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Six-year-old Solange Mangandid Conquers Victoria Peak

Tonight, we bring you the story of a little girl from the Cayo District who has broken the record for the youngest person to climb Belize’s second-highest mountain. The six-year-old was able to complete the steep hike up the Victoria Peak breaking the record which was previously held by Rowan Garel who made the journey back in 2011. Reporter Vejea Alvarez headed out west to speak to six-year-old Solange Mangandid and her family about the major milestone. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: She is 6 years old, an Infant II student and now, Solange Mangandid goes down in the history books as the youngest person to conquer Belize’s second highest point, Victoria Peak. 

Marlene Orellano, Mother of Solange Magandid: “You made it!”

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “Yes!”

Marlene Orellano, Mother of Solange Magandid: “You’re happy?” 

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “Yes!” 

Marlene Orellano, Mother of Solange Magandid: “Okay!” 

Veja Alvarez, Love FM News: Her gruelling four day journey up the 3,670 ft high mountain began just after 4:00 last Wednesday with her parents and a group from the Belize Institute of Search and Rescue. Solange’s father, Miguel, says preparations began a month in advance. 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid:We planned out this trip to Victoria Peak for quite some whiles with BSRT Group, the Belize Search and Rescue Team. We had to get special permission because of her age. We finally got through with the permission and we had to do it as quickly as possible because the rainy season is coming. As soon as we got the go ahead, we planned it very carefully and took as many safety protocols as we could have and I’m so happy. What I can say is I’m so happy with the BSRT group, that they did very well. Again, yeah, we knew she was in shape. She took the challenge like a pro.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: This brave endeavour is not the first time that Solange has triumphed over a mighty mountain. When she was only 4 years old, her father took her on a trip to Mt. Mossy where she fell in love with nature and hiking. 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “We were planning a trip a couple years ago when she was 4 to Mt. Mossy. You know this is a very difficult trek to take and there’s no trails, no, um, you pretty much have to go on your own with GPS and your maps so we did it with her having enough training, put it that way, or workout and she made it all the way up. I mean, we had to take her up on our backs for some time because she was four back then. No? After that she started to grow up in the sports business, you could call it that way.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Solange, who was a bit camera shy, spoke to us about her favourite part, persevering through the lush emerald green forest which she described as enchanting. 

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “I saw two little eggs in a nest. I saw two giant eggs and we were seeing parrots and some little animals, crickets and fireflies. They had moss and big trees then they had like a green thing all the way at the top.” 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: How did you get to the top?

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “Climbing with a rope.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Miguel says this magnificent milestone would not have been possible without his wife Marlene Orellano who got Solange ready for the cruel climb. 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “Her mom is the one that prepared her physically. Well mentally she had that already but physically, she’s the one that did all the training with her for the last, put it, 5 months because it’s not an easy thing. She likes to run also. She goes every other day to Bullet Tree Falls and back home which is probably 5 km of running and trotting. She got in shape.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: After four days of trekking through the pristine forest of the Cocscomb Basin Reserve, Miguel says he was extremely proud to see his daughter make history. 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “From the day we got the email on the approval, we were super happy because we knew she got it. So there was no doubt and I mean, history. History. She goes down in the history books and I am a super proud dad. We came out everyday at 4 o’clock in the morning to avoid the heat. You know, dehydration? That’s one of the most important things to do, avoid dehydration. The difficult part for her was the steep climbings. We had to like push her a little bit but I mean, she still was on the ground. We never ever put her on our backs this trip. It was super cool so yeah.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Solange’s eyes are now locked in on conquering the highest point in Belize, Doyle’s Delight. 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “What do you want the next hike to be?”

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “About the biggest hike.” 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “The biggest mountain?”

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “The biggest mountain.” 

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “So you want to do Doyle’s Delight?” 

Solange Magandid, Youngest person to climb Victoria Peak: “Yeah.”

Miguel Magandid, Father of Solange Magandid: “Yeah? Okay.” 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Reporting for Love News, I am Vejea Alvarez.