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3 Things to Know About Dr. Deo Onda and the Emden Deep Expedition

Dr. Deo Florence Onda will be the first Filipino to explore the 34,100-feet Emden Deep.

For most of us, it’s a dream to be the first at something and to be remembered in history as a trailblazer. It’s an aspiration of some to be able to see their names alongside the likes of Marie Curie, Neil Armstrong, and Edmund Hillary in the history books which future generations will get to read.

This opportunity to be a part of history is what Dr. Deo Florence Onda from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute is currently embracing. The microbial oceanographer will be the first Filipino to be able to go into the Emden Deep, the third-deepest spot on Earth, located in the Philippine Trench.

Together with Victor Vescovo of the private organization Caladan Oceanic and the record-holder for the deepest manned descent into the Marianas Trench, Dr. Onda will be exploring the 34,100-feet Emden Deep and look into the Philippines’s ‘extended heritage.’

“I think it is important to put it on the map, to let most Filipinos know that we actually have an extension of our heritage down 10,000 kilometers, down the Philippine trench,” he says. (Read: How Fossil Discoveries Are Proving the Need to Invest in the Sciences)

So what do we expect with and from this exploration? Here are some fast facts about the Emden Deep Expedition!

emden-deep-expedition
(Left) Before the descent at 6:30AM today (Photos from Joselito Dela Cruz Membrot of DSSV Pressure Drop/UP Marine Science Institute Facebook and Deo Florence L. Onda Facebook)

The Emden Deep Expedition Will Take Almost Half a Day

With a trench as deep as the Emden Deep, it’s no wonder that the travel to the deepest point and back will take a long time. Based on their estimates, the entire exploration will take around 10-12 hours (half a day!) to complete. The descent will take four hours, then the two men will get to explore for two to four hours, and the ascent will take another four. Dr. Onda hopes to wave the Philippine flag while underwater for his fellow Filipinos.

There Will Be No Bathroom Breaks During the Expedition

Just like space exploration, this deepwater exploration will test human limitations. Food and water intake will be limited since there will be no bathroom breaks while inside the submersible. (Read: Three Instances That Prove Science and Faith Work Hand In Hand)

Dr. Onda Hopes to Raise Awareness About the Emden Deep

Dr. Onda is no stranger to historical feats and adventures. Previously, he was able to go to the Philippine Rise, an extinct volcanic ridge near Isabela, and explore the West Philippine Sea. That’s why with their exploration of the Emden Deep, Dr. Onda also hopes that it raises awareness about this spot, which will hopefully help with its care and preservation just like with the Philippine Rise and the West Philippine Sea.

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