Ania metten dagitoy a pada a Filipino. Dida man kayat ti agpaabak. Paggaapaanda no sinno ti immuna a pimmatok iti tuktok ti Bantay Everest. Dakkel kad ti kuarta a maalada no sinno immun-una. Masolbar na kadi ti parikot ti nagkirkiraos a boksit. Ta kasla man sangkapirgis a karne daytoy a paggaagawanda.
Apounayen kakabsat! Isardengyo man dayta aya!
Abenojar pooh-poohs doubting Thomases
By Rainer Allan Ronda
The Philippine Star
Dale Abenojar, the adventure sportsman who claims to be the first Filipino to have reached the summit of Mt. Everest, said he plans to return to the Philippines a victorious conqueror of the world’s highest mountain with no rancor in his heart against countrymen who have doubted his feat.
Robin Mendoza, Abenojar’s only friend in the cold and strife-torn Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, said that while Abenojar continues to suffer excruciating pain from his gangrene-infected left big toe, he has recovered from the emotional hurt caused by the continued doubts of his countrymen on his claim of scaling Everest on the morning of May 15.
"He has accepted the doubts and he is ready to face them when we come home very soon," Mendoza told The STAR during a long-distance telephone interview the other day.
He said they had completed their documentation of Abenojar’s climb of Mt. Everest and were now making arrangements to travel home.
Mendoza confirmed that they were also arranging for Abenojar’s injured 21-year-old Sherpa guide, "Pasang," to be brought back to the Philippines for medical treatment.
"We’re doing our best so that he can come with us because Dale really wants to have him treated for his injuries," Mendoza said.
Pasang is facing the possible amputation of all but one of his toes due to severe gangrene infection triggered by frostbite.
Abenojar faces the prospect of amputation himself: his left big toe was infected with gangrene due to frostbite. Pasang accompanied Abenojar on the bitter, almost suicidal climb of Mt. Everest’s more difficult north face. Most experienced mountain climbers train for months or years in harsh alpine climes before attempting to conquer the Everest summit. Abenojar did not undergo acclimatization or training climbs before heading for the summit of Mt. Everest in May.
In an earlier interview with The STAR, Abenojar said he is determined to get Pasang the best medical treatment at the top Philippine hospitals to save the Sherpa’s toes from amputation.
Mendoza recently gave The STAR copy of a certificate issued by the Mountaineering Association of Tibet of the Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China that declared that Abenojar reached the summit of Mt. Everest at 10:45 a.m. on May 15, taking the mountain’s deadly "north col" or north face route.
It will also be recalled that Heracleo "Leo" Oracion and Erwin "Pastor" Emata of the First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition (FPMEE), declared by television network ABS-CBN to be the first and second Filipinos to reach the summit of the mountain respectively, reached the Everest summit on May 17 and 18.
Oracion and Emata took the relatively easier south face route to the summit. ABS-CBN is one of the major sponsors of the FPMEE and the network enjoyed exclusive media coverage of Oracion and Emata’s climb to the Everest summit last month.
The network war between ABS-CBN and its rival GMA-7 took on the trappings of a race to the Everest summit between the FPMEE’s Oracion and Emata and solo Filipino climber Romeo Garduce, who was backed by GMA-7.
In contrast, Abenojar’s journey was a lonely expedition, since he had no media sponsors when he hurriedly left for Kathmandu on April 1, in his own bid to be the first Filipino to conquer Mt. Everest.
Garduce said he was the first Filipino to publicly declare his intention to plant a Philippine flag at the Everest summit, as early as 1994.
Mendoza said "diplomacy" is what he and Abenojar will adopt in answering the likely and vociferous doubts cast upon Abenojar’s achievement.
"Dale knows the truth in his heart anyway so if they will continue to doubt, then that’s their problem," Mendoza said.
Mendoza added that they will bring with them "compelling" evidence to bolster Abenojar’s claim, though he declined to elaborate. He did add, though, that their evidence will not entail lengthy explanations and arguments.
"We have built up a pile of compelling evidence that we are confident will clear away their doubts," Mendoza said.