• CARINA DAYONDON

    Reaching the world’s highest summits

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    EACH continent has its highest peak, but no summit is more challenging than life’s own highpoints.

    After three years of preparation, Carina Dayondon and the rest of the Philippine Mount Everest team finally climbed the world’s highest summit in 2007

    This challenge came to 37-yead-old Carina Dayondon when she was given the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to traverse the world’s highest mountains—but in exchange of the life she was obliged to live.

    “Back in 2004, an opportunity to be part of the team that will climb Mt. Everest came. I just graduated college so I was torn between finding a job to help bring home the bacon, or head to Manila to join the team,” Dayondon recalled.

    Born and raised in the landlocked province of Bukidnon, Dayonton was exposed to different outdoor activities and was challenged to pursue extreme sports.

    Despite not getting her parent’s support, she still decided to go to Manila. Fortunately, she entered the expedition team led by former undersecretary Art Valdez of the Department of Transportation and Communications where possible employment with a stable allowance was offered. During this time, the team was already preparing for their Mt. Everest Summit.

    “Our preparation to conquer Mt. Everest took three years, and it was not an easy feat due to budget constraints. We needed more sponsors to finance our training,” Dayondon noted.

    But another tough challenge came to Dayondon when the start-up business of her newly retired father went bankrupt leading to the foreclosure of their home. As the fourth eldest child in a family of 14, she found it difficult to fund her brothers’ and sisters’ education.

    “That was the lowest point in my life. Every night, I would cry because of guilt for not being there for my family, for not being able to send financial assistance even when I was able. I was torn between giving up my dream to climb Mt. Everest and going back to my family in Bukidnon,” she recalled. “Until I asked God for a sign, and He let me and a colleague win one of the races we joined. I was able to sent half a million-peso worth of money to my family and decided to stay with the team.”

    Finally in 2007, Dayondon and the Philippine Mount Everest team finally climbed the highest summit in the world.

    The premiere Filipina climber after a long journey to the peak of Mt. Everest

    The premiere Filipina climber after a long journey to the peak of Mt. Everest

    According to the achiever, there were three important virtues that kept the team intact: “Compatibilities, Capabilities and Commitment.”

    For the team, being compatible with each other allowed them to work better as a team; having the right capabilities made them more physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually capable of the climb; and committing to the expedition means “giving up your life to reach the top.”

    “It is true that we were privileged to stand at the highest point on Earth. But the journey to the top was not easy—it entailed a lot of discipline and sacrifice. We invested in a lot of hard work and strong faith in God,” Dayondon enthused.

    Her journey to Mt. Everest has further inspired Dayondon to climb all of the World’s Seven Summits. Aside the Mt. Everest in Asia, she had already climbed Mt. McKinley in North America, Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mt. Kosciuzsko in Australia, and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa only in October 2015. She only has Mt. Aconcagua in South America and Mt. Vinson in Antarctica to conquer.

    Through all these, the successful female climber wished to thank Primer Group, which gave her climbing gears through its advocacy arm Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition (CORE).

    “The overall experience inspired me to do greater things in life, to believe in my own strengths and to trust that with God, nothing is truly impossible. No mountain is ever hard to cross unless you don’t start the expedition. As for me, I will continue to climb mountains, even those that we currently have in life,” Dayondon concluded.

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    Support Carina Dayondon on her way to climbing the last two of the world’s summits. For logistical and financial support to help her and her team accomplish the feat, email carinadayundon@yahoo.com or contact 0917-5208085 and 0939-9175104.

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