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  • 8 years ago

ROMEO ROBERTO GARDUCE, a native of Balanga City, is among the first three Filipinos to reach the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. He accomplished the amazing feat on May 19, 2006, at about 1:15 p.m. Manila time.

“Romi” Garduce was born in San Jose, Balanga on September 29, 1969. His parents were Flaviana Roberto, a retired college instructor, and Victoriano Garduce, a retired Philippine Scout from Samar. He is the youngest among the ten Garduce children. He completed his kindergarten, elementary and high school education at the Tomas del Rosario College where his mother spent many years as a teacher, principal and later college instructor. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, major in Computer Science, at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Garduce had been employed with Procter and Gamble for more than 15 years as a systems analyst. During the same period, he was able to climb and reach the top of the country’s highest mountains as member of the University of the Philippine Mountaineering Club.

Garduce’s climb to the summit of the 8,848-meter high Mount Everest from base camp was completed in 10 hours. Still, he ended up as the third Filipino to get to the top of the world after another group of summiteers, including two other Filipinos, Hericleo Oracion of Quezon and Erwin Pastor Emata of Davao, reached the mountaintop an hour earlier. Oracion and Emata are members of the First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition Team.

Garduce’s climb was fully documented by GMA Channel 7 while the ascent of Oracion and Emata was covered by ABS-CBN.

For showing the Filipino’s capacity to overcome insurmountable odds, Romi Garduce, Oracion and Emata were honored in Malacanang on December 19, 2006. They were awarded plaques of the Order of Lakandula by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Garduce was also given a hero’s welcome by his townmates upon arrival in Balanga. He was also honored with the “Dangal Balangueno” award in April 2008.

Romi Garduce had already reached the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (in January 2005), and Mount Cho Oyu in Japan (September 2005). After his Mount Everest quest, Romi climbed Russia’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus, the last of the seven highest peaks in the world.
In addition to his job at Procter and Gamble, Romi hosts a weekly television program entitled “Born to Be Wild” shown on GMA 7 every Wednesday night.

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