My family loves going on a trip, whether it’s a long weekend getaway up north or a day tour in the south. We live in the south side of the metro, thus nearby tourist spots are more accessible from our end. One of the most common places we go to is Tagaytay. It’s approximately 50 kilometers away and about an hour drive from our place. We usually drive to Tagaytay on weekends when we badly need a breather.
Our usual itinerary consists of an early morning visit to The Adoration Chapel of Pink Sisters where we offer our petitions, then have our usual lunch at Josephine’s Restaurant. Sometime last year, we did things differently. Mom and Dad took us to the Chosen Children Village Foundation in Silang, Cavite. Founded by Mrs. Maria Angeles Peypoch-Fullerton in 1989, the village is a safe haven, a home for life, for abandoned children who are physically and mentally challenged. The non-profit organization first came about in their Las Piñas residence, but eventually had to find a bigger place in order to house the growing number of children needing a home and family.
My mother first knew about CCVF from family friends, Tita Espyh and Tita Gina, who sponsor a child there. In one of their visits to CCVF, Mom joined them. She met most of the kids in the village; she even remembered some of their names. Mom’s visit to CCVF made her sponsor a child, too. As standard procedure, the staff asked her to choose among the kids who she wanted to sponsor. Mom said she will be fine with anyone who needed sponsorship the most, so she let the staff decide on her behalf. There was one particular kid who really caught her attention during her stay.
Her name is Nicole. Nicole was born with cerebral palsy (spastic quadriplegia). When Mom received her first newsletter from CCVF, she was surprised to find out that they had given Nicole as her beneficiary. To my Mom, she thought Nicole was heaven-sent; that they were meant for each other.
The Chosen Children Village Foundation is situated at a very secluded place. Suddenly, it felt like we were in another place when we entered the vicinity. It was serene and really looked like a small village with a few living cottages. The building by the main entrance houses the head office. There is a photo gallery of all the children in the village as well as the trust fund board members. It’s cozy; you will really feel at home in an instant.
We were welcomed by one of the CCVF staff (I forgot her name, though). Apart from Mom, it was my family’s first time to visit, so staff member had to brief us with the essentials before taking us for a tour around the village. There are two schedules of visiting hours. We were lucky to be accommodated because we only went there by chance. In the afternoon, the children roam around the village. There is a playground for kids who are capable of playing outdoors. In-house nurses or volunteers look after them while they play. The kids call them “Mommy” or “Daddy”. Sometimes, the older children take the babies and those with cerebral palsy who ride in strollers for a walk.
Not all kids in the village are mentally or physically challenged. Some of them, only a month-or-so old, were abandoned by their parents. In most cases, these little ones are more eligible for adoption. Did I mention the children in the village speak in fluent English? To my surprise, they did. We even made friends with one of them. His name is Michael.
He has Down’s Syndrome and is already a teenager. While Mom and Dad were talking to Miss Accommodating Staff Member, we were greeted by Michael. He was about to take his bike for a ride when he saw us. Our conversation went something like this:
Brothers and I: Hello.
Michael: My name is Michael. What’s yours?
(We introduced ourselves to him.)
Michael: Nice meeting you, Jae, Roi, and Vanjo.
Michael referring to Vanjo: You’re tall. Do you play basketball? (Vanjo nods.) I play basketball. By the way, I’m taking my bike for a ride. Do you know how to ride a bike, too?
We answered in unison, and then Michael went on with the story about the stuff they do in the village. I paid close attention to him as he talked animatedly. Never did I feel an ounce of shame as he engaged a conversation with us strangers. He was full of confidence and completely oblivious to the “outside world”. I had learned later on that they were raised in an English-speaking community in order to adapt to their foster family in case they get adopted. They were not exposed to the television in order for them to learn to interact with the people around them, and this was evident of Michael. Some of them were taught to read and write; basic mathematics, even.
Not only did they learn the ABC’s; they were taught good manners and discipline, too. Whenever they misbehaved, their “Mommy” or “Daddy” sent them to “The Kitchen” for detention. Their “punishment” meant that they will help in the preparation of their food in “The Kitchen” for hours. It meant that they were not allowed to hang out with their friends until their “punishment” has been lifted.
One of the functioning kids (I’d rather not say the child’s name) Mom knew about was in “The Kitchen” when she asked for him. According to Miss Accommodating Staff Member, he had been acting mischievously, thus he was always sent for detention. He has the tendency to steal things from the cottages whenever something is stressing him out. It is kind of sad that for this reason, he is no longer eligible for adoption. Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton had become concerned that he may never outgrow this inappropriate behavior, and eventually cause problems to the adopting family.
Our spontaneous visit to the Chosen Children Village Foundation was definitely a humbling experience. It allowed me to appreciate life more. I commend the people behind the growing success of the organization. When you see these kids, you will not pity them; in fact, you will admire them. You will regard them equally with respect. It was overwhelming. I would say they were not the chosen children, but we were. We were the chosen ones. We were chosen to see and experience these things in order to value what we have in life—our family, friends, and all of God’s blessings. In this trip, I realized that not only did we do things differently, but we ended up seeing things differently.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child or children at the Chosen Children Village Foundation, you may contact them through the following details:
Ma. Angeles P. Fullerton
Founder of CCI and CCV
Chosen Children, Inc.
Nursery and Headquarters
#6 Ilocos Abra St., Philamlife Village
Las Piñas City, Philippines
Telephone: (632) 872 5022
Fax: (632) 872 1760
Chosen Children Village
Km. 49, Aguinaldo Highway, Lalaan 2
4118 Silang, Cavite, Philippines
Telephone: (046) 414 2667 / (046) 414 2669 / (02) 401 1189
Contact Details for Chosen Children USA
c/o Natania Meredith
201 E. Collingswood Ave.,
Haddon TWSP, NJ 08107
Telephone: (267) 516 5442
c/o Karen King
625 Abingdon Drive
Oxford, PA 19363
Telephone: (610) 932 5883
Mailing Information for Chosen Children USA
c/o Ms. Rebecca Killebrew
3713 Appleby Court
Glenwood, MD 21738
Telephone: (410) 442 2994 / (410) 489 4988
Contact Details for Chosen Children Filipinas
Fax: (343) 202 3390
This is not a sponsored post nor am I, in any way, affiliated to the above-mentioned organization.