The Bukas Palad Music Ministry, the best-known religious choir based in the Philippines, celebrated its 37th anniversary on June 7.
Written initially, religious music is created, recorded, and performed by this Catholic musical ensemble. They spread the gospel through their popular music.
“Bukas Palad” means, in Filipino, "generous" and literally, "open palm."
The mission of the unidentified group was launched in 1986 at a wedding held at the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in San Beda, Manila. They quickly recorded and released CDs of original music.
The group formally said in a statement in 1988 that their goal is to share and enliven the faith through music, fully cognizant of how inspired faith can enhance people's lives.
Composers, arrangers, performers, and choreographers all came from the ensemble.
Every year, Bukas Palad performed in various locations, including auditoriums, churches, schools, plazas, and once a cockpit.
In collaboration with the Jesuit Music Ministry of the Jesuit Communications Foundation, a division of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus with its main office at Ateneo de Manila University, Bukas Palad has produced several CDs since 1986.
The group has also performed over a hundred solo concerts overseas, including in Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Canada, and the Philippines.
The group’s beginnings can be linked to a few musically gifted individuals, including Norman Agatep, Jandi Arboleda, and Jesuit Father Francisco Manoling. The three started penning liturgical songs while still in high school.
Through their widespread use in Catholic Masses and other liturgical occasions, their songs finally gained popularity.
Agatep and Arboleda recruited several friends to perform at a wedding in 1986, shortly after Francisco joined the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.
Ignatius of Loyola and his six companions established the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order for men, 1540 with Pope Paul III's approval.
The group continued singing and eventually recorded "Bukas Palad," which also became the group's name, their debut album of original songs.
Agatep, Arboleda, Francisco, and other members have written and recorded one hundred unique liturgical and inspiring songs.
Even though most of them lacked professional musical training, their avant-garde music, based on various Biblical passages and religious lyrics, has become increasingly popular. Despite this, the group has been successful in making a reputation for itself in the Filipino music scene.
Here are some of the notable hymns most popular in the Philippines—"Hindî Kitá Malílimutan" ("I Will Not Forget You"), "Tanging Yaman" ("Only Treasure"), "Sa 'Yo Lamang" ("Only Yours"), "Anima Christi," "Humayo't Ihayág" ("Go Forth and Proclaim") and "I Will Sing Forever."
Numerous of their musical interpretations of the Gloria, the Lord's Prayer, and the "Agnus Dei" (the Latin name under which the "Lamb of God") are well-known across the nation.
The songs of Bukas Palad have also been sung by well-known Filipino musicians, including Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Basil Valdez, Jamie Rivera, Joey Albert, Cooky Chua, and Noel Cabangon.
Numerous media, including radio, television, and film, have highlighted Bukas Palad. Films and television shows have been inspired by Bukas Palad's works, including the 2010 film Sa 'Yo Lamang and the 2010 series Tanging Yaman.
The group offers training on liturgical music to choral groups and parish communities and outreach programs for the underprivileged, including the elderly, orphans, sick, and incarcerated people.
Bukas Palad is a highly regarded performance ensemble that has performed in churches, theaters, concert halls, conference centers, and shopping malls and uses its music for liturgical purposes.
During Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, Bukas Palad sang songs in a Mass in January 2015.
Through its music ministry, Bukas Palad continues to praise the love and mercy of God. - Santosh Digal
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.