14 Ideas for a Different Valentine’s in 2011

Celebrating Valentine’s is getting competitive, with a lot of events happening all at the same time. Since V-day falls on a weekday, it offers a unique scenario where you have a pre-Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 12-13), the Valentine’s Day celebration itself, and a post-Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 19-20).


I know it’s tough to plan a V-day date or gimik these days, so here are 14 ideas to make your Valentine’s celebration a little different:

1. Valentine’s Picnic by Taal Lake

I’ve always loved picnics, which is why I was happy to find a perfect spot for it beside the Taal Lake. Club Balai Isabel in Talisay is now a full-fledged resort with a big swimming pool, a new chapel called The Spousal of Joseph and Mary Chapel, and an unobstructed view of Taal Volcano.

Club Balai Isabel offers a picnic for 2 for only P1,200, exclusively for 12 couples per day from February 12-14. The picnic includes: chips and 3 kinds of salsa, chicken yakitori and pork loin barbecue with java rice (to be grilled), baked chorizo penne with bechamel sauce , pandesal de pugon with 3 kinds of spread , fresh fruit salad , and ensaymaditas with queso de bola.

The best time to go is from 5pm-8pm so you can catch the Taal sunset. Club Balai Isabel is just an hour away from Manila, thanks to the SLEX-Star Tollway. You exit via Talisay, Batangas.

Reserve now with Richard, Account Executive of Club Balai Isabel +63 917 872-1533!

2. RENT + Midnight Mercato

RENT is back and opens on February 12 — just in time for the Valentine’s season! Here is the blog post for this 2011 run: [RENT The Musical in Manila 2011] How Did You Measure Your Life in 2010? Don’t miss it because this could be the last time it will be staged in Manila.

For the opening night on Feb. 12, Saturday, contact Minnie: amillionmiracles@gmail.com or +63 917 867-6332 now to buy your tickets.

Lastly, please support the Our Awesome Planet RENT show on February 19, Saturday, 8pm.  

Feb 19, 2011 (Saturday)
8PM / RCBC Plaza
View the Seat Plan: (click here)
Contact Rache: rache@diaz.ph or +63917-531 8949
to buy your tickets.

Midnight Mercato opens this coming Friday, February 11, just in time for the RENT opening and Valentine’s Season! Finally, there’s a good place to go after watching a play or Broadway musical in Manila.

Inspired by the bustling night markets and hawker centers of Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, Midnight Mercato is the weekend late night food bazaar where you can enjoy mouth-watering food finds — from home-cooked meals to gourmet signature dishes to classic street food re-invented — all while listening to live acoustic musical performances. Most importantly, you can enjoy Midnight Mercato in a clean, comfortable and organized setting inside an air-conditioned tent.

Join us at the Midnight Mercato every Friday and Saturday from 10pm to 3am, starting February 11. Entrance is free. Hang out with us this coming weekend!

3. Escape to Radisson Blu

I recently stayed in Radisson Blu in Cebu City with the Subaru Club of the Philippines. Everyone couldn’t stop raving about it. It makes the hotels in Manila look like 4-star hotels that desperately need a renovation. The Gokongweis were right that this Henry Sy hotel is really good.

We loved the majestic lobby, nice rooms, and awesome breakfast buffet @ Feria! The pool and Blue Spa were decent but not as impressive as the lobby. Sadly, we didn’t get to see the 20th floor Club Lounge, which gives a panoramic view of the Mactan Island and Channel.

They have a couples only Valentine’s Package for P7,500 nett per person, which includes a 2-night stay in a deluxe room, a 90-minute aromatherapy massage at the Blue Spa, an extra special dinner at Feria with complimentary wines, and a romantic breakfast in bed.

Escape to Radisson now! To reserve, contact:
Telephone Number: +63 32 402-9900
Email: reservations.cebu@radisson.com
Website: radissonblu.com/hotel-cebu

4. I’ll give you the Stars and the Galaxy!

Here is a chance to literally give the Stars and the Galaxy to your special someone.

You can sponsor and buy a galaxy like Vicente Wenceslao, who dedicated the Milky Way Galaxy to Monet Wenceslao for P20,000. Sponsor a galaxy here: The Mind Museum | Reach a Galaxy

You can also light up a star for your loved one in the Explore the Solar System Virtual Exhibit. You can dedicate a star for P1,000 here: The Mind Museum | Light a Star, Explore the Solar System Exhibit. The name will appear in the virtual exhibit and you’ll even get a certificate.

(P.S. Sorry, the moon is taken already.)

5. Private Valentine’s Dining

Private Dining is hot these days because it offers really good food and a nice, intimate ambiance with a fair price (it ranges from P1,000-P2,000). Since most private dining places are at the chefs’ homes, there is less rental overhead so most of the the price goes to the quality of the food and extra special service.

