Everyone considers Valentine’s Day as the most romantic day of the year. But it is quite interesting to note that how it all began isn’t that too dreamy. Saint Valentinus (a.k.a. St. Valentine), a Catholic saint, was executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II sometime during the third century A.D for solemnizing weddings for those forbidden to get married. While in prison, he composed a letter to a girl and signed it: ‘From your Valentine’. He was buried on February 14th. So, you see, Valentine’s Day was not regarded with sentimental esteem until the 1700s when it started to take after the Valentine’s Day we currently know.
In the Philippines, “Araw ng mga Puso” (Heart’s Day) is one of the celebrated and most commercialized occasions next to the Christmas Season as Filipinos cherish the day with gift-giving, making prices of chocolates, flowers, and jewelry shoot through the roof. Even dinner reservations are full, and especially now with the less stringent restrictions, restaurants will once again deal with the usual long queues for couples who go on a date. As the occasion nears, streets and stores get festooned with red and pink paper hearts. In most workplaces, lucky girls get something delivered—from a single flower to a whole bouquet, chocolates, and heart balloons, to pastries, and even their favorite food–a sana all moment for spectators.
Girls carrying bouquets and balloons are a frequent sight in passenger jeepneys and MRT trains during Valentine Season. The sidewalks of Divisoria are filled with a sundry of potential gifts—from handmade paper roses, balloons, and local chocolates—and people swarm in Dangwa’s flower shops early to avail of more affordable spring bouquets and other flower arrangements. Malls usually have a flower-bedecked photo corner and big red L-O-V-E letters on display. And aside from restaurants, one knows how motels in Sta. Mesa, Pasig, and Pasay suddenly become fully booked too!
Some couples spend their Valentine’s Day by going on a road trip to an out-of-town beach or dining out, while others prefer to stay home and binge on movie marathons. There are even people who treat the occasion as an ordinary day of the year, as they go ahead unfazed and unbothered by the festivity. Indeed, Valentine’s Day means differently for every individual, as depicted by their love affairs…or lack of it.
The POP! team talked to five people—some of whom have decided to withhold their identity—who are in different relationship setups: A proudly single man, a woman in an LGBTQ relationship, a couple in a relationship that’s across the miles, a person currently surviving a heartbreak, and a happily married couple continuing to withstand the tests of time for 25 years and counting.
Join us as we find out what will this day of celebrating love and relationships look like for each of them. Here, we retell their ‘love’ stories:
(CLICK ON ANY IMAGE BELOW TO READ THE STORIES)
#QuirkyAlone and loving it
On a side note, some single people (like me, the author of this piece) celebrate “Single’s Awareness Day” on February 15! We treat ourselves to spa sessions or home massages and end the day with wine and cheese…alone, unbothered. I personally identify myself as #QuirkyAlone—who, by definition, is described as someone who has the capacity to be comfortable with being single and do not feel the need to date, or to seek a partner simply for the sake of having one. Quirkyalones, like me, are not necessarily people who are aromantic (people who feel no romantic attraction towards others), asexual (people who feel no sexual attraction towards others, and can sometimes experience sexual repulsion), or antisocial (people who find no pleasure in the company of others). I have loved deeply, have been hurt many times over, and because of those experiences, I have treasured the beauty and the pain and opted to stay the way I am, a happy QuirkyAlone.
QuirkyaAlones do not, in fact, feel “alone”. We remain single by choice, and we do not want to normalize the fact that if I am without a partner, I am unhappy. Hell no, I have deep and lasting connections with friends and family and spend a great deal of time enjoying my hobbies, loving myself—with or without company. Through the years, I have loved myself and my own company (with my fur baby, of course) and as QuirkyAlone coach and founder Sasha Cagen puts it, people like us “relish equal doses of friendship and solitude, freedom and possibility.”
Valentine’s Day is for everyone, in whatever way love manifests in your life—whether it’s a love for your beau, family, spouse, partner, or even for yourself. Whoever you are, and whatever your political and gender preferences are, Pinoy-style Valentine’s Day is always worth celebrating.
Let’s not be afraid to celebrate love in all its forms. Maligayang Araw ng mga Puso, everyone! May you find the love that has long been in search of you.
Other POP! stories you might like:
The eternal flame of Philippine motels
The dark origins of Valentine’s Day and how it became the celebration of love we know today
4 timeless rom-com films to watch this Valentine’s Day