Valentine’s Days – February 13 to 15 – in the Philippines

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Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

HAPI balentayms, dear readers! Valentine’s is celebrated here in the Philippines on February 13 to 15. The 14th is reserved for the most loved or legally loved, and the 13th and 15th for the more adventurous celebrations.

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I celebrated Valentine’s yesterday with my Mapa High School classmates and schoolmates, many of whom I have not met since we graduated in 1964! We had a ballroom-dance at Shangri-La Edsa Hotel dancing to the music of the 1960s—chacha, rhumba, boogie, tango and swing. A good part of this reunion month, we spent and are still having a number of happy get-togethers to rebond and reminisce our high school days—visit to Subic and Palawan, cruise to Asean countries, tour of Metro Manila, visit to Mapa High School in Mendiola/San Rafael, Manila, to culminate in the grand alumni homecoming on February 23 at the Metrotent, Metrowalk, Pasig City. Three of our classmates will receive the Blue Falcon Award for outstanding achievements—Benjamin Lozare, our salutatorian Zenaida Bruce and Mario Santos. According to our tireless organizers Mariquit Zaragoza Caballes, Ed Israel and Robert Gallegos, there are more than 60 batchmates with their spouses who traveled from different parts of the world to join this reunion. Plus many more from different parts of the Philippines.

Congratulations to all our classmates and schoolmates celebrating our Golden Jubilee!!! Enjoy!

Thank you to our foreign-based classmates for contributing to our tourism and local economy. On their own and with their respective family, relatives and friends here in the country, they have been going around shopping, dining and touring. It is more fun in the Philippines!

Classmate Joe Barreno and wife Lydia are saying that they prefer to shop here than in Hong Kong because: 1. Everybody talks English and Tagalog; 2. Goods are definitely lower-priced here; and 3. There are so many choices here of local and imported goods. I remember going to Hong Kong two years ago ready to shop, shop, shop ‘til I drop. I came home with one empty luggage. It was a good thing that I checked the shops here before going to Hong Kong. I agree with Joe’s observation.

To be green, support the local economy.

Since we celebrate an extended Valentine’s Day, let us have some ideas on how to mark the occasion in a green way:

• Take a bath together and save precious water;

• Give potted, live flowers that will bloom for a longer time and could be replanted rather than cut flowers that will wilt in a couple of days. Or give paper flowers that could sit on a beautiful vase for years;

• Celebrate in a natural setting within a short distance from your residence or office; for example, Luneta and Rizal Park, UP Sunken Garden, Paco Park, UST Botanical Garden, Quezon Memorial Circle, Manila Zoo, Ninoy Aquino Botanical Garden and many others. Explore;

• Order foods made of locally farmed produce. Our mussels are even more delicious than those from Australia and New Zealand, and their carbon footprints are very low;

• Give practical gifts (Circus Band concert) and gifts for sustainable lifestyle (garden tool set, seeds, pots, etc.). Or give a gift check from Allied Botanicals and Harbest Store at SM Megamall or to his or her favorite charity. Tie your gift with a beautiful thread or ribbon and do not gift-wrap;

• Spend little and save much for more important needs;

• ChocNuts will not only serve a craving for chocolate but also elicit some hearty laughter. Imported chocolates are expensive and have traveled long distance from their source to the warehouse to the retail store before you buy it; and

• Add your own practical and green, albeit romantic, way of expressing your affection.

Feedback to moje629@gmail.com.

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