How to Save a Child, Save a Fat Guy & Get the Best Sleep of your Life

This Christmas will be different. Over the past two years I have taken on a number of unusual jobs in my Around the World in 80 jobs quest, from being a Christmas tree salesman in the USA to pouring Germany’s holiday drink – Gluhwein – in Europe’s famous Christmas markets. However, this year’s holiday season I have decided to go where it is too hot to drink Gluhwein, and trade pine trees for palm trees.  This time, I can’t do it alone. I need your help.

Operation Save Santa: A Filipino Christmas Story

SAVE SANTA Philippines

Ho-Ho-Ho! Christmas is rapidly approaching and Santa is on the way to deliver joy and hope for children all over the world. This year however, Santa’s mission is a bit more difficult and he needs help – your help.  While the world watched in sorrow, our friends in the Philippines were dealt a devastating blow with Typhoon Yolanda/Hiayan taking away loved ones, homes, businesses, and a sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow.  The world communities responded and have helped secure relief in some of the hardest hit areas of Philippines, providing medical, health, and emergency care, but the road to a full recovery is far from over. With so much taken and so much loss, every ounce of effort and care offered is felt tenfold.  Filipinos are renowned for their strong spirit, generosity to everyone – even complete strangers, resilience and patience in tough times, and caring for others as if they were their own family.  But sometimes, especially at Christmas time, even the strongest of spirits need a little bit of help.

CLICK HERE to donate now

Why buy gifts when so much else needs to be done?

philippines village

The reconstruction of homes and the rebuilding of lives will take time and consumes much of the resources and attention of everyday life in the hard hit areas of the Philippines. But it is during our most difficult times that it is more important than ever, to maintain a sense of normalcy. Some of the simplest things, like getting a new pair of slippers (flip-flops), a teddy bear or even a some chocolates, can make a huge difference in the life of a child, especially in tough times during holidays.  Every child deserves a present at Christmas, and with resources spread so thin, it is difficult for parents to provide presents for their children. Many Filipinos who live all over the world provide care to our families. And while many of them take care of our families, from young to old, their help is missing back home.

How is this Toy Drive different from others?

The village Christmas Tree with wishes as ornaments

The village Christmas Tree with wishes as ornaments

Feeling Christmas-y already? CLICK HERE to donate to kids now

While it would be easier for us to simply ask for your donations, we want you to experience what it is like being a real Santa in the Philippines.  From the start to the finish, we are video documenting the entire process of this fundraiser, making it as interactive as possible, so that you can see the direct impact of your help.  Likewise, your donations not only help to buy children gifts, but it is also helps to stimulate the local economy.  Many people forget that even after providing medical attention and rebuilding homes, businesses were also lost.  Recharging local economies will provide jobs and increase the speed of the overall recovery, which is why we will source as many gifts and goods as possible locally.

Much of the attention of the relief effort has focused on Eastern Visayas, yet there are many areas of Western Visayas that need help as well. To have the most impact, we will focus our Santa Toy Fundraiser on remote areas – whether by land, sea or air – that may have otherwise not received help. The average cost to provide gifts for kids in a Filipino family is about $10. There are approximately 160 families in our first community (Tuno), so about $1600 per community.

kids christmas wish

Lastly, we are going to show why there is no better time than now to come and witness the Philippines natural beauty, rich culture and experience Filipino hospitality firsthand.  Tourism is almost always one of the hardest hit areas after a natural disaster, yet that source of income is when it is needed the most.

We will be distributing gifts from December 16-25th throughout Panay Island from our base in Boracay working in partnership with the local Red Cross. Anyone who wishes to join our Santa Army is welcomed. Ho-Ho-Ho! Let’s help save Santa and make this a Merry Filipino Christmas.



To help and become a Santa in the Philippines, DONATE BY CLICKING HERE. If you can’t afford to donate, please help spread the Christmas cheer and share on your Facebook.

And after we save Santa, we can save this exhausted Volunteer

And after we save Santa, we can save this exhausted Volunteer


Turner barr

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

  • Erin De Santiago
    Posted at 21:09h, 12 December

    Donated! Think this is absolutely amazing and what a difference you are going to make this holiday season for so many families! 🙂

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:36h, 17 December

      Hell yeah. So many families we can help. Thanks for your donation Erin!

  • Cecille
    Posted at 22:08h, 12 December

    You’re an angel. Thanks so much.. I’ll be home for Christmas. I’m arriving on the 25th itself. If you still have other activities, I would like to join. Just shoot me an email at

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:36h, 17 December

      Thanks Cecile for your help and care. Contact us when you get in town.

  • Dustin
    Posted at 23:27h, 12 December

    That last picture makes you look like a little person.

    Keep doing great work little man.

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:37h, 17 December

      It does! Thanks for your donation Dustin. I love travel bloggers stepping up and supporting the communities that we all visit.

