A Filipino scientist from the University of the Philippines has started his historic descent as one of the first humans to reach the third deepest spot on earth.
Dr. Deo Florence L. Onda, a microbial oceanographer of The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, is set to make history as he joins American explorer Victor Vescovo in diving the approximately 34,100 feet deep Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench.
"So we are about to go out to the sub...Ito na 'yun, (This is it) Pilipinas. Good luck," Onda said in a Facebook video.
A photo posted by the UP Marine Science Institute showed Onda boarding the submersible Tuesday morning.
Onda was invited by private organization Caladan Oceanic in the expedition set to happen from March 22 to 28. Joining him is undersea explorer Victor Vescovo, who holds the record for the deepest manned descent in the Mariana Trench in 2019.
They will explore Emden Deep onboard the DSSV (deep submersible support vessel) Pressure Drop. The travel would take at least 10 hours, said Onda.
To prepare for the historic attempt, Onda said he watched previous ocean explorations, accustomed himself being enclosed in a deep-sea submersible and "not to be surprised when things could go wrong."
"It will be a privilege that when I come back, I will be teaching something that is not just from the textbooks," he said.
"It's something that I have seen myself, I have experienced myself that not all people were able to experience. It is the Filipino people who will actually benefit from that and that's what I'm hoping for," Onda added.
The UP Marine Science Institute earlier touted the activity as a "major record-setting scientific and historic achievement."
“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.