University of the Philippines scientist Deo Onda is set to become the first Filipino to ever venture into the Emden Deep, the third deepest point in the world located in the Philippine Trench.

The expedition will see the microbial oceanographer from The Marine Science Institute of UP travel 34,100 feet below sea level.

The trip, which was made possible by the private organization Caladan Oceanic, starts today (March 22) and will last until March 28. 

Onda embarked on the journey last week from the port of Guam. He will be joined by the owner of Caladan Oceanic, American Victor Vescovo, onboard the DSSV (deep submersible support vessel) Pressure Drop.

Vescovo is not unfamiliar with such deep-sea feats. He holds the current Guinness World Record for the deepest manned descent in the Marianas Trench back in 2019.


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A post shared by Deo Florence L. Onda (@savedeocean)

The DSSV Pressure Drop is the only marine vessel capable of launching humans thousands of feet below the surface of the sea. Explorers will be carried by the deep-sea submersible DSV Limiting Factor.

The Emden Deep Venture will mark the first time any manned vessel is launched more than 30,000 feet into the Philippines’ territorial waters as well as the first-ever trip to the Philippine Trench. 

In a Facebook post earlier today, Onda says he and the team had their “final familiarization” and “emergency drills” in the sub with Vescovo today.

“This morning, I had my final familiarization and emergency drills in the sub with Victor Vescovo,” he shared. 

Aside from this, Onda notes that he’s slowly coming to terms with the reality of the expedition. 

“The reality of diving the Emden is slowly sinking in,” he remarked.

Director of UP’s Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Jay Batongbacal says a deep-sea trip in the Philippine waters is a groundbreaking event, describing the pursuit as similar to how the Spaniards discovered the Philippine archipelago, but this time with Filipinos in the helm. 

“The fact that Deo, a Filipino, will be among the first to descend into the Emden Deep, which is part of the Philippine Trench, makes it all the more symbolic on the occasion of the 500th year since Spanish contact with the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago. It may have taken half a millennium, but it’s a start, it’s the Filipino’s turn to explore,” shared on Facebook

Onda and his team of other explorers are set to dive into the Emden Deep tomorrow at 6 a.m.

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