Carina Dayondon, the first Filipina to climb the summit of each of the tallest mountains of the seven continents in the world including Mt. Everest, has been honored with the Conservation Hero Award by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).
Dayondon was awarded during the WWF-Philippines Partner’s Night which gave the spotlight on an all-women awardees lineup to honor the “Role of Women in Environmental Conservation”. Dumaguete’s Ocean 6 women swimmers were the other honorees.
The mountaineering achiever personally received her award recognizing her 14-year journey to the Seven Summits which ended on December 16, 2018, and her continuing collaboration with WWF-Philippines during ceremonies held on November 5 in Raffles Makati City.
Carina Dayondon’s Seven Summits:
Mt. Denali (6190m) in North America in 2006
Mt. Everest (8850m) in Asia in 2007
Mt. Elbrus (5642m) in Europe in 2013
Mt. Kosciuszko (2,228 m) in Australia in 2014
Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m) in Africa in 2015
Mt. Aconcagua (6962m) in South America in 2018
Mt. Vinson Massif (4892m) in Antarctica in 2018
After overcoming several physical and logistical difficulties throughout her journey and finally achieving her feat, Carina Dayondon told WWF, “What’s more important for me is we showed to the Filipinas, the young ones, there’s nothing impossible if you’re determined, focused, and if you believe in your dreams. It’s okay to get a record but does it have a point? Did you inspire anyone? Did you touch anyone’s heart, inspire them to do something like that? That’s what’s important to us. The message is there, to inspire the kids and the Filipinos.”
Carina Dayondon then addressed the Filipino nation, saying, “Don’t think of me as an idol. I’m no different from you. You can do something like this, too.
Carina Dayondon, who holds a Lt. Junior Grade rank with the Philippine Coast Guard, shared to Good News Pilipinas how her work and passion coincided, saying, “As individual, as mountaineer, as a coastguard officer I share my passion and work to help keep and protect our environment livable for us and for the generation to come.”
The Inspiring Filipina Awardee adds, “7summits is simply symbolic of bigger dreams and challenges in protecting and preserving our environment. We, as ordinary residents of this earth, are encouraged to continue sharing our part in protecting and preserving our environment.”
Dayondon’s work with WWF consist of volunteering as an inspirational speaker in their activities which she did even before her 7 summits bid. Dayondon’s successful 2017 climb was supported by WWF-Philippines.
“It is my privilege to be an ally to WWF because this organization gives their ample share of not only protecting and preserving our environment but they provided a livelihood for those communities surrounding the project they are working,” Dayondon who hails from Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Central Mindanao shared.
Dayondon, who was introduced to camping and hiking as a Girl Scout and whose interest in mountaineering started during her college days as a member of the Xavier University-Ateneo Mountaineering Society, says she values the Conservation Hero Award as it recognizes the role of women in the environment. “It encourages us to give more and inspire more of our youth. If we inspire more then we contributed to make this world a better place to live,” she says.
Carina Dayondon is also a core crew member of the Balangay Voyages – the symbolic journey of the replicas of the ancient Balangay boats of Butuan City which started in 2009. Two Balangay boats will again be sailing for the 500 days countdown to the Quincentennial celebrations this December.
Dayondon, who refers to the Balangay Voyage as “Chanelling our spirit of adventure to a more significant voyage that is near to our culture“, will however not be joining the journey this time as she is currently in the middle of her K9 dog and handler course training.
“We, as mountaineers and adventurers, never aim to conquer the power and might of Mother Nature. Instead, we go there to enjoy its beauty, pray, pay respect, give care and help to preserve it.
Asked by Good News Pilipinas about her next mission after having reached the greatest heights, Carina Dayondon said although there are more adventures she can do outside the coastguard if her schedule allows her to do so she is content to simply go back to the ordinary life she left behind. She says:
“Climbing mountains and crossing vast seas give us opportunities to conquer our own self-doubts and fears and to go beyond our self-limits. As we went down and reached our port of destination, we don’t ask for rewards nor claim fame. Simply we go back to the simple lives that we have left behind.
“As of now, I’m doing my adventure right inside my own backyard, training to become a Coast Guard K9dog Handler. And I have to prioritize my work because it enabled me to get a salary loan and proceeds were used for my climb and until now I’m still paying for it. Because by climbing the 7 summits I only had few sponsors and when we went down we claimed no prize nor reward, my only consolation was to put the Philippine flag on the top of each highest mountain in each continent.
“Having done all of those safely and successfully, I feel privileged, honored, and blessed for all those humbling experiences. Now, I continue sharing my stories so that our young ones will be inspired when they feel discouraged in the middle of the pursuit of their dreams. It does not necessarily mean that literally, they will climb Mt Everest/7Summits although if they are given the rare opportunity as I had, they must seize and grab the chance.
“Their own Mt. Everest/7Summits can be their future advocacy, job, career, venture, love life, family, etc. And my stories could be any Filipino’s story too. May this One Filipina’s journey on 7 Summits keep their dreams alive and inspire them to reach for the farthest star in their life! Kaya ng Pinay!”
SEND congratulations in the comments below to Carina Dayondon for inspiring women, children, and environmental advocates with her journey to overcome limitations!
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