Erwin "Pastor" Emata, another member of the national Philippine expedition has reached the summit of Everest according to the expedition website. Erwin followed Leo (top image) who reached the top yesterday at 3:30 pm, local time from the South Col route. The Philippine Eagle has landed on the summit, he reportedly told expedition leader Arturo Valdez through the radio. Image compiled by ExWeb (click to enlarge).


Everest south: Emata grabs second Everest summit for the Philippines

Posted: May 18, 2006 03:10 am EDT
Erwin "Pastor" Emata, another member of the national Philippine expedition has reached the summit of Everest according to the expedition website.

Erwin followed Leo who reportedly reached the top yesterday at 3:30 pm, local time from the South Col route. The Philippine Eagle has landed on the summit, he reportedly told expedition leader Arturo Valdez through the radio.

Erwin was faster than his team mate, reaching the summit already at 8 am local time today.

Next up is Romi Garduce, last reported position in C4. Monday, there were also unconfirmed reports on Filipino Dale Abenojar reaching the summit from the north side, despite previous reports stating he had aborted his attempt. Details are sketchy and the news has yet to be confirmed a complete report and proof is expected from Abenojar.

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.

A dark horse in the quest was Dale Abenojar. Abenojar was the first Filipino to publicly announce his intention to climb the big E in the 90's. Blogs from the MFPI (Philippines Mountaineering federation) e-groups say he turned up at EBC in '93 but didn't get as far as Khumbu icefall and instead spent the whole time in Base Camp. Abenojar is a mountaineer and a 4x4 enthusiast, member of the land rover club of the Philippines. He became famous in the Philippines for driving a 4x4, his 'deranged rover' as he called it, to the crater of Mount Pinatubo.

Romeo "Romi" Garduce (spelled 'Garduch' in some media) also hoped to become the first Filipino to summit Mt. Everest. A systems analyst in his 30s, Garduce summited Cho Oyu in September 2005. On Jan 1, 2005, he became the first Filipino to climb Aconcagua. Now he is joining an international team for Everest, and follows Hillarys route from the Nepali side of the mountain.

National team climbers Leo Oracion and Erwin Emata summited Muztagh Ata in August 2005, thus breaking the previous Philippine altitude record set by Garduce on Aconcagua, which in turn was broken by Garduce again when he summited Cho Oyu last fall. Leo and Erwin have been training earlier this year in New Zealand's mountain ranges.

Apparently, the climbs have sparked a network war between ABS-CBN, which is supporting the Philippine team, and GMA-7, which is supporting Garduce.



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