05 Feb2007


Valentine’s Day in Manila has become rather ridiculous. I do not object to the concept of celebrating love; or of showing loved ones that you do love them, but the commercial hype and highly opportunistic pricing brought about by this largely, greeting card company manufactured/sponsored holiday, despite its ancient but unclear underpinnings, is a real put-off at this stage. I know it seems a bit odd that I would embrace Christmas so intensely, but pooh-pooh Valentine’s Day. I currently have the same disdain for the Valentine’s holiday as say Secretary’s Day (or is it Personal Assistant’s Day in today’s totally politically correct terminology)… In fact, at the mall yesterday where I was bombarded by thousands of gag-inducing symmetrical red heart cut-outs, I had a slight mental breakdown, and had visions of getting all sorts of real bleeding animal hearts at the markets and hanging them in a store window… let’s see how romantic that would be! Ever since we got bamboozled into a Valentine’s dinner at one of Manila’s snazziest restaurants about 10 years ago, where I paid well over PHP10,000 for a mediocre meal, I swore I would simply not participate in the annual commercial Valentine’s silliness if I could reasonably avoid it. For many, many years after that experience, Mrs. Marketman and I would host our annual “Anti-Valentine’s, Valentine’s Dinner.” Held on February 14th typically, we invited between 10-14 friends, couples and singles, and had a spectacular meal with spectacular wine.

When the invites went out, few ever declined. Folks were so relieved that they didn’t have to pay through the nose for tickets to see an overpriced and over-aged singer in concert, or buy a lousy meal for five times the normal cost, or shell out some of their trust funds for flowers that were forced to bloom in a particular week, not to mention the traffic… For many years, folks would call us way ahead to gently inquire if the dinner was on and if they were invited so they had something to do. And inevitably, this group of friends were extremely generous with the finest wine, the most intense chocolates, the yummiest desserts because they knew we would all enjoy them together. But last year we were unable to do the dinner and this year, believe it or not, we have to attend a concert as part of a business arrangement, but at least the tickets are free. Anyone going to be at the Leah Salonga concert in Cebu on the 14th? We will be there… Our anti-Valentine’s dinners almost always featured something red… tuna tartare, tomatoes, beet pasta, lobsters, crabs or shrimps, rare beef, red wine, strawberries, raspberries, etc. It was easy to play with the color theme. And one year, we even had hundreds of red roses that guests could take home. So why this post? To let you know that despite my disdain for the commercial side of the Valentine’s holiday, I do think there are a number of things that we can all do that don’t have to break the bank, but are special and memorable all the same. In the week ahead, I am going to hopefully cram in at least 7-10 Valentine’s posts predominantly around the theme of chocolate and flowers… and give you tips for doing it better and for less money. You may want to leave some of my posts up on your computer screen when your significant other is around…hint, hint… And not to worry, for the Valentine’s scrooges among you, other normal Marketmanila posts will be included as well! Hmmm, maybe we should start an Annulment or Divorce Day, or a Major Volcanic Eruption in My Relationship Day, to balance out the whole Valentine’s brouhaha…



  1. Lei says:

    “Hmmm, maybe we should start an Annulment or Divorce Day, or a Major Volcanic Eruption in My Relationship Day, to balance out the whole Valentine’s brouhaha…”

    What can I say, you made my day once again MM!!!

    Feb 5, 2007 | 10:49 am


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  3. wysgal says:

    I saw a flyer saying Domino’s is offering heart-shaped pizzas. Who would want to order one of those?

    My family is getting a chef to cook dinner for us at home … an each of us siblings is allowed to invite a plus 1 (or plus 1/2 close friends for those without a plus 1). Should be good fun, who wants to be stuck in traffic on a Wednesday night anyway?

