Thursday, May 25, 2006

Research Your Topic-Sample Speech, "Because it is There!"

Because it is There
(Research Your Topic - Speech Project #7 in the Competent Communication Manual, May.25,2006, Kimberly-Clark Phils., San Pedro, Laguna. Evaluated by Khris Albano, ATM-B)


Oracion, Emata, Garduce: three Filipinos who have made headlines just very recently. Do you know them? If you have been tuning in to the news lately, these three names spell triumph. They’re the first Filipinos to climb the highest peak on earth, Mount Everest.

As any mountaineer can attest, climbing Mount Everest is a supremely dangerous undertaking. The most frequent kind of death is sudden and shocking, a drop from a wall of ice, a fall into a deep crevice, or the biggest killer of all, being buried alive in an avalanche.

Practically one in every ten climbers never return and there have been more than 2000 climbers thus far. The fact that these 3 Filipinos had limited experience in snow and ice climbing made their feats even more admirable.


Why Climb Mt. Everest?

But why climb the highest peak? In 1923, George Mallory, a British national, announced his plan to climb Mount Everest – the very first attempt. After being pestered by journalists for his reasons, he answered the now famous line “Because it is there”.

The following year, in 1924, he made his climb to Everest. He did not return.

Information from tell us that the very first successful attempt to climb Everest happened in 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit. Hillary is a New Zealander while Tenzing was a Sherpa from Nepal.

Sherpas are an ethnic group in Northeast Nepal. Sherpas have become mountaineering legends and heroes. In expeditions, they have been relied on for carrying supplies, cooking, setting up camps, fixing ropes and as mountain guides.

Setting Up an Expedition

Setting up expeditions is quite a tremendous task - and expensive as well. The Filipino mountaineers were lucky in that although they did not have much financial support from the government, they had corporate sponsors.

A recent headline by Philippine Star, dated May 19, 2006 ("2nd Pinoy Climber Conquers Everest"), indicated that the tandem Oracion and Emata had backing from ABS/CBN while Garduce was backed-up by the rival-network GMA7. Actually, with the way the local channels have covered the news, it was quite clear, who was sponsoring which mountaineer – as I have found out.

Yes, faced with the sense of national pride, the networks were still battling it out - for the ratings. It is rather sad though, that none of them mentioned the little known fact that the famous Sherpa, Norgay Tenzing had a daughter named Nima Tenzing who married a Filipino and lived here in the Philippines.

Beliefs - East Versus West

Has it really come to this? Has Mount Everest become commercialized? Even among mountaineers in an expedition, there is contrast in beliefs. Among the westerners, there is personal glory-seeking, dreams of heroic adventurism – to explore, to conquer.

According to the British Mountaineering Council (, wealthy individuals could actually rent an expedition for $60,000 minimum! This, of course, gives them bragging rights that they made it to Everest. The eastern belief, on the other hand, is one of awe and sanctity.

The Sherpas of Nepal see Everest as a sacred mountain and I believe there is similar sentiment among Asian cultures.

Mount Pinatubo

I remember when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, my fellow Capampangans from the lowlands asked the displaced Aetas “Where will you live now? You do not own land.” To which the Aetas replied “We do not own the land, the land owns us. For how can we own something that will outlive us?”

The Aetas believe that Pinatubo is the home of the god Apu Namalyari – the Great Provider. By the same token, the Sherpas believe that Everest, which is known to them as Sagarmatha, is the “Forehead of the Sky”. In Tibet, it is known as Chomolungma, meaning “Mother of the Universe”.

The Sherpas believe in the sacredness of Mount Everest and they forbid bad behavior in expeditions. No excessive alcohol drinking, no rowdy behavior and no sex. Yes, no sex.

In some expeditions there are males and females and the Sherpas would occasionally rattle and shake the tents when they suspect couples having sex. They say it will invite bad weather or snowstorms in the slopes which increase the risk tremendously in climbing.


Inspite of these differences in beliefs, it is still every mountaineer’s dream to climb the highest peak. Oracion, Emata and Garduce have inspired us to think that it is not an impossible dream.

We all have our mountains to climb. Our own ambitions, our own aspirations. How about you? What is your Mount Everest? Or more importantly, what drives you to climb your mountain? Could it be as simple as what George Mallory once said, “Because it is there”?

Sample Speeches in Competent Communication

Sample Speeches in the Old Program

Sample Speeches in Pathways