MANILA - A scientist from the University of the Philippines is set to be the first Filipino to reach what is called the "3rd deepest spot on earth," the UP Marine Science Institute announced Wednesday.
Microbial oceanographer Dr. Deo Florence L. Onda is set to become one of the first humans and the first Filipino to reach Emden Deep, located in the Philippine Trench and approximately 10,400 meters or 34,100 feet deep.
The UP Marine Science Institute touted this as a "major record-setting scientific and historic achievement" calling it "only appropriate" that a Filipino scientist holds the record.
"Deep sea expeditions like this one are equivalent to the first early flights into outer space, thus it would be a major record-setting scientific and historic achievement. To date, most of these records are held by foreign scientists or explorers,” the UP Marine Science Institute said in a statement.
“The Philippine Trench is a unique feature found within the EEZ of the Philippines, and it is only appropriate that a Filipino scientist be one of the first to hold this record in the Emden Deep,” it added.
Onda, who is also MSI's Deputy Director for Research, was invited by private organization Caladan Oceanic in the expedition set to happen from March 22 to 28, and will be joined by Victor Vescovo, who holds the record for the deepest manned descent in the Marianas Trench in 2019. Vescovo is also the main sponsor of Caladan Oceanic.
Onda and Vescovo will dive the Emden Deep onboard the DSSV Pressure Drop, described by the MSI as the only marine vessel in the world with the capacity to launch a submersible that can transport humans and “repeatedly dive to the deepest parts in the world’s oceans.”
They also plan to wave the Philippine Flag during the voyage to highlight it being “an integral part of our nation’s heritage.”
Onda, through the voyage, will be given a chance to ride state of the art vessels capable of deep-sea activities.
The MSI also saw this as an opportunity inspire young Filipinos to pursue marine science protection and conservation.
“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,” MSI said in the statement.
Onda has been onboard the DSSV Pressure Drop and is bound for the Philippine Trench from the Port of Guam by the time the press release was published.
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