Beyond Pin Points: A reminder that cars can serve a higher purpose

It’s not easy to tug at my heart strings. Desensitized might be the appropriate word since I’ve visited different shelters in my life. My mom, who used to be a Director in DSWD, took me to select activities involving neglected people of all ages. Then there’s my college NSTP program that did feeding activities to nearby shelters from our university. Finally, I did some pro-bono work before as a photographer that also involved shelters. 

Do not be mistaken, there is empathy within me for these people. It’s just that over time, I became desensitized and it’s not easy to tug at my strings anymore. That is until last week. 

Volkswagen Philippines invited me to drive the Volkswagen Tharu, their newest crossover. I thought it would be the usual day trip drive going somewhere to eat, talk, shoot the cars, and go home. They surprised us when they said before we go to the lunch destination, we’ll be dropping by somewhere. They showed us the goods that will be donated, but they didn’t say the destination. I thought it would either be a children’s shelter or an elderly shelter. 

The Chosen Children Village is home for abandoned children with mental and physical disabilities. It sits in a spacious parcel of land that’s a good distance away from the highway. It has 11 cottages, a chapel, school, administration clinic, physical therapy centers, a pet area, and a spacious garden/play area. I don’t have many photos since most of the areas have kids and they’re avoiding having them seen in public. 

Josh Altarejos, COO of Volkswagen Philippines, briefing us about Chosen Children Village

Caring might be their daily priority but for those who are physically able and mentally improving, the administrators strive for their small independence. Paul, for example, is one of the first young adults we met. He’s in his early 20s and he’s suffering from Cerebral Palsy, like many of the children in the village. Still, he walked to us, introduced himself, and shared that his daily task now is sweeping away the leaves in the garden since his condition is not as severe as the others. 

Paul grew up in the village. They got him when he was still an infant as the village has a rule of only getting children that are below 2 years old. He has ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ that aren’t as lucky as him. Some are stuck to their wheelchairs while others are bound by cloth because of their self-harming nature. But Paul stood out to me because the brief talk with him felt genuine. I felt like he was really glad there’s a new face that visited their home. 

CCV has their own little school

There are few who are more able than Paul, both older and younger than him. The younger ones, or toddlers, are up for adoption. I’ve heard it a lot of times already – once a child reaches a certain age, they’re not enticing to be adopted anymore. This is why a number of residents in the village are already young adults.

Looking at them from afar, one would say they’re already well-off relatively. They have their own spacious facility, they have dedicated medical personnel apart from the administrators, and the children have their own beds. However, it’s still not enough. The medical care isn’t free, so is the electricity that reaches up to 90 thousand due to the needs of the children. 

This is why they’re very thankful with the donation that we got for them. One of my favorite modern songs is ‘Every Piece Matters’ by Plini and that title rings true for the Chosen Children Village. Caring for these children requires a lot of not just dedication, but resources as well. Every donation, no matter how big or small, matters a lot for them. 

As for me, I’m thankful for Volkswagen Philippines. They reminded me that cars are not just for going from home to work, home to mall, or home to gig in my case. It goes beyond pin points on Google Maps or Waze. We can use our cars to help others, no matter how small or trivial it is.  

You can visit to see how you can visit them, have an immersion, donate, or sponsor a child. 

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