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Ling Ling at home with a photo of her and Archie. Photography by Sara Black

This is probably one of the hardest features we have ever done in the 15 years of Philippine Tatler—not because the subject was difficult, or because we had to go to some far-flung area. It was the topic. How does one talk about death and moving on in a luxury lifestyle magazine?

In this month’s issue, we turn the spotlight on the beautiful and truly resilient Ling Ling King. Nearly two years since the tragedy that claimed the life of her husband, businessman Archie King, the young widow admits that she has faced—and continues to face—things one day at a time, drawing upon a store of inner strength to get herself through each moment.

For her, life now consists of traveling the world; living the simple life in a new house bought in a small resort town in New Zealand; and spending time with friends both old and new.

June 2017 cover

Celebrating friendships

She did just that when we spent a week in Venice together. It was great to bond along with nine other friends, in the otherworldly beauty of the city, where all we thought about was celebrating friendships, moments and Italian food and culture! It was such a memorable trip that we are already planning the next one in 2018!

Coming home after our trip, Ling dropped me off at my apartment and said, “We should get together with the other survivors of the helicopter crash more often, we haven’t really talked about the incident yet— not that I am ready, but slowly.”

The other co-survivors were Chris and Patty Chilip, Ricco and Tina Ocampo and myself. We have all respected each other’s space, and how we have dealt with the unfortunate incident. One thing I can say for myself is that faith has played a vital role in my being able to move forward.

At the Aman Venice: Kit Zobel, Anton San Diego, Ina Ayala, Pops Fernandez, Jojie Dingcong, Marianne Po, Patty Chilip, Rose Anne Belmonte, Laurie Westfall, Ling Ling King, Mela Gozon

Back home, Ling Ling has kept the house she and her husband lived in together. It is her home and a repository of happy, loving memories from nearly 20 years of marital bliss.

“I still feel his presence in this house because we have been together here for such a long time,” she admits. “And then, I would realize, ‘Oh, no; he is not here anymore.’ That is the most painful feeling.”

This indomitable woman has taken carpe diem as her motto, living each day to the fullest. She means to continue her husband’s legacy of giving back to society. For herself, though, she has chosen not to plan anymore—“You really cannot predict what will happen, so what is the point of planning?”

Instead, she has put herself in the hands of the Divine and constantly prays, “Let Your plan unfold before my eyes.”

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