HomeAbout UsHow Can You HelpProgramsDonateWish ListGalleryVideosNews & StoriesContact UsBlog
The cross wrought by man; the Cross brought by God

I WAS listening to the homily of Fr. Chao and he focused on the crosses that come into our lives. The first one, the cross wrought by man, is easy to relate with. In life, man brings upon man many crosses. The cross of betrayal, denial, false witness, lies, physical hurt, abusive language and many other persecutions.

However, when he mentioned the cross brought upon us by God, I had to stop, think and reflect. Does God in all His almighty compassion and mercy consciously bestow upon us crosses to bear? We know of His graces and blessings, but crosses?

I had a classic answer to my questioning mind when I attended the blessing of the new home of Haven in Taculing.

The story of Haven started when Phil Seckler, a retired social worker, together with his wife Cecilia, likewise a social worker, decided to come home to the Philippines. With Phil’s monthly pension, they could live comfortably but God had other plans.

A severely sickly child was brought into their home. The Secklers took care of the child and gave him the much needed medical attention, not realizing that a new vocation was activated in their lives. Phil and Cecilia began rescuing children - the malnourished, the abused, the battered, the abandoned. Children who in their tender years have suffered crosses wrought on by their fellowmen and saddest part of the tale is that it is usually by one’s own kin!

It is horrifying to learn that children as young as three years old are raped or sold to prostitution by their own family members. It is appalling to see children beaten, banged like worthless pieces of wood. But such are the crosses wrought by man. So inhumane!

As the numbers grew, Haven Home was born and Phil and Cecilia became Mom and Dad to these broken children. There were mounting problems but the couple hanged on to their mission until, one day, they were to be evicted.

Haven was now home to 30 children. Although God allows crosses to step into our lives, He always sends His instruments. Entering into their lives was Anna Balcells.

Anna was a returning resident who lived in Barcelona, Spain for countless years. Anna’s father Alberto Balcells was sick and she decided to come home and take care of him. When he passed on, Anna likewise decided to stay on and take care of her mom.

Anna’s friend, Elaine Eleazar, who was aware of the plight of Phil and Cecilia, brought Anna to Haven. This was in the dead of night and the house was dark but the place reverberated with children’s laughter. That was enough to move Anna to a commitment.

A phone call to a generous friend and a new home was bought for the Secklers and the children. This move also ushered in the establishment of Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Inc.

To date, there are now five homes under the care of Kalipay and Anna has not only exhausted her energies in finding funding for these abused and abandoned children which now totals 300 here in the Philippines but she has also extended her efforts to distant shores . As of last year, Kalipay, Spain Foundation, Inc. was organized as well.

A year or so ago, Anna called me asking for a property where they can build a bigger home for the children of Haven. After much deliberation and discernment, the Board decided to tear down the original house and build a bigger one.

Where to get the funds was another cross but Anna was unwavering. She knew that God will provide that. Indeed, help came. Vladi Gonzales with his team of men came and wiped out the dilapidated home. Norman Campos, the architect husband of Gigi who is one of the directors of Kalipay, designed the new home which is complete with living quarters for toddlers, girls and boys and for the staff. There were bathrooms adjacent to these rooms. There is an office, a library, a clinic, kitchen and classrooms plus all the facilities needed for the care, health and nutrition of the children.

While God sent a cross, He also sent a blessing. Anna was able to find a benefactor for the New Haven Home. It is equipped to take care of these children who have suffered the atrocities brought on by man. There is a pediatrician who has tirelessly given his services to monitor the health of the kids.

What is wanting, though, is a child psychologist who can treat the traumas experienced by these kids. Anna says that, despite all the love and attention bestowed upon these children, there are cases when the grown child succumbs to depression and total lack of self worth.

When cases like this surface, then they have to send the child to Manila to be supervised by a child psychologist there. If only we have one here in Bacolod, then it can cut the mounting obligations on top of the daily needs, food, clothing, education and all the basic necessities that come with the rearing of children.

Anna says that the new Haven is a refuge for children who want to be rescued from the harsh punishments they are subjected to and a place to run to for help. Kalipay works directly with the DSSW and they have social workers in their team to assess the situation of the children.

The cross wrought by man is so evident when you hear the stories of these children. I cower in shame when I compare my personal woes to them. The cross wrought by God is the responsibility handed on to Anna and her team and the noble persons like Phil and Cecilia. I stand in awe how they have embraced this most trying cross. It is not easy to meet even just our own daily obligations, more so for 300 or more children who are bruised and wounded inside and out!

While we all cannot donate an edifice, our donations no matter how small or seemingly insignificant can buy a pencil for the school needs of the children or some soap for their hygiene.

Collectively the small donations can amount to much, especially when given from the heart and most meritorious in heaven. In our small, secret way, let us help Anna and Kalipay and bear part of the cross, especially in this season of Lent.

By Luci Lizares

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 17, 2012.

Abused Children Can Escape, ‘Kalipay’ is their Refuge


It was with tears that Anna Balcells acknowledged how retired social workers Philip Seckler and wife Cecilia had changed her outlooks in life and vowed to pursue a "thankless" job of providing concrete facilities for children who are homeless, sexually and physically abused, the out of school youth and special children.