  • Tony
    Posted at 06:34h, 13 December

    What an inspiration! Keep it up man!

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:38h, 17 December

      We are moving along. 9 days left until Christmas. A lot more families to help still.

  • Aleah |
    Posted at 09:30h, 13 December

    Thanks for doing this, Turner. The community of bloggers here in the Philippines will help you out as much as we can.

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:39h, 17 December

      Thank you Aleah. You have led the charge for the Filipino bloggers. Let’s keep it up so some families can have a Merry Filipino Christmas.
      Much love from Boracay!

  • Sab
    Posted at 19:32h, 13 December

    Thank you Turner! Shared and tweeted! Keep up the great work!

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:40h, 17 December

      Great Sabrina. Thanks for the contacts and sharing. Let’s keep it going to spread the holiday love to more families in need

  • Amanda
    Posted at 19:53h, 13 December

    Such a great thing to be involved in! Best of luck, and I will do what I can to help spread the word!

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:41h, 17 December

      Great. Thanks Amanda. We need more sharing and exposure so more people who wish to help can be in the know how they can directly help, and SEE their efforts and donations unfold.

  • Why Visit the Philippines? Here's Our Favorite Destinations
    Posted at 03:51h, 14 December

    […] whose lives have been disrupted by Typhoon Haiyan, do consider making a donation to Turner’s Operation Save Santa: A Filipino Christmas Story. Thank […]

  • Enrique |
    Posted at 05:15h, 14 December

    That’s truly inspiring and noble. Hats off to you, mister! tweeted and shared it.

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:42h, 17 December

      Sweet Enrique. The more Santas we have, the more Christmas love we can spread to some kids in need.!

  • Claire
    Posted at 04:18h, 16 December

    Thank you so much for this effort! Filipino kids indeed need a Santa this Christmas.

    • Turner
      Posted at 04:42h, 17 December

      Thanks Claire. We need even more Santas. Only 9 days left but a lot more families.

  • My Wishlist: More Christmas Gift Suggestions for Travelers | Solitary Wanderer
    Posted at 11:36h, 16 December

    […] Turner Barr, the blogger behind Around the World in 80 Jobs, is in the Philippines to help a community feel the spirit of Christmas again. Help him save Santa, check out his post: Operation Save Santa: A Filipino Christmas Story. […]

  • Tuno Relief: Philippines Home Rebuilding Project
    Posted at 01:46h, 19 December

    […] Operation Save Santa commences in only two days,  but before we descend upon some remote communities in the Philippines that need some extra Christmas love this time around, I wanted to show you a Philippines home rebuilding project going on in the same community where the Christmas presents will be given. Tuno Relief, run by an expat Canadian by the name of Darcy is spear heading a project to help rebuild 20 of the destroyed homes there. Last Saturday we went to Tuno and handed out materials so locals could start down the long road to recovery. Here are some pictures to go with the video in case you can’t let your boss know you are procrastinating from work and exploring the inter-webs. I get it. But you should donate to the cause so I will be less inclined to sell you out to your hefe. For real. […]

  • What Do You Want for Christmas? A Filipino Christmas Story
    Posted at 05:32h, 20 December

    […] of my weak will to just say ‘no’, I  just launched the Operation Save Santa fundraiser, we don’t really have much money thus far. What if don’t have enough money […]

  • Becky Padmore
    Posted at 02:09h, 22 December

    Great cause, have shared 🙂

  • Shopping with Santa: a Filipino Christmas Story
    Posted at 08:17h, 22 December

    […] was your not to typical day, but then again, maybe no day is a typical day when you are working on a Filipino Christmas project. No – today was a bit different, as I went on a 3 hour journey from the sweet little island […]

  • Give Christmas to a Child : New Kid on the Loch
    Posted at 02:31h, 23 December

    […] the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda/Hiayan the Philippines faces difficult times ahead. Through Operation Save Santa you can provide a sense of normalcy, comfort, and spirit to children whose families must put all […]

  • Christmas in the Philippines: Operation Save Santa arrives
    Posted at 12:39h, 24 December

    […] Christmas is finally here and Operation Save Santa is almost complete. Yesterday Santa rode into town on his motorcycle with Executive Elf Lieutenant […]

  • Jen
    Posted at 08:56h, 25 December

    Hello from Paris! So you guys stuck with the name Save Santa afterall 🙂 Just wanted to congratulate on you guys on the great the project! Only just thought of it today for obvious reasons.
    Merry Xmas
    Jen from Boracay.

  • 14 Ways to Work and Travel the World
    Posted at 04:40h, 30 December

    […] three short weeks, I hooked up with local NGOs, Expats and the Red Cross and launched – Operation Save Santa: a Filipino Christmas Story. This was a toy drive fundraiser to help raise money for gifts for children who were victims of […]