11 Feb2014

Love On The Rocks…

by Marketman


Post title by The Teen. I thought about “Broken Heart” or “Bleeding Heart” or “Heartbroken” or even cheesy “Take Care of My Heart”… It could have been “Coldheart” or “Braveheart” or even “Achey Breaky Heart”. Ayayay. But “Love On The Rocks”, literally depicted above as a pig’s heart on ice, seemed like a good choice… It’s actually interesting how close the resemblance of a real pig’s heart (said to be quite similar to a human heart) is to those cheesy red heart shapes in cards, etc.


It’s that time of the year, and the couple of days before Valentine’s Day, when the crazed, irrational populace decides to shell out ridiculous sums of money on overpriced roses, marked-up restaurant meals and delicious boxes of chocolates and sweets. After Christmas, Valentine’s must be one of the most commercially expensive holidays, and according to this quick video, we could just as easily be saying “Happy Bird Mating Season!” or “Happy Roman Fertility Festival”… Here’s more on Valentine’s Day history if you are curious.


Long-time readers of this blog know I often host an “Anti-Valentine’s, Valentine’s Dinner”
for friends and family who don’t want to get caught up in the traffic, the overpriced flowers, and the ridiculous restaurant specials on February 14th, and what precipitated this post today was an early morning trip to the wholesale flower market at Dimasalang… Roses that are normally PHP80-100 per bundle of 24 blooms (long-stemmed red roses) from my sukis, were today ASKING PHP700-800 a bundle for shorter, smaller inferior blooms. That’s roughly a 9-10x pricing differential on an “apples to apples” comparison of product type and quality. THAT IS UTTERLY ABSURD! On the 15th or 16th, prices will drop back down towards PHP100, so tell your husband(s), boyfriend(s), lover(s), partner(s) or suitor(s) not to waste their money now. If they give flowers two weeks before Valentine’s or even a few days AFTER Valentine’s, not only will you probably get nicer flowers, they/you will have enough left over for a leisurely meal and perhaps even a box of chocolates after that!

I know, I know, some of you will say, it’s just a matter of simple demand and supply. It’s that artificially created demand on a single day or two for a commodity which we cannot supply in enough volume (actually growers don’t care to grow much more, or prices would drop as supply approached demand) so the prices spike up. It’s price gouging, I tell you. On Christmas Eve, Sinulog or even Ironman in Cebu, the demand for lechon spikes up dramatically, and honestly, the island of Cebu actually comes close to running out of live pigs for slaughter, and we DON’T INCREASE OUR FOOD PRICES for that?! Imagine if instead of say PHP530 a kilo of lechon, we charged PHP3,500++ on those days?!? Nor do we increase our prices for meals/food on Valentine’s Day for that matter. So folks who do so are simply taking advantage of the public, in my opinion. Buyer beware, charge what the market will bare, they are just being good businessmen and women… Hmmm.


A bit of practical smarts is all that is needed to survive the holiday without going into debt. For Mrs. MM and The Teen, they often get flowers before or after the 14th, and at many other times of the year, but this week, they get beautiful orchids, in varying hues of white, pink and deep purple for prices EXACTLY THE SAME AS THEY ALWAYS ARE. Bravo or brava to Highlander orchids (branches at Dimasalang and Serendra) who didn’t put up their prices of orchids at all. These stunning phalaenopsis or butterfly orchids, flown in from Taiwan just a day or two ago, will last 4-6 weeks, and cost about the same price as a bunch of roses this morning, are a real bargain without having to be “cheap”. And if there is one night to cook a wonderful dinner at home, Valentine’s is it. Get a good steak, or some fish. Grab a bottle of decent wine. Indulge without feeling ripped off.


Some of these potted orchids were wrapped up for birthday presents for family and friends who probably rarely get flowers for presents this week because they are always exorbitantly priced. Just a bit of clear floral wrap, a nice ribbon and a card turn this into a very nice present.


If you have a weakness for sweets, or specifically doughnuts, as I do, this little box of 6 Krispy Kreme doughnuts was less than PHP200. Still looking for more ideas, check out these previous MM posts on Valentine’s flowers, chocolates, meals, etc.

Anti-Valentine’s Dinner, 2006
The Run-up to Valentine’s Day, 2007
Marketman’s Valentine’s Poll, 2008
White Roses en Masse, 2005
Dimasalang Flower Market, Sampaloc Manila, 2005
A Gift of Roses, Version 1, 2005
A Gift of Roses, Version 2, 2005
Homemade Valentine’s Chocolates, 2006
Hundreds of Blooms for an Anniversary, 2007
Le Jardin de Ville, less traditional flower choices, 2007
Rose and Hydrangea Floral Arrangements for PHP186.66 each, 2007
A Special Ruby Dinner, 2007
Red Roses and Two Dinners, 2008
Roses in the Four Seasons/Jeff Leatham Style, 2008
Marketman’s Valentine’s Poll, 2008
Small “Tight” Floral Arrangements 101, 2009
Roses and Hydrangeas, 2010
Roses, Roses, Roses, 2010
Flowers for Valentine’s 2011
A relatively heart-friendly meal, 2012
Post-Valentine’s Flowers, 2013

Oh, and finally, in case you needed some ice-cold water splashed on your face before an amorous Valentine’s, here are some interesting FACTOIDS I unearthed for a recent birth control seminar I delivered for friends:

1. What are the chances of a teenage female getting pregnant if she is sexually active with a teenage male partner for one year without contraception? About 90%. What does the number look like for folks in their 20’s? About 80-85%.

