Francis Toribiong, long seen as a pioneer in the tourism industry for Palau, held a book-signing event for his biography, “The Diver Who Fell from the Sky”, which hit shelves this past June.
The biography, written by fellow diver Simon Pridmore, covers the whole of Francis’ life, but focuses on his diving and parachuting escapades, as well as his work in promoting Palau as a tourism destination to the rest of the world, and his young years growing up in Palau.
“This is not only the story of my life; it’s the story of how young people grew up in the 50’s and 60’s,” Francis said at the book-signing, recognizing many other Palauans who grew up in his neighborhood such as Johnson Toribiong, Alan Seid, and Peleliu Governor Temmy Shmull.
“It’s the story of all young people in Palau . . . after school they go farming, Sunday they go fishing to feed the family . . . that’s the story I’m telling here,” he said.
The book-signing event took place at the Belau National Museum (BNM) on Wednesday night, and was attended by President Tommy E. Remengesau, as well as many of the other founding members of Fish ‘n Fins diving company.
Following the signing, Francis and his old diving crew from Fish ‘n Fins shared “reminiscings” of old memories diving Palau’s famous sites, such as Blue Corner, first discovered by Francis forty years ago. Sam Scott of Sam’s Tours is quoted in the book as calling the original Fish ‘n Fins crew “the coolest guys around, the elite, the pre-eminent dive crew in the island”.
President Remengesau praised Francis for being a “role-model” on the island, which he attributed to his ability to “conquer his fear of the unknown”, as well as his passion for the environment.
“Whether it’s jumping out of the sky, or diving in the deepest part of the ocean of Palau . . . Francis always has the sense of exploring . . . of going where no man has gone before,” said President Remengesau. “But behind the daring escapades and pioneering efforts . . . lies his appreciation of our environment.”
Books were sold by BNM for $38.50 in color and $24.95 in black-and white. The current stock was sold out before the end of the night.
Director Olympia E. Morei of the BNM said that the event was an extension of the 65th Anniversary celebration of the BNM, which was celebrated last month.

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