Last March 7, 2012, Father Narciso de la Cruz prayed and blest the "Haven House Kalipay Home" at 12 Neptune Street, Fuentebella Subdivision where twenty five young children initially raised by the Seckler couple smiled as they sang and danced to a small group gathering.

Anna Balcells said, "Behind those smiles, you should hear the horrible stories of these children individually."

The crimes committed are known to those working for them under the Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Inc., but being very young, some of them cannot define their inner pain and suicide can be an option. These cases, she said, has to be brought to Manila for proper therapy and treatment but which is very expensive.

Running a haven for broken children, therefore, Anna Balcells articulated a very strong message to fellow Negrenses during the blessing of the "Haven House", that they need all the help "in whatever way, in whatever amount" as this gargantuan task of saving children is awesome.

She does not have access to funding agencies so drawing money from her pocket, calls her group of committed friends and the mission is "to save a 5-year old kid gangraped at midnight in one of the streets of Bacolod".

"Miracles and miracles" is how Anna Balcells and friends described the establishment of Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Inc. back in 2007 and two days ago, in a private property, a haven was built that can comfortably accommodate 40 children.

An apt response to what the Kalipay website reads, "Of the 1.6 million street children in the Philippines, 60,000 are prostituted. Six million Filipino children are malnourished. Roughly 28 children get arrested everyday or more than one child for every hour."


Contact Kalipay Negrense Foundation , Inc., 63 34 7091215; 63 34 4953500 and Mobile 93917 700 2345 for your donations.*

Abused children get new refuge

A bigger home where abused children can seek refuge and hide from their abusers has risen in Bacolod City.

The home has 30 children, many  of whom have been abused,   but it  now has the capacity for 40, Kalipay Negrense Foundation Inc. president Anna Balcells said yesterday.

The old Haven House–A Kalipay Home building at Fuentebella Subdivision in Bacolod City that was run down and being eaten by termites  has been torn down and a new one that can accommodate more children has been built by KNFI with a hefty donation from  her philanthropist friend from Manila who asked not to be named, Balcells said.

The original Haven House building and property had  been purchased by KNFI in 2007 with the help  of another Balcell’s friend,   Elizabeth Sy, daughter of taipan Henry Sy, owner of the SM Group of Companies.

Haven House  was originally located at a rented house in Bacolod, run by  American social worker Philip Seckler, 75, and his wife Cecilia Garcia from Negros Occidental, using their pension from the States, when Balcells learned that they were running out of money and food for the children.

Haven’s Home is the reason Balcells started KNFI, she said,  because she needed to buy the Secklers a permanent home for the children they were caring for, and to form a foundation because donations were coming  in. KNFI has since grown and now  fully owns and manages  Haven House in Bacolod City since the Seklers have retired,  and   Recovered Treasures–A Kalipay Home in Bago City.

In March last year Balcells said she was talking to a friend, Miguel Bonet, Kalipay’s ambassador in Spain,  about her need to raise funds to  build a new house for Haven,  which her philanthropist  friend overheard.

“The next day she came to me and said  I want you to build that house and I said, but how, I don’t have the money,” Balcells said.

To which  the philanthropist  said “Build the house and I will give you the entire amount you need for it,” Balcells added.

The new  building is a two-storey house  with three big rooms with  bathrooms  for the children, she said.

It also has a library-classroom for children who cannot go to school, a time out room for those suffering from trauma who become violent, a kitchen, living room, an office for social workers, clinic, two rooms for volunteers who help care of the children,   and a wall has also been built around the property to keep the children safe.

This new home for Haven  is a gift to the disadvantaged and abused children of Negros Occidental and Bacolod, Balcells said.

None of the money for the building came from Negros, Balcells said, but she appealed to Negrenses to help Kalipay sustain at least,  the monthly needs of the home that cost about P150,000  for food, medicine, clothing and the education of the children living there.

“We want this house to be a refuge for children who are being abused, they can run there and we will take them in,” Balcells said.

“We want to put notices out  that if a child is being beaten up and hurt we can take them in at Haven,” Balcells said.

Balcells said they have a room separate from the main house where social workers can assess and care for children who run to them for help.

“This new house is  well thought out with the intention of being a refuge. We hear a lot of stories of children who are abused who don’t know where to run to hide and seek help, we want to be that place for them,” Balcells  said.

Those interested in helping Kalipay may call 09177002345 or 7091215,  or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .*CPG


by Carla Gomez

Working Induction by Bacolod City Sugarlandia Lions Club

On Nov. 19, 2011, Bacolod City Sugarlandia Lions Club celebrated their 38th Charter Anniversary and Induction of Officers held at Bacolod Pavillion Resort Hotel. Kids from Kalipay Haven Home were their special guests. Their President Pureza V. Taneza, assisted by Virgie C. Lopue gave donations and gift packs to the kids. Kalipay Board Member Elaine Eleazer gave her Acceptance Speech while the kids also gave an intermission number.

Medical & Surgical Mission at Kalipay Home


On Nov. 12, 2011 Kalipay Home was privileged to avail of the medical and surgical mission  headed by Cham Dacles of St. Scholastica’s Alumni. The kids were given free vitamins and antibiotics after free consultation & circumcision .

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Page 5 of 5