It’s the eve of Valentine’s Day. Have you already thought of something special to give to or do with your significant other? Are you one of those people who loves to celebrate the Day of Hearts and make it more meaningful and special for your loved ones? Well, I am one of those people and through the years, I’ve already had my fair share of celebrating the season of love. And because of this, I’ll be sharing with you some of my most favorite Valentine’s Day celebrations that I did in the past, both big and small, expensive and affordable.
This blog post will be divided into three parts with my top 3 tips each so please bear with me. If it’s a a little luxury you need this Valentine’s Day, just read the first part. If you’re the frugal kind and it’s the budget-friendly tips you want, head straight to the second part. If you’re like me who now has a baby / toddler and you’d like a few advices on how you can celebrate Valentine’s with your spouse sans the mess a child brings into the picture, then read the third part.
So let’s begin…
PART 1: Valentine’s Day Tips for the Luxurious Kind
Budget: P10,000 – P20,000
When I was in my 20’s until the first half of my 30’s, I like celebrating Valentine’s Day in a major “bonggacious” way (meaning: I like to spend!). So in case you haven’t done this yet and you have the extra cash to burn, then do so. You may be P10-20K poorer but the memories you’ll make will be priceless. Anyway, money is just energy and as long as you keep being positive and you always act on your dreams, then you will never run out of money (that’s my personal belief system). YOLO so make it count!
1. Have a romantic dinner at a posh hotel.
I had club memberships before — Accor, Club Panoly, Sofitel, Mandarin, etc. But whenever Valentine’s would come, Sofitel was the place where I’d spend it. I did this a couple of times in the past even when Sofitel was still Westin Philippine Plaza. The yearly membership allowed me to get discounts plus when my ex-in-law visited me from the US, he usually took care of the tab so lucky me, yey. Like this one time in 2011, he paid P13,000++ for our Valentine’s dinner. Well, he won the money at Sofitel’s casino so it wasn’t so heavy on his pocket. Still… yey me!
Moreover, I liked Sofitel so much because aside from the fact that it’s a fairly nice hotel that is just here in Manila, and the food is really great, I like the view of the bay. Even if I’m just in the city, it makes me feel like I’m in an exotic beach. Plus, every season of love, Sofitel’s Valentine dinner special is really that —- special — with so many scrumptious dishes to choose from depending on their theme, with live entertainment plus roses, chocolates and glasses of wine added into the package. Who wouldn’t feel Valentine’s Day with this?
2. Head somewhere romantic out of town.
If you like to head out of town and go somewhere romantic, Casa San Pablo is probably one of those quaint, rustic yet romantic places I’ve been to and I highly recommend it. Every Valentine’s Day they offer this overnight package that includes an outdoor romantic dinner for two coupled with an outdoor movie activity where you can also have a grand view of the stars. For some reason, in this part of Laguna, the sky at night is really filled with so many stars. Pray that it wouldn’t be cloudy.
Furthermore, breakfast the next day is also included. Plus, here at Casa San Pablo, once you’re inside their premises, you will tend to forget your problems. The ambiance of the place is just so charming and peaceful, you can take a dip into their swimming pool and walk around their lush, verdant surroundings.
It’s like living in your own private villa with butlers to take care of your needs, even if it’s just for one night.
3. Shop, Dine and Check-in at Solaire, or Resorts World Manila, or City of Dreams
These three entertainment cities have the same ambiance for me. If you’re into the lively and luxurious vibe then you can book your dinner in one of their many posh restaurants. You can take a stroll inside their polished grounds, visit their art galleries, play at the casino, watch a play or movie first, shop for a luxury bag or jewelry then cap the night with a romantic dinner for two and even check-in at one of their expensive suites.
Solaire really has nice rooms. I was there in 2013 and I super enjoyed not just the fluffy bed but the posh bathroom as well…
Resorts World has the following hotels you can choose from:
- Remington Hotel
- Marriott Hotel Manila
- Maxims Hotel
- Belmont Hotel
Of these 4, I’ve already checked-in Remington back in 2013 because it was the cheapest, haha. The room was ok, with enough space and just the right amenities.
City of Dreams has the following hotels you can choose from:
- Crown Towers Manila
- Nobu Hotel Manila
- Hyatt Hotel Manila
I’m hoping to check-in Nobu one of these days…
PART 2: Valentine’s Day Tips for the Budget-Conscious
Budget: P1,000 – P3,000
So you’ve saved up a bit of money for Valentine’s Day but it’s just enough for a little R&R with your significant other. Well, fret not because I’m going to share with you my top 3 tips on how you can celebrate Valentine’s Day even with a very limited budget.
1. Set Up Your Home for a Romantic Valentine’s Night
Turn a part of your house into a romantic setup for Valentine’s Day. It could be your living room, your garden, your backyard, your lanai, even your bedroom. Put up some candles and incense, decorate the wall with hearts and laces, scatter some rose petals… use your imagination! Just make sure to put out the candles before going to bed. You literally don’t want to start a fire now, right?
I did this for me and Mahal back in February 2015. After setting up romantic decors in our backyard, I cooked steak, pasta, took out of the fridge my pre-ordered Red Velvet cake from Cake2Go, and opened a bottle of wine. I then slipped into my sexy lingerie and we had a romantic candlelit dinner together, followed by a more romantic dessert in the bedroom (wink! wink!)
