What Do You Think…

… is the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

During the month of February, love is definitely in the air. Although Valentine’s Day has been commercialized to become another Hallmark card commercial, Filipinos believe in true love and in making their loved one feel extra special on Valentine’s Day.

Fil-Am Voice staff asked members of Maui’s Filipino community “What Do You Think is the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?”

Aiza of Kahului with roots in Newagac, Gattaran, Cagayan: “I think spending it with your loved one near a river, and swimming with him is romantic. Bring some lunch; tons of food and books in a basket as well.”

Ariel of Kahului with roots in Bacarra and Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte: “I feel that the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is whatever your heart desires for you and your other half. The best option is to make a home-cooked meal, but if it’s outside, definitely choose a restaurant with good reviews on romantic ambience and nice views.”

Aris of Ha‘ikū, with roots in Palawan and Bukidnon: “Do something out of the ordinary. Something that’s not so cliché. Pick flowers instead of ordering them. Give the flowers before or after Valentine’s day. Do something every month, instead of it having to only be on one day. Show your love that they mean so much more than just one day!”

Don of Kahului with roots in Manila, Palawan, IloIlo, Santa Catalina, Ilocos Sur and Cagayan: “The best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to celebrate your relationship with your spouse, friend, and or significant other. Do something that you did on your first date… Can you remember that first moment, rekindle the memory and have fun doing it?”

Dulce of Kahului with roots in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte: “The day before Valentine’s Day, my beau told me that we will have a dinner date at 7:30 p.m. I asked where would it be so I could dress properly but he didn’t respond. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, he picked me up in a red truck. (We live together but he was out and about that day.) I thought I was over dressed because we were using the truck to go out. I asked him if I could go and change my dress but he said it’s perfect, I don’t have to change clothes. We drove to Kula and then he pulled over on a vacant lot. He told me to wait for a few minutes before I got out of the truck. He then said, it’s ready. I came out of the truck and I was surprised to see a table set for two. He set the dinner table with white cloth, white plates, silverware, and folded napkins. There’s also champagne glasses, a candlestick and a vase with three long-stemmed red roses in it. This, so far, is my ideal romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Of course he didn’t cook the food, it was pre-ordered but he picked our favorite Thai dishes. He popped a sparkling cider and poured into our glasses and we had a toast for our love and our future. Our view? It was overlooking Kahului, a spectacular view from Kula. He downloaded love songs on his phone which we listened to while we were eating, and sang and danced after we ate the strawberries dipped in white chocolate from Safeway. I am always cold when I’m outdoors but he was prepared with a blanket and extra sweater for me!  He really planned it well!”

Ettenna of Pā‘ia with roots in Sinait, Ilocos Sur: “If it happens to be our day off, my husband and I will go to the beach. At the same time my hubby will go fishing. He’s retired already but I’m still working. We may decide to go out for dinner on the 18th since that’s our 17th year wedding anniversary. We live by ocean side, our house is 100 meters from the ocean, it’s a village we call Dadalaquiten Sur in Sinait, Ilocos Sur.”

J. Leilani of Kahului with roots in Olongapo City, Subic Bay, Zambales: “Unexpected sunset walk and talk on the beach ending with a surprise picnic basket full of my favorite treats and wine.”
John Patrick of Kīhei, with roots in Gonzaga, Cagayan: “For me, the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is cooking for my girlfriend her favorite meal. Have a romantic dinner at home.”

Jovy of Kahului, with roots in Badoc, Ilocos Norte: “I would rather not go out on the day of Valentine’s. Restaurants and places to go will be packed with all the other couples celebrating. I also feel that service will not be as good because of the high volume of customers. Personally, a good Valentine’s date would be staying at home and I prepare a 3–4 course meal for my lady.”

Marilyn of Kahului, with roots in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte: “To me a romantic Valentine is a candle light dinner for two at home, a dozen roses, two New York steaks on the grill, a bottle of red wine, and a dessert from Foodland and that’s an inexpensive Valentine.”