    Feb 5, 2007 | 11:10 am

  4. connie says:

    I’m with you with on all this Valentine’s hoopla. Maybe, because we had the same unfortunate experience trying to have a memorable dinner in one of those fancy restaurants in town. All we got is a 1 hour wait, despite calling ahead for reservations. Bad service, on top of that we didn’t get the food we wanted because they conveniently “run out” of it. How romantic was that? Not too mention we had to battle traffic and fight for parking, because valet parking run out of spaces too. Yeah, too much headache trying to get a decent dinner on Valentine’s day, when you could get that any given time of the year.
    For us, it’s mostly dinner at home and cuddling up for a rented or bought DVD.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 1:05 pm

  5. Katrina says:

    In my whole life, I think only celebrated Valentine’s once…and regretted it for the reasons you stated above. Your anti-Valentine’s dinner reminds me of when the now-defunct rock bar, Club Dredd, would have a Black Valentine’s Night. It was like a goth, anti-romance party; more a celebration of love lost.

    As luck would have it, Valentine’s Day now falls between F’s birthday and our anniversary (both much better causes for celebration), so we really see no need to join the madness on Feb. 14. :-)

    Feb 5, 2007 | 2:04 pm

  6. leira says:

    I know valentines day has been so commercialized and they make it an excuse to overprice everything. hahahah!!! Im still one of those people who embrace the event.I make it a point to go out and feel the love something about that day I suppose and yes im one of those people who paid A HEFTY AMOUNT for a dinner that my husband didnt really enjoy. I wanted to sock him when he said sana nag Gerry’s na lang tayo..Kasi the money that I used for that special dinner came from my pay check.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 2:23 pm

  7. sha says:

    cant remember when was last I was taken out for valentines meal.. well last year I found myself standing in the kitchen while the other one was slaving for those couples who paid enormous amount of money for a very romantic dinner. at least though he did not do crappy food

    Feb 5, 2007 | 5:54 pm

  8. asunta says:

    MM, would you be kind enough to post what you plan to serve this V-Day?

    Feb 5, 2007 | 8:50 pm

  9. sister says:

    I’m for cancelling all holidays except one-your choice, mine is Christmas. Buying $5. cards and overpriced roses are for the amateur, the guilty or the impaired. You should still have your Valentine dinner, even if it’s not exactly on the 14th and celebrate with your friends. We’re seeing a friend’s daughter in a clown show off-Broadway on the 14th and I may just do a Valentine dinner- how about beet, red slaw and goat cheese salad, lobster bisque, rare roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed parsnips and potatoes, carrots, baked beans for the vegetarians and heart shaped butter cookies and meyer lemon cheesecake with plum sauce… easy and friendly.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 9:21 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    asunta, I won’t be cooking this V-Day, I have to attend a dinner/concert…

    Feb 5, 2007 | 9:22 pm

  11. marky says:

    haha an “Anti-Valentine’s, Valentine’s Dinner.” now there’s something to think about… thanks for the tip MM.

    Feb 5, 2007 | 11:28 pm

  12. Maria Clara says:

    Valentine’s Day is the busiest day for restaurants and florists and one of Hallmark cards earning venue, and chocolate candy makers too is one of their profitable days. You see outrageously priced dinner on this day indeed at restaurants.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 2:23 am

  13. kaye says:

    soo true.. that’s why me and my never celebrated this day exactly on the 14th.. who said you can’t celebrate/share love on the remaining 364 days of the year.. i just bake something special for the kids and hubby and cook a simple yet satisfying dinner to go with it..

    MM, I hope you can post easy to do and budget friendly recipes that would be enjoyed by the hubby and the kids as well..thanks!!

    Feb 6, 2007 | 3:02 am

  14. blackpearl says:

    The hubby and I stopped celebrating V-day ever since we got stuck in horrible traffic and then had to pay an absurd amount for a meal which I could have prepared (much better too!) at home. Since then V-day has always been celebrated at home with a specially cooked meal by moi! Cheaper and even better than those found in restaurant set menus.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 5:50 am

  15. Larees says:

    Hmmm, maybe we should start an Annulment or Divorce Day, or a Major Volcanic Eruption in My Relationship Day, to balance out the whole Valentine’s brouhaha… – Haha! I love this!

