Sign IN >>

Our Faith Journey with Archie King
[Date Created: July 9, 2015]

by: Tony Meloto

This is a sad week for Gawad Kalinga. And for me, personally.

We lost a silent defender and enabler of the poor, and I lost a fellow outlier and a dear friend.‎

Archie King was a dreamer and doer, an adventurer and risk-taker, a man of peace who discovered the power of kindness to restore human dignity and productivity.

*He was a believer.

Archie encouraged me to dream big for God and country, for the weak and powerless who have lost their capacity to dream. ‎

I remember the first time I met him at his office ten years ago. I was still reticent about thinking big, knowing my limitations, with no legitimate claim to authority, wealth or influence.  And he said to me, “Don’t set a limit to your dream for our country. There are many of us who will help you build it.“

*Archie practiced faith in action.‎

And true to his word, as the mission of Gawad Kalinga expanded, he was there in lockstep with us, building multipurpose and livelihood centers, homes and entire communities in the most remote, calamity-stricken areas all over the country, and recently, the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED Philippines) at GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan, the first college for social entrepreneurs in Asia. He shared our vision of raising the bright graduates of rural public high schools, mostly children of farmers, to become social entrepreneurs and nation-builders, who will create jobs and lift up the bottom of the pyramid.

*Archie knew the power of presence.

Throughout our journey of building sustainable communities as a way of ending poverty, he provided ongoing encouragement for us to dream even bigger, whether through personal emails, his attendance at milestone GK events such as the annual Global Social Business Summits, as well as conferences in Singapore and in Boston. He even did a personal video, which was posted on Youtube, about the miracle of solidarity at the GK Enchanted Farm in building a 'walang iwanan' economy that does not leave the poor behind. ‎

*Archie shared his dream with his team.‎

He so believed in the mission of Gawad Kalinga and the values we espouse that most of his employees, from management to staff, undergo a 2-day immersion, leadership training, team-building and values formation at GK Enchanted Farm. Averaging 30 to 40 participants per group, they come once every month, having made a commitment to run the program for 12 months.

*‎He is the definition of a true friend.

The authenticity of Archie's friendship was a source of strength for me, over the years.

On many occasions, when I ‘d feel the burden of so much responsibility or inadequacy, he was there to provide comfort, support and encouragement. Two weeks ago I found comfort in him at his home after the recent social media ‎bashing I got following my speech at the University of Hawaii which was taken out of context by some parties with their own political or ideological agenda. It felt good to be with a true friend. Peace comes easy from those you trust and respect.

One time, he brought me to Sorsogon, with him at the helm of his helicopter. I felt secure with him as the pilot, even as he brought the chopper to a hover a few feet above the sea in Donsol, just so I could see the world-famous Butanding up close without having to get wet.

*Humility was second nature to Archie.‎

We then flew back to his place, where my wife and youngest daughter were already waiting. We spent a very peaceful, simple weekend with him and his wife, Ling-ling, to look at his free-range goats and chickens, as organic farming was our shared passion. He was an attentive host, personally overseeing our needs, making sure that we ate healthy food. It was from him that I learned about the 4 key foods essential to long life: saba, chili, rock salt‎ and raw organic eggs.

After a restful weekend, he flew us back to Manila. I felt so privileged and humbled to have such a friend with vast resources at his disposal but takes the work of ordinary people like us with great trust and respect.

And he was very personal with people he trusts‎; on two occasions he expressed to me his deep affection for his sons, Atticus and Ian, and wished that I could get to know them better.

He journeyed with us without much fanfare. He built whole communities for the victims of typhoon Yolanda in Antique and former rebel territory in Candoni, Negros Occidental -  remote rural areas deliberately chosen because these not did receive much publicity and attention, but needed much help.

*Archie went beyond charity.

His most recent passion with us was the ArchAngel Center for Arts and Culture at GK Enchanted Farm, so named after him and his wife Lingling.‎

Archie King at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Arch Angel Center for Culture and the Arts 

The ArchAngel Center is a testament to his belief in the vision of the Farm Village University, an ecosystem that brings together industry, community, and university that will raise a global army of 500, 000 social entrepreneurs by 2024. He was helping us build the mentorship and incubation hub -- the Silicon Valley for social entrepreneurs for the rising poor -- in Bulacan, where we turned around what was once a quarry in Angat into a thriving, enabling environment for the poor to rise and become inclusive wealth creators.

*Archie will always be with us.

Across the nation, he will forever live in the hearts of our GK communities. Not just in the structures he built but the love for the poor in which he infused them. He left us a legacy of compassion, courage and commitment.

Rest well Archie.

We will soon get over the shock and the pain.‎ ‎You left so suddenly my dear friend, with such finality, that we were not given the chance to bargain with God to spare you again the way that our prayers were granted with your miraculous recovery in Germany.

But we will move on. We will show our love for you by loving the poor more.

You left us enough love, hope and faith to continue the journey to a better life for our country and our people.        

This was the last time that I saw Archie. He and Lingling went to the Enchanted Farm last October 2014, using the same helicopter that crashed earlier today, to celebrate the GK Expo and Social Business Summit. But Tony was with Archie a few weeks ago, to invite Archie to be a member of the board of advisers for the Enchanted Farm - an invitation Archie gladly accepted. He was particularly interested in supporting the SEED Program where children of poor farmers were being given rare opportunities for entrepreneurial education inside the Enchanted Farm of GK.

It was about ten years ago when he asked to meet with GK, when it was decided that their foundation, AKFI, would fund 10-15 multipurpose buildings in GK villages annually. Two years ago, Archie funded a hard-to-reach village in San Remigio, Antique. Last year, he funded a second village in Candoni, Negros Occ. So many in GK owe Archie King a debt now impossible to repay - except to honor him and the dream he shared with us.

Archie, I know you see and you hear. Accept our gratitude, and watch over the many you have lifted from fear and suffering. Thank you, thank you. #‎walangiwanan

Jose Ma. Montelibano

Angelo King Foundation Inc. partnership with Gawad Kalinga

In 2006, Angelo King Foundation Inc. expressed their desire to partner with GK. They too, shared the same vision and principles as GK. AKFI became an integral part of “building communities” by constructing multipurpose halls nationwide. They believe that these multipurpose halls can be a venue where the community can come together and learn and live the right values of caring sharing. Over the span of 9 years, AKFI has helped build 70 MPHs in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Apart from these, 2 Arch Angel GK Villages have also been built in San Remigio, Antique and Candoni, Negros Occidental. Today, AKFI continues to support the vision and mission of GK through the spirit of Walang Iwanan.

Arch Angel Center for Arts and  Culture

Arch Angel Villages

Multipurpose Halls

Who we are | FAQs | Archive | Contact Us
Copyright 2014 GK1WORLD All rights reserved | designed by Gawad Kalinga Marketing Team