Bukidnon’s Carina Dayondon: 2nd Pinay to reach Everest’s peak
DON CARLOS, Bukidnon (MindaNews/24 May) – She sang “Kaya ng Pinay”
near the peak of Mt. Everest and when this pride of Don Carlos town
finally reached it, radioed the Advance Base Camp, “I’m so tired, I’m
so excited, I don’t know what to do! I feel like going to the
Carina Dayondon, 28, born and raised in this agricultural town in
southern Bukidnon, she who dreamt of becoming a computer engineer
someday, reached the peak of Mt. Everest on May 20 at 6:20 a.m. Nepal
time (8:20 a.m. in Manila), ten minutes after Noelle Wenceslao, 27,
reached the peak. The third team member, Janet Belarmino, 28, reached
the summit three hours later. Wenceslao and Belarmino are both from
Luzon. (Photo showing Carina in the middle, courtesy of Kaya ng Pinay 2007 blog)Philippine team leader Art Valdez said Carina, Noelle and Janet set
two world records in Everest history as the first Filipinas and first
ASEAN women to reach the summit and the first women to cross the
mountain from the north route in Tibet to the south route in Nepal.
“Crossing the mountain from Tibet to Nepal has only been done by a
handful of mountaineers – all of them men,” the Kaya ng Pinay blog
The Filipinas’ feat followed that of three Filipino climbers, Leo
Oracion, Pastour Emata and Romy Garduce, who reached the summit
through the southeast side around the same time last year.
Emata, a Mindanawon from Davao del Norte who was at the Advance Base
Camp when fellow Mindanawon Carina sang “Kaya ng Pinay,” radioed her
back to say he’d bet she was singing because she was scared. Carina’s
answer? “Excuse me?”
Like Carina, Emata was also the lone Mindanawon in the team and was
also second in the team of three Filipinos, to reach the peak on May
18 last year. Carina reached the summit on May 17.
In two years, two Mindanawons had reached the peak.
Her family here and friends at the Xavier University-Ateneo
Mountaineering Society (XU-AMS) in Cagayan de Oro City where she took
up Bachelor of Science in Business Management, are proud of her
achievement but they cannot talk about her, citing an alleged media
Gabriel Dayondon, Carina’s father, told MindaNews Tuesday that
ABS-CBN, one of the major sponsors of the Mt. Everest climbing
expedition, has exclusive rights over the coverage of his daughter’s
feat and biography.
The elder Dayondon said they respected the agreement his daughter made
with the media network and appealed for understanding.
But ABS-CBN’s Chari Villa, head of the News Gathering Group, told
MindaNews no such restriction or exclusivity contract has been made.
“Maybe that’s just their (her family’s) interpretation but certainly
we cannot stop other media from reporting news, ” she said.
Villa also said the Lopez family, owners of the television network,
had made an earlier commitment to help the Everest expedition
financially but this did not mean exclusivity over the story.
“There is no such restriction,” she stressed.
Fellow Bukidnons are obviously proud of her success.
A bus passenger from Maramag, the town next to Don Carlos, told
MindaNews the young athlete “seems to be a very disciplined and
determined young woman. Even if I’m a man, I don’t think I can do what
“I am proud of her. Imagine, someone from Bukidnon makes it good
around the world,” said Manang Alicia, 46, who lives in a suburban
barangay in Don Carlos.
Motorcab drivers in the town’s bus terminal gave MindaNews directions
to her house. “Katong sikat nga babae nga climber, sir?” the driver
asked. (Are you referring to the popular lady mountain climber?)
Carina’s first climb was Bukidnon’s Mt. Kitanglad in 1995, a colleague
from the XU-AMS said.
Carina, daughter of retired bankers, is the fourth of 14 siblings. Her
mom now tends to their home-based lodging service while her father
works at the Don Carlos Municipal Agriculture Office.
Carina studied at the Don Carlos Central Elementary School here and at
the San Isidro College High School in Malaybalay City, Batch 1995.
In her yearbook entry, Carina said she hoped to be a computer
engineer. She was a class auditor and Filipino editor of their high
She was a member of the school’s Booklovers’ Club and was a platoon
leader in the Citizens’ Army Training. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews
with a report from Carolyn O. Arguillas)