Until now, I still consider this as the best Valentine’s Day ever. We might have conceived our baby Tuz during this time. (^_^)
2. Prepare a Jam-Packed Day Full of Activities
We actually did this yesterday for our Pre-Valentine’s Day Celebration since the 14th is a Tuesday and we have work. I’ll be describing this day of adventure in more detail on a separate post. Suffice it to say that since we were already in Clark, Pampanga for the 21st Hot Air Balloon Fiesta early at dawn until about 10 in the morning, we then decided to head to Subic and see what else we could do that we haven’t yet done in the past before heading back to Manila. I listed some places to visit that are just enough for a whole day of fun and adventure and boy was I happy that we did them all!
Here’s how we spent our day:
- 4AM – 10AM – Hot Air Balloon Fest at Clark
- 10AM – 2PM – Pamulaklakin Forest Trail where we hiked in the forest, witnessed a survival training and had a picnic lunch
- 2PM – 5PM – Magaul Bird Park where we got acquainted with various types of birds and watched a bird show. This is inside Jest Camp beside Treetop.
- 5PM – 8PM – Sunset dinner by the beach at All Hands Beach. This was a perfect place to cap our busy day. Tuz just played by the beach and we had a romantic dinner with the view of the sunset behind the mountain across the pink horizon. It was so relaxing. We stayed there until 8PM to enjoy each other’s company as Tuz was napping and had deep conversations over coffee which we rarely do anymore these days because of Tuz. It was really romantic.
You can do something similar for a day if you want your Valentine’s Celebration to be a day full of activities. You can either do this on the day of Valentine’s itself or the weekend before or after that in case you won’t be able to get a leave from work. Just choose a place where you want to do your activities, search for things you can do there and cap it with a romantic dinner somewhere peaceful and nice.
3. Make the Ordinary Extraordinary
If you’re the type who doesn’t want to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day simply because you’re exhausted from work and you have no more energy left to make the celebration more special (believe me, I’ve been there! And I think I’ll be like this by tomorrow since I’ll be working for 24 hours straight), don’t worry too much about it. The important thing is for you to spend this day with your significant other. So you can just go through your day like you normally would but when you get home, spend time with your love. Have dinner together even if it’s take-out or home-cooked, watch a movie you both like on DVD while cuddled on the couch, eat some popcorn or chips and have some cheap wine or whatever leftover alcohol you have from the past Christmas season. For me, your body being close together is more than enough to make sparks go off and before you know it, you’re already headed to the bedroom (if you’re not yet already there) for a much more romantic action. Enjoy!
PART 3: How to Enjoy Valentine’s Day Even If You ALREADY Have a Baby or Toddler
Budget: (either the expensive or affordable kind)
Mahal and I are full-time, hands-on parents. This means we have no yaya nor helper to help us at home and in taking care of our kid. So it really is a big challenge for us to find time to be intimate and just be together because most of the time, we spend it taking care of our baby who is now fast becoming a full-blown, pain-in-the-neck kind of toddler, lol. Nevertheless, the tips below that I will share with you make it easy for us to still be intimate and still have that extra time and energy to just be US. You can apply these tips especially on Valentine’s Day or whenever you want to have a romantic night with your spouse.
1. Set your expectations right and take a lot of vitamins.
In whatever you do, especially when special occasions and babies are involved, you have to always set your expectations right. You now have a baby and you’re baby is now probably a toddler with a new set of challenges in store for you. This baby will take away most of your energy and patience but you have to keep your cool because you still want to be a good parent while trying to be a good spouse as well. So unless you can get someone to take care of your kid on Valentine’s Day, better set your expectations right. It won’t be like it used to before. It probably won’t be as smooth, as orderly, as peaceful and as romantic and the sooner you accept this fact, the faster things will flow better for you on Valentine’s Day. And yes, may I suggest that you take extra vitamins. Me and Mahal are taking MAXGXL and Cellgevity glutathione accelerator capsules and we take an extra dose if we need more energy and time for each other.
2. Celebrate when baby is napping.
A baby naps for an average of an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so in the afternoon. Then he/she sleeps for 10-12 hours at night. So if you’re a full-time parent and unless you can get someone to babysit for you, whatever romantic plans you have for Valentine’s Day, do it on those hours. It will require more from you like advance preparation of what to wear, what to eat, if you’ll decorate the house or make a reservation for dining out, if you’ll just watch a movie or go straight to doing the deed, etc. Time management is key.
3. Bring the right distractions or go somewhere child-friendly.
If you can’t help but let your baby or toddler join in on the fun of celebrating Valentine’s Day, then make sure to bring his favorite toys or go somewhere child-friendly like kids’ zones or play areas inside malls if your child is already a toddler. If he/she is just a baby, make sure his/her toys and bottle of milk + pacifier are within reach. This will ensure that your child will be kept busy and at peace while you spend time bonding with your spouse.
For more detailed tips about living enjoyably even with a baby, you can check my other post here: HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY? (A 2016 TRAVEL RECAP)
I hope these things inspired you to have a more peaceful, enjoyable and meaningful Valentine’s Day celebration this year. The important thing is to keep the love alive and to make sure that the fire between lovers are kept burning. You can spend tons of money or no money at all. It’s all up to you. Make it count and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!