For the month of March, Belle de Jour Power Planner is celebrating the lives of different women in our current online campaign, “Women Beyond Borders.” Let’s be inspired by their stories of breaking barriers and making their dreams happen.
Carina Dayondon is the first Filipina to climb the Seven Summits. The mountains are the highest in each continent of the world. Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain above sea level, is among in the list of summits.
Doing so was no small feat. She had to battle a lot of challenges along the way. Then again, Carina is no stranger to hardship and struggle.
Carina experienced challenges, even at the stage of conception. Her mother experienced profuse bleeding while pregnant with Carina. She pulled through despite the sensitive pregnancy.
The mountaineer cites her mother as her inspiration for strength and perseverance. According to Carina, her mother’s example of sacrifice molded her to be the fearless woman she is today.
Carina grew up in the sleepy town of Don Carlos in Bukidnon, the fourth eldest of fourteen children. Sports and outdoor activities, including climbing, were already a part of her life. In 1999, she became part of the National Sportclimbing Team.
After graduating from college, she received an opportunity to climb Mount Everest. Her parents were not supportive of the decision. Instead, they wanted her to find a job in Manila to help with the family income. Despite their disapproval, Carina started training for the Everest expedition.
The Dayondons family faced another setback while Carina was preparing. Her father’s business went into bankruptcy, leading to the foreclosure of their home. Carina was scarcely able to support her siblings’ education. “I was torn between giving up my dream to climb Mt. Everest and going back to my family in Bukidnon,” she shared in an interview with The Manila Times. Desperate and out of options, Carina turned to God for guidance. “He let me and a colleague win one of the races that we joined,” she beams. Her cash price, amounting to half a million pesos, was immediately sent to her family.
Carina’s luck further improved after this victory. Shortly after, she began working with the Philippine Coast Guard. In fact, her ATM was immediately sent to her siblings back home.
Now, Carina could pursue her dream–and help her family–at the same time.
After three years of training, Carina and her teammates were able to climb Mount Everest. They were the first Southeast Asian women to climb Everest. In addition, the team were the first women to scale Everest in traverse, taking on the path less traveled. Instead of the usual route, the Filipina team ascended via Tibet and went down through Nepal.
After achieving her dream, Carina’s wanted to do more: she wanted to conquer the rest of the Seven Summits.
Carina was aware that each mountain had its own set of challenges. Alpine mountains, in particular, were unfamiliar to the typical Filipino body temperature. Altitudes tended to make climbers sick. Many times, teams had to sleep on snow, and pass through other climbers who were sick, dying, or dead.
Carina had to prepare not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally. She knew full well what she wanted, and how to achieve it. “Because this is my dream, I have to pay the price,” Carina shares. The Filipina achiever chose to draw strength from each difficulty that she encountered.
Carina’s passion is an inspiration to us. May her laser focus in pursuing her dreams push you to go the distance, and go where you’ve never gone before.
Here are some questions that you can reflect on and journal. You can also use these as conversation starters with your friends:
- Carina cites her faith in God as fuel for pursuing her passion. What specific beliefs do you subscribe to? How do you harness your beliefs to go after your dreams?
- Carina had to choose between her passion and her family’s livelihood. In a stroke of luck, she was able to achieve both. Given a choice, which would you pick: passion or career? Why?