History in the making: Filipino scientist set to reach Earth’s 3rd deepest spot

March 18, 2021 - 12:14 PM
Dr. Deo Florence Onda s set to make history as the first Filipino to reach the third deepest spot on earth. (Deo Florence Onda/Facebook)

A microbial oceanographer of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute is set to make history as the first Filipino to reach the third deepest spot on earth, Emden Deep.

‘Into the Emden Deep’

Dr. Deo Florence Onda is the sole Filipino researcher invited by organization Caldan Oceanic to join the Emden Deep Expedition.

He will be among the first humans to reach Emden Deep, 10,400 meter or 34,100 feet deep. It is located in the Philippine Trench, a unique feature found within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

The record-setting expedition is slated from March 22 to 28, 2021.

In his descent, Onda will be joined by Victor Vescovo, the main sponsor of the organization and also the current record holder of the deepest manned descent in the Marianas Trench in 2019.

Vescovo is the only person who has dived into the deepest trenches in five continents, according to Onda.

Caladan Oceanic is a private organization that “has been setting records for deepest manned descents in the world’s deepest trenches, with the most recent one in the Marianas in 2019.”

“Dr. Onda and Mr. Vescovo will dive the Emden Deep onboard the DSSV Pressure Drop, the only marine vessel in the world capable of launching the deep-sea submersible DSV Limiting Factor that can carry humans and repeatedly dive to the deepest parts in the world’s oceans,” the MSI said.

It also said that Onda will be given a unique opportunity to be exposed to state-of-the-art vessels capable of deep-sea activities, which can enrich our experiences and knowledge as the Philippines builds its own National Academic Research Fleet (NARFleet), an ongoing national project funded by the Philippine government.

“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,” the institute added.

Onda is now onboard the DSSV Pressure Drop and will begin the voyage from the port of Guam to the Philippine Trench. He boarded the research vessel on March 13.

The activity has been fully coordinated with the Philippine government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and is considered a non-Marine Scientific Research (MSR) activity, according to the UP MSI.

Onda is giving updates about his voyage on his Facebook account.

On Wednesday evening, he shared that he had made his acquaintance with the DSV Limiting Factor, the submersible vehicle.

“She is the only vessel capable of repeatedly diving the deepest trenches,” Onda wrote, adding the hashtag #IntoTheEmdenDeep.

The Filipino scientist also took a video of the West Philippine Sea.

Waving the Philippine flag

Congratulatory messages poured in for Onda.

“Congratulations, sir. Expecting you to obtain high-quality data. Safe journey,” one of the comments read.

“Best of luck and safety, Sir Deo! Dream field ko ang deep sea explorations huhu,” another wrote. 

In jest, the Filipino Pride page posted, “Pinabili lang ng suka, kung saan-saan nakakarating. haha.”

“It’s been a long road and a tedious process, but we are now here,” Onda said.

“We will wave the banner with three stars and a sun in the 3rd deepest point on earth,” he added.