‘We’ve waved the Philippine Flag’: Filipino scientist reaches the third deepest spot on Earth

In a photo posted on the UP Marine Science Institute Facebook page, Filipino marine scientist Deo Florence Onda holds the Philippine flag after a successful dive and ascent from Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench, the third deepest spot on Earth.

A FILIPINO scientist has made history as one of the first two human beings to reach Emden Deep, the third deepest spot on Earth.

Dr. Deo Florence Onda, a microbial oceanographer from the Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, on Tuesday, March 23, waved the Philippine flag 34,100 feet or 10,400 meters below the Philippine trench with his partner, American explorer Victor Vescovo, onboard submersible Limiting Factor.

“I am with explorer Victor Vescovo and we are at the Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench,” Onda said in a video posted on Facebook.

“I am actually very honored to be part of this trip and sa mga Pilipino, ito po ang Emden Deep, atin ito (For Filipinos, this is Emden Deep and this is ours)!” he added.

In the video’s caption, Onda wrote: “We’ve reached the Emden Deep. We’ve waved the Philippine Flag. We’ve set records. We have made history today.”

The DSV Limiting Factor was made of titanium to withstand the extreme pressure down the trench. It was launched from the DSSV Pressure Drop, described as “the only marine vessel in the world designed to endure such missions and to carry humans to the deepest parts of the world’s oceans.”

According to UPMSI, part of its goal was “to wave the Philippine Flag in the Emden Deep during its record-setting voyage, highlighting that it is an integral part of our nation’s heritage.”

“This endeavor can spark interest and passion for many other young Filipinos who would want to make a career in the sciences and bring more attention to the protection, preservation, and conservation of the Philippine marine environment,” it added.
Onda was invited by the private organization Caladan Oceanic to join the Emden Deep Expedition.

He joined Vescovo, the record holder for the deepest manned descent in the Marianas Trench in 2019 as well as the main sponsor of Caladan Oceanic.

The two of them started the voyage from the port of Guam on March 15 to the Philippine Trench.

The endeavor was fully coordinated with the Philippine government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and is considered a non-Marine Scientific Research (MSR) activity.

Ondo told CNN Philippines that his next project will be conducting research in the West Philippine Sea.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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