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My Second Thanksgiving in the Philippines

Last year we had a Thanksgiving Dinner in my house. It was a group endeavor. We had eight guests plus our house of five.  It was a nice day with wine, antipasto salad and a full dinner of ham and turkey with all the extras that are available here.

It was a lot of work and most of it was from my friend Louis who is a whiz in the kitchen and even helped me with one of my duties to make a pumpkin pie. He made the pie crusts and was here to assist me with the fillings.

This year we have no such plans. A restaurant in town is offering a Thanksgiving turkey meal including pumpkin pie. There is also plans for a joint anniversary and birthday dinner for some of our friends at the Marco Polo Hotel. Unfortunately, the Marco Polo is not offering an American Thanksgiving special at their restaurants.

What I do want to write about one of the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving in most American homes. The holiday was originally created to celebrate how the Native Americans helped the starving Pilgrims who had traveled to a new land to leave a country with no freedom of religion at that time.  The Native Americans brought foods to share with these strange people who ended up at their shores.

To me, it has a common link to my life. I moved to a country because it would have been difficult to remain in America due to the loss of job and low prospects of finding reasonable income to survive well and to bring Elena to join me there.

Instead, just like the Pilgrims, I moved to a strange land with different customs, lifestyle and language. With this, I am thankful for many things. I came and married a wonderful woman. Her country, her friends and her family accepted me. Even though I have a small savings to help support us, Elena and her family help us too. We are not rich, but we are able to live decently.

Since there are many foods that my family eats that I would not enjoy, at those times Elena has learned to use the local foods available and cook them in ways I enjoy. Elena also has shown me there are many foods here we all can enjoy.

I am also thankful for the home we live. It is not a modern home and has its problems but it is ours. We plan in the future to save and purchase or build a nicer home, but for now, it is a plan and a dream.

I have met many Filipinos and consider them as friends of mine.  It is not the close friendship but there is a respect when I am at their home or they visit mine. I have also met many Expats from many countries. Some have become good friends and some are in a level of respect and friendly attitudes to each other.

With my open and friendly attitude, I have met and enjoy seeing people at the malls, shops, and markets. I am often stopped by a Filipino who I had met in the past and they always stop me to say hello and ask how I am doing.

I am also thankful for my health. With the changes of climate, conditions and lifestyle here, I have not suffered any medical problems. I have actually lost weight and in a better physical condition than when I first moved here.

I am also thankful for this site. Through it, I have developed a readership that visit my site and enjoy my commentary about life in the Philippines. Through this site I have helped and been helped by some of the reader. Some have moved or visited here and I had the pleasure to meet in person.

This site has also taught me about the internet and the difficulty to make an income from it. At first, I thought this site would provide me with an income to improve our life here. Once I found out this would not happen, I did not give up. American in Davao has become part of me, and even though difficult to keep thinking of content to post the three times a week, I have not given up.

Most of all, I want to say “Thank you Elena and the whole Libres clan for giving me a new and wonderful life with new reasons to be happy and thankful.”

I wish all my readers, no matter where you live or if you celebrate a “Thanksgiving Day” a wonderful life and many things for you to be thankful.

22 Responses to “My Second Thanksgiving in the Philippines”

  1. don m. says:

    I have three days off in a row which is good for me. We have been very busy at Albertsons as people are buying for the holiday. I hope all goes well for you and your family. We are all in good health and hope you and your wife also are in good health. We have just been decking the house for Christmas and getting ready for a lot of cooking and shoping starting after this thursday.

  2. don m. says:

    ps I cant get you wonderfull weather post to download here and Im not sure why. It just says done and that is all with just the title. Am I the only one having this problem?

  3. Seth says:

    I have also had the same problem with “Wonderful Weather” not loading here. It is the first time I have had that sort of issue with this site. I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving also. I will be spending my Thanksgiving on a production platform in the GUlf Of Mexico, but I still have lots to be Thankful for.

