Living Jewish in the Philippines
Well, it I actually quite easier than you think.
If you are non-observant whatsoever, then the Philippines is like every other country, with the bonus of being “Jewish Friendly”.
With all that in-mind, be advised that your primary concern would be keeping, maintaining or enriching your Jewish self-identity. I mean…there is NOTHING Jewish in the Philippines, other than sometimes finding a packaged food product imported from the USA with an OU Kosher mark on the label in one of the large supermarket chains.
There is a tiny Jewish community in Makati that conducts regular Sephardic Orthodox Sabbath Services, as well as once-a-week classes for kids and even adults, and imported Kosher food for sale. They also contain the only formal “mikvah” (ritual bath) in the Philippines. Of course there is our BagelBoys Club, which meets every holiday, but otherwise there is no more “Yiddishkeit” to be found. Well, the same can be said about Thailand as well. Other than Chabad, Thailand has no Yiddishkeit around as well.
There is also a recent Lubavitch Group that has started in Makati. For those who seek that nature and form of Judiasm, it has holiday services, as well as some Kosher food available for sale as well.
So, getting to the next issue; what about living Kosher in the Philippines?
Well, kitchenware is extremely cheap to purchase and rental cost on residences are really low, so one could easily set up a totally separate dairy, meat and even Parve kitchen…all with separate cooking and even eating facilities.
This would eliminate your stay-in housekeeper/s from mixing the stuff up. At the local price of less that $200 USD for a local medium size refrigerator, you could even have a separate fridge for dairy, meat and Parve!
There are four main large supermarket chains in the Philippines
Robinsons (Robinson’s Mall-Abacan & Nepo Mall-downtown)
SM Hypermarket (Angeles City-SM Clark)
Metro Supermarket (Angeles City-Marquee Mall)
Cash & Carry
Which often have many imported American groceries with Kosher certification on the label. The Makati Synagogue has a specific list provided in the following link on their website:
These lists can change weekly, so it is important to check each individual package before you buy it.
Whole fish, fruit and fresh vegetables are plentiful.
Meat is frozen and imported my the Makati Shul, as well as Kosher chicken
(Rabbi Azaria of the Makati Shul is also a “Shochet” and graces us with that service as well.)