The Filipiniana gown is a traditional dress usually worn to formal events in the Philippines, but a now-viral post shows that it can also make for a striking image when worn on Mount Everest.
Facebook user Bianca Lawas shared the photo on April 28, Sunday. It shows her wearing a red Filipiniana gown and holding a Philippine flag at the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal. She said she did it because she wanted to represent the country.
Lawas said in the post that it was snowing at 5,364 meters (17,598 feet) above sea level with the temperature at minus 15 degrees Celsius at the time. So yes, she was freezing when she changed into the traditional attire. The climb itself was no joke either.
She told Coconuts Manila through Facebook messenger that it took her group 10 days to reach the base camp, including one acclimatization day. Acclimatization is the process in which an individual adjusts to a change in its environment.
“We hiked to a higher altitude and slept in a lower altitude for us to better adapt with the environment/altitude.”
She said it was important to be properly acclimatized so they won’t get High Altitude Cerebral Edema or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema.
“We have co-hikers from other groups that were needed to be sent back via chopper because of severe symptoms of high altitude sickness like nonstop coughing and vomiting several times on the trail. One guy from another country even collapsed while on the trail,” Lawas said.
She said her group hiked six to eight hours every day and that they would experience headaches every night due to the altitude and the cold temperature.
“The breathtaking views of the hike or even the hike itself make the headache go away too.”
Lawas shared that the temperature was one of their major challenges.
“Sometimes, it is quite hard to breathe even when lying down or you’re sleeping,” she said.
“The coldness like seeps into your head, feet, and hands. One part of our journey, we had to walk while it was raining in hail. Our hands were so stiff during that time that we thought we’re going to experience frostbite.”
She also shared that they didn’t intend to reach the mountain’s summit as that would take about 65 days. Still, reaching the Mount Everest base camp was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for her, so she decided to dress up for the occasion.
“I sometimes really like to dress up in places that I find inspiring and amazing,” she told Coconuts.
“In mountains outside the country, hikers usually wave the Philippine flag when they reach the summit/destination, so I decided it is better to pair up the waving of the Philippine flag with wearing the Filipiniana gown.”
When asked about changing into her gown, she said, “I practiced it with my friend before the hike. I needed their assistance for the zipper at the back of my gown and my malong (tube skirt).”
Lawas’ post had over 2,800 likes, and 1,600 shares as of this article’s posting. Netizens were amazed by her shot and congratulated her on the job well done.
Richard Marino congratulated her and told her she did a great job.
Dyina Tribu said: “Congratulations Bianca! We are all very proud of you! Take care. God bless you always.”
Benj Espina said: “Strong!!! You should change back Ma’am you might get frostbite.”
Con L Castillo said: “Yaaassss (snow) kweeenn!!!”
Noel Escondo said: “This is how you represent! Filipiniana eleganza (elegance).”
Would you do something like this too? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.
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