12 Feb2006


I think that Valentine’s Day is the single biggest rip-off holiday ever!!! Prices skyrocket for dinner, flowers, etc. for a 24 hour period as if you couldn’t give your significant other a beautiful bunch of flowers, delicious chocolate or a sumptuous meal some other day of the calendar year. There is this underlying pressure to do SOMETHING on February 14 or be relegated to Valentine’s ignomy. Baloney. Phooey. I, too, used to stress over what flowers, chocolate, perfume, jewelry to send or where to eat but I think when you cross 3 decades on the planet you get much wiser. Mind you, the most uncharacteristic thing I have ever done for Valentine’s was to take a coded personal advertisement out in the International Herald Tribune one year when I was abroad so that my wife and only my wife would understand it… how’s that for Valentine’s outrageous?!? Many years ago some friends convinced us to join them for a Valentine’s Dinner at a really fancy hotel restaurant with mediocre champagne and a middling roast beef. A substandard meal and “free” rose cost a whopping PHP12,000 for my wife and I!!! Out-bloody-rageous. And the service was horrible to boot… Never in my life have I felt so duped.

Ever since then, my wife and I have hosted an annual “Anti-Valentine’s Dinner” at our home. We invite aarose2friends, families, couples and singles. They avoid traffic, lousy meals, surly service, astronomical prices and instead dine with us in airconditioned comfort on a menu that hopefully rivals some of Manila’s chi-chi-est restaurants. One year we did a “red theme” with a tuna tartare to start, beet salad, rare roast beef and strawberries for dessert accompanied by superb red wine from Bordeaux. Another year we opted for foie gras, lobster and beef with crème brulees to end the meal. I actually don’t recall all the menus but I do recall that the dinners have always been among the best we have given every year. And since everyone is so relieved to avoid the commercial silliness, they inevitably bring the most stunning wine, oodles of chocolate or other sweets and hours of intelligent conversation. I usually hit the flower market the day before and have more than enough roses to satisfy everyone.

This year I will be out of town on business so we won’t be having the annual Anti-Valentine’s Dinner. But if you must succumb to the holiday aarose8 I figured I should give you some Marketman tips how to do it with style without breaking your piggy banks… First up, roses. Roses at the Dangwa or Dimasalang markets treble to quadruple in prices for the 3-4 days before Valentine’s. Never mind, they still cost just PHP200-300 for two dozen. These huge bunches of say 8-10 dozen would only be PHP1,000-1,200 which is about 1/10th you would pay if you walked into a flower shop in the mall! Strip off the thorns and leaves and place in a vase or wrap up in cellophane and your significant other will be impressed. I have several ideas for how to prepare the roses here and here. But don’t just think roses. A packed arrangement of hydrangeas are stunning, so are potted amaryllis or even some nice orchids. Next post, food ideas for Valentine’s…



  1. gonzo says:

    I feel the same, MM. Totally fake, commercialised, rip off day. i don’t think i’ve celebrated Feb14 since i WAS 14.

    Feb 12, 2006 | 7:26 am


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  3. Hchie says:

    You are so right there,MM. It’s just sad how most of us have succumbed to the unecessary pressures of the holidays. An intimate dinner at home with friends is how we’ve been spending our Valentine’s Day for the past several years. Is there a tale behind having to give roses during this day?

    Feb 12, 2006 | 9:22 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Hchie, try this link for Valentine’s Day http://wilstar.com/holidays/valentn.htm history…

    Feb 12, 2006 | 9:26 am

  5. schatz says:

    I will take M to divorce court if he brings me red roses
    Id rather have lilies, tulips, freeschias…
    i can take red roses but not on the 14th
    oh please

    Feb 13, 2006 | 8:28 am

  6. marga says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you about Valentine rip-offs. But then again it takes three decades to realize that fact. We had a bad experience too at those valentine dinners at 5 star hotels. Instead of feeling relaxed you end up so frazzled and upset even before dinner begins. The traffic is horrendous, parking is a nightmare and the service is LOUSY. You end up having an argument with your Valentine date and a big hole in your pocket. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT WORTH all the aggravation. I also just plan special dinners at home with family. Everyone is happy and relaxed and they go home satisfied and at peace. Are we perhaps “getting on in years”!!! haha!!!

    Feb 13, 2006 | 11:02 am

  7. lee says:

    yeah rip-offs. totally. plus the stupid day falls on the 14th, the magical time of the month when the salaryman’s pockets run dry. might want to pig out on a buffet special somewhere, i dunno… might fry fish….

    Feb 13, 2006 | 3:51 pm

  8. teddy montelibano says:

    so well said, marketman. it is the corniest thing – this commercialized commemoration of love. yak. mega YAKK! the best thing anyone can do is to invite your significant other to spend time in your place, cook up something good, uncork a fantastic bottle of wine, have some cheese and chocolates afterwards, cuddle up, watch a good movie (doesn’t need to be romantic much) and just be with each other. no stress, no hassle about wrestling for parking space. no losing of temper over lousy service. and yep, you avoid having to blow up your wallet over something mediocre – and overly priced – to eat!

    Feb 13, 2006 | 5:07 pm

  9. lori says:

    I’m gonna throw a bomb into this Valentine anti lovefest. I personally LOVE V-Day.

    Feb 13, 2006 | 6:04 pm

  10. bugsybee says:

    I think that too much commercialism has robbed the romance off Valentine’s Day. I don’t like going to overcrowded restos and eating overpriced dinners, too. Nothing like beer and popcorn and good music and old friends for me! Not very romantic but certainly enjoyable.

    Feb 13, 2006 | 8:08 pm

  11. wysgal says:

    Like any other holiday it’s a season to celebrate (or not) if we choose to do so. And where would the fun in Anti-Valentine’s Dinners be without a Valentine’s Day? =)

    Feb 13, 2006 | 11:39 pm

  12. joey says:

    The thing I don’t like about Valentine’s Day is that all the restaurants have set menus…which means I can’t even have my favorite dishes on Valentines…which is a horrid. I guess, what really bugs me is how commercialized V-day has gotten (same with every other holiday here). I guess it’s up to us how to make these days special :)

    Feb 14, 2006 | 1:30 am

  13. stef says:

    you don’t have to let the florists and restaurants and hotels ruin Valentine’s day for you. you can make Valentine’s as sweet and as non-rip-off as you want… i actually prefer making a nice intimate dinner for hubby and me at home — maybe i’ll even get him to toss the salad and whisk the dressing… get the kids pizza and let them watch a movie in another room… while hubby and i get cozy over a lobster or other dinner, some oysters, champagne, chocolate, whathaveyou — candlelit of course…. fortunately here in the US the stuff you need for holidays actually go on SALE, so champagne, etc. are discounted around valentine’s. but even if it’s not the same way over there, you could get your wine/champagne weeks in advance so you don’t spend more. and concentrate on the lovin’ instead…

    Feb 14, 2006 | 10:09 am


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