Bukas Palad Foundation
of the Philipines, Inc.

The Bukas Palad Story

In 1983, when people were in the streets of Manila, rallying for change in government, the youth of the Focolare Movement (an ecclesial movement within the Catholic Church founded by Chiara Lubich; aims to fulfill the Last Testament of Jesus, “May all men be one”) made another choice instead: to change their lives by practicing the culture of giving. They aimed particularly at marginalized areas and together they decided to help those communities concretely in relation to their basic needs.

With the intention to uplift the people in these communities from poverty and restore their dignity as human persons. They opened their cabinets and tried to see those things that they no longer used or other superfluous items and raised money through a rummage sale. Furthermore, some of those youth were medical practitioners, so they rendered medical services, free of charge, to these people. Attracted by the example of the youth, a family from the neighboring barangay offered the youth the use of their garage as a medical clinic and eventually, people gathered in the place so that they could be oriented and get assisted in their health needs.

Believing in that phrase of the gospel that says, “Freely you receive, freely you give” (Mt.10:8), these young people decided to name the present agency, Bukas Palad (BP) because of this discovery and experience. Bukas Palad has spread even to other parts of the country where there is Focolare: in Tagaytay (1985), Cebu (1987), Davao (1988), and La Union (2000).

Bukas Palad has become a social initiative of the Focolare in the Philippines. These social centers provide integrated and holistic services in their respective communities. Through the rapport that was established in time by means of living the Spirituality of Unity, which is typical to the Focolare, the recipients became partners. Being a partner, they were able to experience and discover the value of helping other members of the community and themselves, through their own experiences, became living witnesses of this new reality. As a result, these recipients became protagonist in encouraging other members of their community that anyone may overcome the enslavement of poverty and rediscover their dignity as children of God; this was the experience of the majority of the workers who come from the community itself.