdez plans to trace the migration of Filipino ancestors across the oceans using only the native Balangay sail boat.

Valdez said that while scaling Mt. Everest was a tribute to the triumph of the Filipino spirit, the Voyage of the Balangay takes on a more relevant meaning.

“This epic voyage is yet another chance to inspire our countrymen and fellow Malays to believe in ourselves and in our oneness as a nation,” Valdez said.

The inspiration of the project, he said, comes from the maritime achieves of Filipino ancestors. Sailing along the South China Sea, the gulf of Thailand and the Java Sea despite obstacles and dangers, our ancestors considered the divisive,” Valdez said.

He added that the project will showcase and challenge Filipino ingenuity and native survival skills in the modern age by using ancient seafaring technology.

Committed to join the Voyage, tentatively set to sail off April next year, are Mt. Everest conquerors Leo Oracion, Erwin “Pastour” Emata, Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, Janet Belarmino-Sardena, Dr. Ted Esguerra, Fred Jamili and Dr. Voltaire Velasco.

The rest of the crew will be composed of master sailors, academicians and scientists whose selection will be based on their capability to accomplish the tasks, their commitment to the team and its undertaking and their compatibility with the team’s core values, Valdez said.

The project is handled by the Kaya Ng Pinoy Inc., the group behind the successful Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition.