t’s been a strange few weeks. A surreal botched walkout by Hong Kong’s pro-establishment legislators resulted in Legco overwhelmingly rejecting the government’s proposed electoral overhaul. In Shanghai, the stock market fell 30 per cent over three weeks. Had someone said in early June that this could happen in China, they would have been labelled a raving lunatic. Meanwhile in Europe, Greece teetered on the brink of economic collapse and a “Grexit” from the euro zone. My family and I are due to fly there for a holiday tomorrow night, and when we were planning our Greek adventure many months ago, we certainly hadn’t envisaged Molotov cocktails being hurled in the streets of Athens, which is what has just started happening.
But for me the biggest eye-opener of recent times was something that happened 11 days ago to my friend and colleague Anton San Diego, the editor-in-chief of Philippine Tatler, who is familiar to many of you. On a Sunday in early July, Anton was with a group of friends returning from a lovely day out on a boat in Puerto Galera. The host of the party, billionaire hotelier and philanthropist Archie King, had arranged for them to return to Manila by helicopter.
About halfway through the flight, as they were chatting and joking, the helicopter was suddenly brought down by bad weather. The chopper crashed into trees, tearing off its roof and smashing its blades and tail. It flipped upside down and, were it not for a cluster of tree roots, it would have slid down into a wet, muddy ravine. Tragically, Archie and the pilot, Felicisimo Taborlupa Jr, were killed. Through some miracle, Anton and the other passengers survived with minor injuries. What was miraculous also was that the crash happened in a district that had recently formed a volunteer rescue team. The band of rescuers, who all saw what happened, sprang into action, extricating the bodies from the cockpit and helping the survivors get to hospital. These humble folk, whose world is vastly different from that of the passengers, returned to the scene of the accident to gather and safeguard the personal belongings strewn across the crash site.
When I called Anton after the accident, he spoke highly of the rescue team and was touched by their heroism. Anton also said he considered the day of the tragedy, July 5, his “second birthday, because it’s the start of my second life.”
A new lease on life gives you a new appreciation of humanity and, for me, Anton’s remarkable story is a potent reminder to savour every moment.
Berluti’s emblematic Venezia leather is crafted with a special tanning process the maison keeps secret. This beautifully treated duotone bag is an investment piece that goes equally well with workwear and weekend attire
living in the moment Sean Fitzpatrick (third from right) and
Philippine Tatler editorin-chief Anton San Diego (standing, second from left) were the life and soul of the party at the Edipresse Media Asia regional conference at the Shangri-la Rasa Sayang in Penang in June. Weeks later Anton miraculously survived a helicopter crash that tragically killed two of his companions