Trip Report: SOS Children’s Village in Iloilo

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Three of us visited SOS Children’s Village in Zarraga, Iloilo in December of 2008.  SOS Children’s Village Philippines is part of an international charity which provides long-term care to orphaned, abandoned and neglected Filipino children.  128 children reside at SOS Iloilo. There are six other SOS villages in the Philippines, caring for over 700 children in total.  The centers also provide outreach care and other services to families and communities near each SOS location. These “Family Strengthening Programs” help another 1,000 families in Iloilo and Guimaras Province.

Bob has thirty years of experience in the U.S. working for government and non-government organizations providing social services, including a residential center for children in New Hampshire.  He came away from the visit very impressed with the SOS Iloilo operation.

SOS began in Austria and expanded worldwide.  Funds come mainly from overseas, and oversight is through the Austrian offices.  The entire physical plant was well financed, beautifully planned, executed and maintained.  The staff is all Filipino and provide warm, compassionate, competent and focused care based on SOS principles.  The combination of Filipino compassion and European financing and oversight is a happy one.

SOS villages are limited in size.  They attempt to provide as family-like a life for the children as possible.  About ten children live more or less permanently in each home-like cottage, or at least until they are ready to live on their own.  The cottages have their own kitchens and all cooking is done by the mother with help from the family.  Having this arrangement, instead of a central kitchen and dining hall, helps maintain the homey rather than institutional feel of SOS.   The cottages are managed by single women who serve the role  of SOS mother.  The other children in the cottages are brothers and sisters.  The mothers have considerable responsibility and independence in running their cottages, all within general SOS guidelines and standards.  The overall village is each child’s community.  These are the basic principles underlying SOS.  They are a breath of fresh air in their simplicity and freedom from academic or social-work jargon.

SOS Children's Village - Iloilo. Visitor orientation

SOS Children's Village - Iloilo. Visitor orientation

Our tour was led by Ging Batogon (above) who showed us a video about SOS, its founder , its philosophy and its operations, patiently answered our many questions and then led us on a tour of the SOS Iloilo campus.

SOS Children's Village - Iloilo.  The campus

SOS Children's Village - Iloilo. The campus is beautifully laid-out and landscaped.

Cottage - SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Individual residences are called family homes at SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

The cottages very skilfully incorporate traditional themes from Filipino domestic architecture and also some practical aspects too, such as the roof louvers which allow hot air to exit the roof and wide roof overhangs.  There are lots of windows which open.  These and other details help keep these un-air conditioned residences comfortable in the tropical Philippines.

Cottage Living Room, SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Cottage Living Room, SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

The furniture is made by local craftsmen, another way that SOS supports the community in which it is located.

Cottage Bedroom - SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Cottage Bedroom - SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Peace Corps Volunteer - SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Peace Corps Volunteer - SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Would-be stowaway!  SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

Would-be stowaway! SOS Children's Village, Iloilo

While we have no ties to SOS, we do feel we can recommend it as an extremely well-run Philippine charity.  If you are looking for a trustworthy Philippine charity, consider supporting SOS.  If you’d like to visit, just call ahead and we’re sure you too will be impressed.  There are SOS villages in Manila, Bataan, Lipa (Batangas), Cebu, Tacloban, Calbayog (Samar) and Davao.  The phone number of the Iloilo SOS Village is +63-33-525-4563.

Visit the SOS website: www.sosphilippines.org

Comments (7) Write a comment

  1. Thank you so much for helping poor families in my home town (Zarraga,Iloilo). You are a blessings to those children who cannot afford to go to school. My 2 grandchildren were enrolled in your school there this year. God bless you and more power.

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  2. I am happy to see the village of the SOS childrens ILOILO. I have 2 children here then 7 years ago and it is a great pleasure to see dem grow up. Thank you for this site! Adolf Pösniker.

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  3. i am retired and would like to volunteert my time at SOS Children’s Village. can anyone tell who i can contact.

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  4. thanks to SOS Calbayog, they are my inspriring family I ever had, even though Im not a SOS children, but I avail their benefits through my scholarship program.. and now I already graduated with the help of SOS Calbayog, thank you so much”,>!!!

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  5. Pingback: Our house project – design devolution at goILOILO.com

  6. I was born and raise in iloilo city. My parents live in one of Lapaz subdv. I and the whole family serve in the sta. teresita parish since we were young,until i got married to a canadian and been here in canada for 19 years. i’m looking forward to see my hometown with my kids. i always proud telling them about the city. i was empress what i see in here. its so beautiful and i’m feeling of being home already. wow! good job guys! i wish and pray for all of you. is it ok if i could put your link in my facebook?. thanks and i’m happy to found your website. god bless.

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