Marites of Kahului with roots in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental: “A dinner at Outback Steakhouse with my husband is my idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day. So maybe a dinner at a steakhouse franchise doesn’t evoke the usual images of love. A ceiling lamp replaces slow burning candles, free refills of bread are brought instead of oysters, and photographs of jeeps and kangaroos replace Renaissance art on the walls. It’s the anti-aphrodisiac establishment. But what the restaurant does jog in my memory is the countless meals my husband and I have shared with our daughter, from the time she was five falling asleep in front of her plate of Macaroni and Cheese to this past Christmas break, when she gushed about her post-graduate college plans. It also reminds me of all the times my husband and I have snuck out to the cozy Steakhouse to get some time away from our chatty daughter, just to relish in some quiet time together and prime rib.
So, Outback Steakhouse isn’t exactly romantic but my ideal Valentine’s Day isn’t lovey-dovey. I don’t want to feed each other spaghetti and listen to slow jazz—I want to remember all the memories I’ve made with my family for the past 23 years. That’s how I’d like to spend the day of love.”

Marjorie of Wailuku, with roots in Badoc, Ilocos Norte: “Valentine’s Day is just a regular day for me and my hubby, we don’t usually go out so I wouldn’t know the answer.”

Nikki of Kīhei with roots in Dalaguete and Maribago, Lapu Lapu, Cebu: “The most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is time with your significant ‘other’ who will give you a gift chosen ‘from the heart.’ Also, it would be in a place high up top, like a mountain where I could see the lights of all the places below. It would be quiet, and a place where I’d feel free, at peace, and could feel the joy in his heart.”

No, this is not a KFC advertisement. Rather, Fil-Ams have original ideas on what makes Valentine’s Day “ romantic.” Most move away from the usual flowers, balloons, expensive dinners out and trappings, and lean toward acts of originality, warmth, ‘genuine’-ness and family.

Olivia of Wailuku with roots in Bantay, Ilocos Sur: “For me, the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my love is having a picnic at the beach in the afternoon while watching the sunset; listening to our favorite music with our most favorite food and drink, and talking about what our futures will be.”

Sheena of Kahului, with roots in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte: “The most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to show acts of service while spending quality time with not only your partner but everyone that surrounds you. Achieving a way to make someone’s day by offering to cook dinner for example, speaks love and respect. For an individual to be able to take action and think about how can one bring positivity in another person’s day is meaningful. In the busy days of life, spending quality time with the people you love expresses how meaningful it is for you to devote precious time to someone so precious to you.”

Ulfeo of Kīhei with roots in Davao City, Mindanao, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte: “Live to love and love to live—everyday is Valentine’s Day. Since I am born under the zodiac sign of Leo, being romantic runs in my blood. For me the most romantic way of celebrating Valentine’s is to spend quality time with your loved ones and one of the easiest ways to do that is to get them involved in whatever you do, like set up a dinner date and avoid any distraction like surfing the net, browsing your phone or chatting with someone. In other words, stay focused and let her feel that it’s about her. And one last thing, give her a special Valentine’s card that you made from scrap with your own words and expression of your honest and true intentions. Women love it when you remember some details of how and when you met and other things that you both shared. All these I’m sure will be the best and romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. My song request is from Joe Mari Chan: You’re my girl my woman my friend.”

Virgie of Wailuku with roots in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur: “The most romantic is to not celebrate on the actual Valentine’s Day. The restaurant meals are less expensive and the eateries are not crowded when we go out the day before or after. We make ourselves feel more special.”

Zchelle of Kahului with roots in Solsona, Ilocos Norte: “I think the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or in a romantic way, is to celebrate it with the people you love of course. For me, I don’t really celebrate it romantically; a simple dinner and a movie will already be okay for me. But if you think about it, or imagine how we girls want to be surprised from the person we love and love us, specifically from our boyfriend, of course, we want candles in our room, rose petals on our bed, balloons, and a big teddy bear, and home made dinner cooked by our boyfriend or loved ones. But if they don’t know how to cook, maybe take our order from a restaurant, and watch our favorite show or movie on Netflix® together. Home is the best romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because that’s where we all share our love.”