Celebrating My First Thanksgiving in the Philippines

And how I learned turkeys are scarce on this island paradise

Alex Bentley

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The Author and his wife’s first Thanksgiving meal.

Just the other day, my wife and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving holiday together.

Since I’m an American living abroad, I wanted to uphold one of America’s favorite traditions—the Day of Giving Thanks for Our Blessings (i.e. Thanksgiving).

As well, since my wife and I have a lot to be thankful for this year, I knew Thanksgiving would be a great way to give thanks for all the blessings we received this year.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I remembered the holiday was soon approaching, so I began researching where to buy a turkey.

Before I started my research, I didn’t think it’d be hard to find a turkey.

But I was dead wrong.

None of the open-air markets, butchers or grocery stores sell turkey.

Since all the above mentioned businesses sell chicken — another major poultry staple — I honestly thought I’d find at least one decent sized turkey somewhere. But as I scoured the shops, I couldn’t find a single one.

So my focus turned online to Google to see what I could find out about buying a turkey in the Philippines.

To my relief, I finally found a few restaurants that cooked and sold turkeys.

The only problem is those restaurants were in Manila, which is a long three-hour car ride from where I live in Bauan, Batangas. And that’s only one way.

Also, the quoted prices on the restaurant websites were incredibly high, especially at the typically low Filipino prices.

For a fully cooked Thanksgiving meal, with a 12-pound turkey, the cheapest restaurant wanted approximately $180 USD. And the meal fed about 8–10 people.

So my wife and I went a different route.

She suggested we buy roasted whole chickens from one of the local stores nearby. I thought it was an excellent idea and it would be significantly cheaper too. About 300 Philippine pesos per chicken. That’s roughly $6 USD at today’s exchange.

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Alex Bentley

I write about crypto, personal finance, business & tech. Also, I publish a bit of humor to make you laugh.