Latest Stories

Read-along in world of orphans, abandoned


SISTER Milagros Tible reads Aleli Dew Batnag’s “Si Ching na Takot sa Dilim” during the Inquirer Read-Along held at Holy Cross Childrens’ Home in Tabaco City. JUAN ESCANDOR JR.

A read-along event in Tabaco City in Albay has unveiled a different world in a facility run by nuns dedicated to providing food, shelter, clothing, education and care to abandoned and orphaned children.

The smiling faces of children, aged 6 to 13 years, huddled to listen to two story readers could be deceiving. They somehow managed to hide their past after they took shelter at Holy Cross Children’s Home, which is managed by the Sisters of St. John the Baptist.

Sister Evelyn Ceballo, the home administrator, said the children had not been cared for by their parents and were suffering from malnutrition before they took shelter at the facility. Forty-two children are now staying there.

“I hope the read-along event will be a way for these unfortunate children to be helped by kindhearted people out there,” she said. The Inquirer Read-Along team came on Dec. 15 last year.


Despite their situation, they were cheerful and receptive to the stories about an insecure dog and a girl afraid of darkness, which were read by Bishop Joel Baylon of the Legazpi Diocese and Sister Milagros Tible.

Baylon read “Putot” (written by Mike Birgonia and illustrated by Charles Funk), a story about the dog named Putot who whined about his short tail and compared himself to other animals with longer tails until he met a worm who was all tails and nothing more.

A girl named Esperanza said she could relate to Putot because even with her misfortune, she was still lucky for having the nuns to care of them.

Esperanza had been sent back to her parents after recovering from severe malnutrition but she had to be taken back here because of a relapse, Ceballo said.

“She is now in high school and can help us care for other young children in the facility,” the nun said.


Tible read the story of a girl named Ching who developed a fear of darkness because of her adult relatives who frightened her with imaginary monsters and creatures lurking in the dark.

Written by Aleli Dew Batnag with illustrations by Paul Eric Roca, “Si Ching na Takot sa Dilim” narrates Ching’s plight who was able to overcome her fear by discovering that there was nothing to it.

The Sisters of St. John the Baptist, who are called Baptistines, is a religious congregation founded by Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco, a priest who helped educate uncared for children during the war in the late 1800 in Italy.

Started in 1878, the Baptistines spread all over Italy and to the United States, and are now in 16 countries in five continents.

Ceballo said the facility here was opened 18 years ago so the sisters could care for children from different parts of Bicol and neighboring areas. Six Baptistines and six lay staff handle the rehabilitation and education program of resident-children through donations.


DSWD referrals

The children are taken based on referrals from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which yearly accredits the facility based on its compliance with certain requirements.

Even though some requirements such as the “voluminous documentation” could be “bothersome,” Ceballo said the sisters must comply so they could continue serving the children.

At the nursery, four toddlers were being fed. The youngest was a 2-year-old girl diagnosed with a brain defect from extreme malnutrition.

In another instance, during the Read-Along team’s visit, an orphaned girl, whose parents were said to belong to the Mangyan tribe, cried when she saw the “strangers.”

“We have to rely on Divine Providence and the kindness of people who care for the children,” Ceballo said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Books , Children , Education , Orphan , Reading

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  5. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  6. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  7. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  8. Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  9. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  10. Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Ex-church leader nabbed for selling drugs
  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Sports

  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace