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Thanksgiving and the Filipino culture by Susan Palmes-Dennis

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina–A week ago we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US.
Thanksgiving is a harvest festival and an important public holiday that is celebrated on the fourth
Thursday of November.

I likened Thanksgiving to the fiestas in the Philippines which revolve around the patron saint of a city
or a barangay (village) where there is a lot of merriment. On Thanksgiving schools are closed for
about three or four days.

It is that time of the year where a lot of food are cooked and prepared, when turkeys have no place to
hide since all American homes will serve turkey as part of the celebration. The event calls on
everyone celebrating the occasion to gather round the table and partake of the food and blessings
received for the year.

Family togetherness is deemed absent in most US households because of work demands. But those
who still uphold the celebration will ensure that there is enough bonding time with family members
and friends.

This year my husband Ronnie and I were invited to the home of Ranulfa Deloso and her husband
Tony Cammarano. Ranulfa or Ranni is from barangay Macabalan,Cagayan de Oro City while Tony is
of Italian heritage.

Ronnie and I were invited because Ranni’s sister Malou and her family were in town visiting having
just come from California. Malou is married to David Lowry, who’s originally from North Dakota and
they brought their two boys with them for the occasion.

Malou is a graduate of Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro who chatted with David in school as
part of their subject in college. David told us that he continued conversing with Malou even after
school because he was so smitten with her and their conversation went to religion and family. He
caught my attention and in fact David was not eating as he continued talking about what he learned
about Malou’s family and how Malou told him about her 11 siblings.

Touched by stories that it was Ranni who worked in Singapore to send Malou and her siblings to
college, David showed to me that he knows the history and the people of the Philippines. I
understood that David came from a small size family and that he was orphaned at an early age.

Ranni and Malou’s story reinforces the reality of how Filipinos value their clan.
There is no doubt that Filipinos are family-oriented. As in the case of Ranni, Malou and her siblings,
Filipinos are willing to make sacrifices and work abroad so their loved ones back home can have a
taste of the good life.

Parents who became overseas workers so their children can study in better schools have become
the norm and they have helped prop the Philippine economy amid the highs and lows of the global
economic situation. It is their willingness to sacrifice and give to their loved ones that have touched

Americans like David Lowrey, who wants his own children to imbibe those same Filipino values.
The Thanksgiving night was long and I did not mind staying late to listen to David who is so
enamored with the ways of the descendants of Dagohoy.

Again, happy Thanksgiving to all and for all your comments/emails, send them to my email address
at susanap.dennis@yahoo.com. Also see my other online accounts below. (Susan Palmes-Dennis is
a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the

Philippines is now employed teacher assistant in one of the school systems in the Carolinas. Read
her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com and at

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