2. Roughly how many pregnancies are estimated in the Philippines every year? Approximately 3.0+ million, according to various internet sources, and perhaps as many as 40-45% of those pregnancies were a “surprise” or not planned for.

3. Here’s a truly shocking statistic. How many abortions are estimated to be performed in the Philippines every year? If the surveys are to be believed, and one of them is by a well-known international group in conjunction with the University of the Philippines, they estimate somewhere between 500,000-600,000 abortions per year in the Philippines! Yikes.

4. How often is a new AIDS case reported in the Philippines these days (and I can’t find credible data for all other kinds of STD infections which are far more frequent than AIDS)? One new case every 3 hours, and roughly 25-30% are women infected by men.

5. With such a large and growing population, you would expect that the number of marriages would be growing from year to year, right? FALSE, the number of church weddings, as well as civil weddings is dropping and is significantly less than say 10-15 years ago. Many more folks are choosing to live with each other without marriage or civil unions.

6. How much does a condom cost? Between PHP5-30 for the most basic to the fancy ones. How much does it cost to raise a kid from 1-20 years of age, assuming say public schools, but decent food, medical care, housing, clothing, school supplies, college, etc.? Roughly 1.8-2.5 million pesos, depending where you live in the Philippines.

7. Yes, absolutely, of course abstinence is better than not. But did you see the results of that recent survey splashed in the newspapers about the percentage of teens who have had pre-marital sex? Yipes.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone. :)

Note: Top three pig’s heart photos taken by AE.

Barigoule of Pork Heart Stew
Paprikash of Hearts and Livers
Stewed Pig’s Heart a la Pompadour



  1. Sarah says:

    On point # 7 – Someone once told me, “Be good! But if you can’t be good, be safe!” :p

    Feb 11, 2014 | 5:35 pm


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  3. Dragon says:

    Man! A 5-10% drop in pregnancy from late teens to 20’s could only mean you really shag less as you get older!!!

    Feb 11, 2014 | 6:24 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Dragon, or one’s sperm is less frisky or quick on the draw… :)

    Feb 11, 2014 | 6:33 pm

  5. Ilongo says:

    love hurts! at first glancei thought this was an el bulli inspired dish of foie gras over ice and foam :)

    Feb 11, 2014 | 8:48 pm

  6. Meg says:

    And still on #7 just like Sarah said, i heard these words from a principal in an exclusive all girl’s highschool graduation speech: “Be good, and if you can’t be good, at least be careful.”

    Feb 12, 2014 | 5:43 am

  7. ami says:

    Ahhhh Valentines, my least favorite holiday of the year. Aside from it being terribly commercialized, the traffic is horrendous.

    Wasn’t it in the news a couple of days ago that there was a survey among Filipino youths and they found that a third of the respondents were sexually active?

    Feb 12, 2014 | 9:56 am

  8. shiko-chan says:

    Oh dear, better ready the fishpans with this post, Mr. MM. ;)

    Thanks though for the usual sensible Valentine’s counter-propaganda. Out of curiosity, are there any particular meal+wine (or other alcoholic beverage) combinations you’d recommend? Staying in this year with great food and drink from the *gasp!* supermarket sounds lovely.

    Feb 12, 2014 | 6:59 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    shiko-chan, keeping it simple but top quality always seems to work. Some prawn or shrimp cocktail to start, a good steak with a gutsy red like a barolo or splurge on a margaux, and maybe strawberries and cream for dessert… I am thinking of making a small caviar pie perhaps (lumpfish, not expensive), maybe some salmon gravlax and a steak…

    Feb 12, 2014 | 7:09 pm

  10. Susan says:

    #3 just about killed me…how sad, I don’t want to imagine the numbers for other countries, or even worldwide. My valentine meal is crab legs and steak at home!

    Feb 13, 2014 | 3:33 am

  11. JE says:

    Haha, you’re right about that cold-water-splashed-onto-face image.

    Feb 13, 2014 | 5:11 pm

  12. shiko-chan says:

    oh i love it when a menu gives me goosebumps. thanks so much for the suggestions, you’re always such a font of wisdom, culinary and otherwise.

    incidentally, have you seen the strawberries they’re selling these days? supposedly they’re from baguio per usual, but they seem to keep amazingly well even without refrigeration(!!) and they seem a lot less small and misshapen than usual. i’m full of morbid fears they’re GMOs and/or steeped in pesticides and preservatives. though i still keep buying them because life is short and strawberries are yummy…

    Feb 13, 2014 | 6:47 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    shiko-chan, I did a post on Benguet strawberries, here, and yes, they use a LOT of pesticides on them (see here), for the most part. Some are raised in greenhouses, with less pesticides, but they are pricier and often near enough to other fields to still be scary… I think there are some growers in Benguet that raise phenomenal looking berries for export to Japan and elsewhere in Asia, the “rejects” are what sometimes make it to Manila markets/groceries. We also raise and process some other fruit for Japanese retailers as well…

    Feb 13, 2014 | 8:42 pm

  14. shiko-chan says:

    ah, you’re right of course, and i’ve read those past posts of yours. i meant, steeped in EVEN MORE pesticides and preservatives than usual ;) i’ve seen huge and perfect-looking strawberries in Korea (and no doubt there also are in Japan) so i was wondering if maybe we’d started importing. but export rejects (or “overruns”? ;) ) make sense. but oh well…it’s only once a year…………………… :)

    happy Valentine’s to Mr and Mrs MM by the way!

    Feb 14, 2014 | 11:24 am


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