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Alt Valentine’s

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Valentine’s Day is upon us and being the commercial blockbuster that it has been, people must be scrambling for flowers, sweets, plushies, or reserving date venues for their Valentine’s right about now. Those who haven’t done so way in advance will have to deal with ridiculous prices at this point, as we are officially in crunch, price gouging time.

Those who have been following me know that my wife is going to be disappointed yet again this Valentine’s Day, because I haven’t been the V-Day kind of guy, even when we were an unmarried couple. However, now that it is here, and most Filipinos are still dealing with high inflation and the economic pinch, allow me to propose a few practical V-Day presents that might raise the eyebrow of your Valentine, but should be appreciated nonetheless.

Instead of buying the usual flowers, candies, chocolates, or stuffed toys, consider some items that can be considered as luxuries during these tough times.

For example, consider getting your Valentine an annual subscription to an online streaming service, if they don’t have one yet and are being bombarded by ads and suffer through limited usability. It will probably cost less than a grand bouquet of roses, but will last 12 months. It’s not exactly romantic, but giving the target of your affections full access to either Netflix, YouTube Premium, Spotify, or Disney Plus would be much appreciated. To cap it off, you can even use the gift to go Netflix and chill. And as an added bonus, you could even share the password when you share sweet nothings.

If your romantic interest has a car, something car-related would also be appreciated. A change oil package at the CASA, a full detailing GC, or any of those car-maintenance costs that most of us cringe when we get the bill, would be of more value than the usual traditional V-Day presents, which may be pretty, but aren’t very practical if you ask me. Car maintenance is something a lot of us car owners try to avoid or delay, but is an obligation that must be met if you are going to extend the life of your investment, so why not make it a part of the V-Day celebrations?

Since health is wealth, consider the gift of health insurance, or at least a comprehensive annual physical exam package, which you can even turn into a date if you haven’t had yours yet. This is another annual expense that a lot of us choose to ignore, because it can be expensive, especially if all the necessary tests to get an accurate picture of your loved ones’ state of health are included. For some, it is also avoided because ignorance is bliss. But if you are looking into a long-term relationship, making sure your potential partner is healthy makes sense, and if you come to think of it, taking an annual physical exam and getting bloodwork done says more about you thinking about taking the relationship to the next, long term level than a bouquet of roses can.

If you ask me, the usual flowers or chocolates are for V-Day dates that you don’t really know yet but want to impress. However, a couple that already knows each other intimately would not need to go to the default setting anymore and level up. Instead of being the main event, those flowers and candies can just be the garnish, if you insist on making them part of your Valentine’s Day. When you start to really know someone you supposedly love, you should already know what makes them really happy. Going specific like giving people presents that support their hobbies or interests should speak more to them than the usual V-Day gifts. It shows them that you know them well enough to know what makes them tick and that you support whatever hobby they have, no matter how corny it may be. This is when going beyond the default settings for Valentine’s Day should prove the level of your commitment towards your partner and the relationship that you have.

If your bebe has a big family, then maybe consider a 25-kg sack of good quality rice as a V-Day gift. Gone are the days when rice was cheap, and since we are not going anywhere near to the national aspiration of P20/kg rice and are closer to the harsh reality of P60/kg rice, why not spend your romansa-budget on it instead? As a bonus, your bebe can even hug the sack of rice, like a body pillow, as it slowly becomes smaller over time, while your love for each other grows.

Even when our wallets were a bit fatter, it had always been easy to fall into the Valentine’s Day trap in order to prove our love. For most couples, especially those who are not even a couple yet, the tried and tested formula of flowers, candies, and a trinket should do the trick. However, those couples that have already survived numerous V-Days together and have grown tired of the usual, can still find many other ways to still enjoy that hyper-commercialized holiday.*

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