    I have always celebrated Vday with my closest friends, regardless if any or all of us are attached or not. We always had fun, no matter where we were.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 6:50 am

  16. CecileJ says:

    Actually, cooking a meal for our significant others can’t compare to the priciest dinners EVER! It’s the love that goes into the cooking that makes it truly memorable and special. My hubby and 2 daughters look forward to ur Valentine (and Christmas, New Year and Easter)dinners at home cos that’s when I go the extra mile to make the meal a gift from the heart. HAPPY (ANTI-) VALENTINE’s DAY!!!

    Feb 6, 2007 | 10:28 am

  17. filet minion says:

    i was about to ask how do i get tickets to your valentine dinner? but since you have to attend that concert, how then do i purchase tickets to your post-valentine dinner? mm, can’t you start a raffle for these elusive dinners you have on special occasions? again, wishful thinking. i’m with you with being anti-valentine’s day. if someone were to send me a bouquet of roses, i would shove it up that moron’s ass and say ‘what a %f$#k&n% waste of money, pano ko to kakainin?!?!?

    Feb 6, 2007 | 8:09 pm

  18. MGR says:

    My Valentine’s Day is more like “let’s plan a trip somewhere day”. For get the outrageous/ridiculous dinners and flowers. For all that money, I’d rather travel. This year it’s Semana Santa in Andalucia!

    Feb 8, 2007 | 4:23 pm

  19. jules winnfield says:

    alas, woe is he who is married to the stereotype valentine extremist. a woman whose v-day is observed, non-negotiable, on v-day itself. not a day ahead, not the weekend after. where horrendous traffic en route to greenbelt is a welcome treat, a shangri-la, compared to the excruciating, hair-splitting, nerve-racking silent ride on the way home. alas, woe is me, for this wife is mine.

    So planning dinner ON THIS DATE EVERY YEAR is obviously a forgone conclusion since the “i do’s” 6 years ago. there’s absolutely no discussion about this. she has no problem if there are no surprises at all. basta dinner on feb14. finito.

    and of course, flowers…. flowers will, for this day only, be the air she breathes. so without it, she will die. the one & only setting of all my nightmares is in a wiped out, empty flower shop on v-day. so flowers it is and always will be, with the dinner, forever and ever, amen.

    any tips guys??? hehehe. don’t get me wrong, i’m so in love with the wifey. it’s just v-day where she gets a lunar eclipse in her head.

    Feb 8, 2007 | 7:03 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    jules, boohoo for you. Dinner is up to you. But for flowers, I noticed that they are selling bouquets at Price Smart Taguig these days… ask the vendor to pull together a bunch of say 12 stems of lisianthus for a stunning bouquet; or if the Mrs. is a bit pastel-y, use pinks and purples. Just tell her red is tacky these days…heehee. Alternatively, if you live in a house, get to the FTI Taguig or similar garden market this Saturday and buy say 8-10 blooming rose bushes and hide them until Valentines, stick them in your yard or terrace…and tell her you thought she would like a rose garden instead…ay baduy talaga! You can tell I am not a Valentines convert…

    Feb 8, 2007 | 8:14 pm

  21. jules winnfield says:

    well, today is v-day and the wifey got her dozen red you-know-whats delivered to her office this morning. although i imagine her celebrating this round with victorious air-punches, i think the scorecards only have me down 10-9 since i used the card, which she pays at the end of the month. hehehe.

    mm, in case i buy those rose bushes, will they still continue to bloom if i replant them in my garden? don’t they need cooler temps to survive?

    Feb 14, 2007 | 1:13 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    jules, throw them out after their blooms die unless you have a green thumb… they are cheaper than flowers themselves…

    Feb 14, 2007 | 2:22 pm


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