The British Palawan Trust

HOMEAbout PalawanThe TrustAnnual ReportNews LettersGalleryPatientsStop PressHow to HelpContactLinks




The British Palawan Trust


The Dr Socrates Rehabilitation Centre & Workshop


The unit is based in Abanico Road, Puerto Princesa and provides a number of services for the people of Palawan.   The buildings were designed locally and built by the British Palawan Trust and were opened in 2014.

 ü  Physiotherapy for post injury, cerebral palsy, post-surgery patients and those with congenital and acquired deformities.

ü  Rehabilitation for the disabled, after strokes and cerebral palsy children.

ü  Outreach Clinics arranged with the local Rural Health Units all over the province to assess patients and arrange appropriate follow up.

ü  Club Foot Treatment.  The unit is the only Ponseti Club Foot Centre in Palawan with fully trained staff.  There is a club foot clinic every week.

ü  Artificial Limbs are made in the workshop. We are the only supplier of prostheses in Palawan.

ü  Braces and basic orthoses are made by the physiotherapists and the staff of the workshop.

ü  Aids for the disabled.   Persons with disability (PWDs) are assessed and appropriate equipment is designed and made in the workshop.

ü  Support for the disabled by improving their mobility and so enabling them to attend school, college or their place of work.

We work closely with local doctors and health systems.   We also co-operate with other specialties and visiting specialists.  There is an annual visit by a team of German doctors mainly plastic surgeons who treat hare lip and cleft palate as well as some other conditions such as burns.   We refer some patients to the appropriate specialists locally to doctors such as neurologists, ENT surgeons, paediatricians, general surgeons and ophthalmologists.

 Bahatala is the name of the Philippine registered NGO.  They partner with some other national and international donors.   The name Bahatala comes from the Tagalog Bahay Hawak Tayo Lakad or in verbatim translation “House to Hold to Stand to Walk”. 

The British Palawan Trust


            Mr Jose Socrates MD FRCS Ed, “Doc Soc”, was a registrar in Ipswich when he announced that he wanted to set up a Trauma and Orthopaedic Unit in Palawan.  The British Palawan Trust was set up as a charity in June 1990, with the Orthopaedic Consultants as Trustees.   The primary aim of the charity is to improve the medical care of the peoples of Palawan with special emphasis on orthopaedics and trauma.  The real work of the Trust started in 1992 when Soc and a container of equipment arrived in Palawan.


            The main founder, driving force and organiser of the concept was Dr. Socrates but sadly he died in 2012.  'Soc' as he was called by everyone trained in medicine in The Philippines and then worked in the USA and Great Britain.    His surgical training was mainly in the UK and he worked as an Orthopaedic trainee in The Ipswich Hospital.    He built up an Orthopaedic Unit in the government hospital in Puerto Princesa the capital city of Palawan.   In addition he travelled to outlying villages.   It therefore became possible for the inhabitants of Palawan to receive their treatment for such conditions as fractures, bone infections, polio and congenital defects on the island and not rely on herbalists and "bonesetters” or fly to Manila at their own expense, as they did before The British Palawan Trust orthopaedic unit was set up.   The work of the Trust continues under the leadership of Mrs Socrates.


Mrs Cecile Socrates is very much involved following a six month study leave period in which she gained a post-graduate degree in Community Based Rehabilitation in Developing Countries from London University.  The result is the extensive Rehabilitation & Therapy Service plus a workshop supplying artificial limbs, braces, wheelchairs and equipment for the disabled.   This was originally based near the hospital but has extended to many outlying areas.  We now have a new purpose built clinic and workshop.  (see gallery) In addition Mrs Socrates is the managerial and financial administrator of the Trust in Palawan.


The clinic in Puerto Princesa is now the Club Foot Treatment (Ponseti) centre for the whole province.


The administration of the Trust is very simple.  In the UK, the Chairman runs it from the registered office and from his home. The donations come mainly from British doctors and are collected in Ipswich.   The result is that the money donated can be used directly for the expenses of patient treatment.

 News Letters are sent to donors in the UK from Palawan on a regular basis. (Please request that you are on our list by sending your address to )


In Palawan we work with a locally registered NGO (non-government organisation) called Bahatala Inc.   Bahatala is an acronym made up of the Tagalog words Bahay Hawak Tayo Lakad or in verbatim translation "House To Hold To Stand To Walk”.   There is a board of Directors who are local people plus the Chairman of the British Palawan Trust.    The money from the British Palawan Trust and from other partner organisations all goes through Bahatala Inc.


In addition we carry out training courses.   These are aimed at local doctors, nurses and other health care workers.   These courses are now held in our new clinic.


Copies of Soc's books APPROPRIATE ORTHOPAEDICS and ORTHOPAEDICS IN THE HOME AND VILLAGE (this latter is a very useful practical manual) can be obtained from the Chairman for a minimum suggested contribution of £25 each to cover production cost and postage.  The Chairman also has brochures telling the story of the Trust.    See contacts for the address.

 top of page