  4. Seth says:


    I have been reading in the news about the 46 found dead in the mast grave on the island of Mindinao. How far is that from Davao? I pray that your extended family is safe. I have spoken with my extended family in Davao and they are all safe. This sort of irrational response from fanatics makes me a little concerned to moving to Davao.


    • Bruce says:

      I just posted an article about the safety here in Davao. The area of the massacre is a distance from Davao and with the checkpoints, and the security the Mayor has for this city, I feel as safe as I have always felt. Most of these problems are Filipino to Filipino and not directed to Foreigners. Also this is part of a political dynasty problem. It was not random and was directed to a certain target. As the election time develops, there might be more such problems but just in the political areas.

  5. Ray B says:

    Hi. Thanks for a great site. I am here in Angeles City,Pampanga. Wonderful Weather has a problem here too. Only the title will open. No story. RAY

  6. Seth says:


    You are correct the problem with Wonderful Weather has been resoloved. I do enjoy reading your blog. It helps me to keep up with the country that I have fallen in love with. I am still proud to be an American but I do miss the Philippines and all the fresh fruits. The wife and I are preparing to retire there but it will be a few years. I already know that I will not be able to make a living like I do in the states so I want to be prepared when we arrive there. Keep up the good work and I am glad to hear that you and yours are safe.


    • Bruce says:

      Working on oil rigs, you will not be able to make the kind of income you have most anywhere. Maybe if Mobil Exon have there dream of building oil rigs in the Sulu gulf. Then you just worry about the Abu Sayyaf.
      Thank you for enjoying and if your coming to Davao, let me know so I can give you a shopping list. 🙂

  7. evelyn says:

    hi,bruce,happy thanksgiving to you n elena…
    if it’s your 2nd thanksgiving there,it was my 10th year here and it is always turkey day every thanksgiving day….my boss prepares the turkey,mashed potatoes,green bean casserole,turkey dressing and cranberry sauce while i do the candied yams,crescent rolls and setting the table….we had plenty of left overs..i made the turkey left over into a very sumptous soup (the bone part)..and of course for the dessert,the famous pumpkin’s that for a thanksgiving dinner?don’t worry–i dedicated the first bite to you and my 2nd bite for elena…hahaha…..bye for now,bruce and again happy thanksgiving to u both..

    • Bruce says:

      I am glad you had a great day and meal, I am JEALOUS!!!
      I went to a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day for lunch and had turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. It was ok, not lie back in the USA. We did not to a group dinner like last year. Too much work I think. Expats need to get used to the fact we are not in our home country and it is difficult to eat and celebrate as we did in back home.

  8. evelyn says:

    you are right,bruce,about the too much work on the thanksgiving preparation…but when you are here,everything is made easy for you….i know you are truly missing your comfort food so to speak as i am also missing some of my comfort food here..hehehe…
    are there available turkeys there in davao?because i don’t think one could just buy turkey in general santos?or anywhere there in the phil for that matter?
    and i don’t think the dressing for the stuffing is also available?more so with the cranberries?
    i have just come to know cranberries when i got here?
    and i have eaten turkey when i got here..believe it or not..

    • Bruce says:

      The mall market has frozen turkeys. I have seen live local turkeys but they look anorexic as the chickens. Dressing can be made the old fashioned way by cubing and drying bread, adding broth and seasonings. There is some packaged stuff available too. There is also canned pumpkin and cranberry’s. To cook, is the difficult part. Ours as with many ovens here is they are small and are not thermostat controlled. Ours has instructions for a temperature, so many minutes on high and then low. Someday……

  9. evelyn says:

    ohhh,i’m glad to hear that there are frozen turkeys available there now…my boss usually buys the turkey 6 days before the thanksgiving dinner to give time for thawing..he cooks the innards n neck the night before as well as the cranberry sauce..he uses the fresh cranberries not the canned ones..and then bakes the turkey in the morning for 5-6 hrs / depending on the weight..

  10. Evelyn says:

    bruce,what my boss loved most every thanksgiving would be the left overs ..hahaha..

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