These two are my recent favorites:
1. The Home Chef by Minnie Puno – contact Minnie +63 917 838-2559
2. Chef Tatung – contact Chef Myke +63 915 846-3234

And these two are on my next-to-try list:
1. Chef Myrna Segismundo – contact +632 721-0736
2. Chef Bambi Gobio’s Damaso Residencia – contact +63 917 848-0620

Do let me know in the comments section if you have tried them already and if you have other private dining recommendations. 🙂

6. Private Cheffing

Hiring a private chef is the IN thing these days as an alternative to buying takeout food or having food catered at your house. I only know of a few chefs who love to do private gigs and who enjoy it very much.

You can request to have the fresh ingredients bought at the Mercato Centrale organic market and have them cook the dishes in your own private kitchen. Budget P2,000/head for a minimum of 20 people.

These are the top private chefs in Manila:
1. Chef Sau specializes in Kapampangan and Healthy Sustainable Cuisine. Contact +63 917 556-0917
2. Chef Ed specializes in Mestizo Cuisine. Contact +63 916 688-6247
3. Chef Clint specializes in Italian and modern NY cuisine. Contact +63 917 523-0873
4. Chef Tun Thai specializes in Thai Cuisine. Contact +63 928 402-1322

7. Hot Air Valentine’s in Pampanga

The biggest festival in Clark, Pampanga takes place on February 10-13. Most people would wake up at 3am just to see the hot air balloons fly at 5.45am. This happens after the flag jump while the sun rises on the horizon. There are a lot of activities after the balloons take off but most people like to go on a Kapampangan Food Trip.

Make sure to reserve in:

  • C’ Italian Dining by Chef Chris – +63 45 892-4059
  • Bale Dutung by Chef Claude Tayag – +63 917 535-9198

For more info: 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (February 10-13, 2011)

8. Pyro Musical Valentine’s

My favorite pyro competition is the World Pyro Olympics. Thing is, the organizers are still looking for a suitable spot for the competition after it moved out of the Mall of Asia. Meanwhile, their rival, the Philippine International Pyro Musical Competition, is now on its 2nd year. It will start this Feb. 12 weekend.

I would recommend watching the defending champion United Kingdom on February 19, Saturday, 8pm. Also, don’t miss the finale with runner-up Australia performing at 7pm and our very own Philippines at 8pm on March 5.

For more information, visit The 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

(Tip: Avoid the Mall of Asia area every Saturday starting Feb. 12 until March 5 if you don’t want to be caught in the Pyromusical Competition traffic.)

9. Valentine’s Surfing in Baler

I love Baler! I recently learned that their biggest festival happens this February. If you are dating a surfer or just looking for a different out-of-town Valentine’s celebration, check out Baler.

Batang Baler has the official Aurora Day Celebration activities. Don’t miss the 15th Aurora Surfing Cup in Sabang Beach/Cemento from Feb. 10-13, 2011.

Here is the OAP | Baler, Aurora Blog Post Series:

10. Mercato Centrale + Myth of the Human Body Combo

Kick off the pre- and post- Valentine’s weekend with an awesome breakfast with your loved one in Mercato Centrale. Also, if you are looking for a special Valentine’s gift, visit the market this weekend for unique food finds. The market is open from 7am to 2pm.

Here are our favorites in Mercato Centrale: OAP | The Mercato Centrale Family

For more info, here is the official website: www.MercatoCentrale.ph

After Mercato, visit this unique but eerie exhibit about the mystery of the Human Body. Here is my complete review about it: Myth of the Human Body: A Review

11. Breakups & Breakdowns

“Breakups & Breakdowns” is an original Filipino musical written and directed by Joel Trinidad that theatergoers shouldn’t miss. “It centers on the bittersweet complexities of falling in and out of love by presenting the intertwined and romantic narratives of four individuals — playwright Mark and his ex-girlfriend Nina, and Mark’s friend Derek and another girl named Sandy.” This is perfect for Valentine’s!

Our favorite Filipino thespians Joel Trinidad and Carla Laforteza are the stars of the show. It opens in Teatrino, Greenhills on Feb. 18 and runs until Mar. 12 (Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.).

For more information and ticket inquiries, contact +63 949 791-7270 or +632 964-6562 or email upstarttickets@gmail.com. Visit the Official Website at: Upstart Breakups & Breakdowns

12. Gift Idea: Etch-a-Sketch Ipad

Why not give an iPad as a gift with the coolest Etch-a-Sketch Ipad case? This would really show how serious you are about the relationship. 🙂 Buy the iPad from a MAC Premium Reseller (like iStudio in Bonifacio High Street) and the Etch-a-Sketch from www.GetaHeadCase.com for $39.

(Tip: If you are planning to give a 3G version, make sure that the prepaid microsim is loaded with Supersurf subscription.)

13. Post-Valentine’s Treat for the Ladies: Chippendales!

Maybe you might want to give your special lady and her girlfriends tickets to watch the Chippendales in Resorts World Manila. Show dates are on Feb. 18 and 19.

For more information, visit: Resorts World Manila | Chippendales

14. Valentine’s for a Cause — Hope for Job!


For a meaningful Valentine’s, why not donate your Valentine’s budget to give hope and life to Job? I was touched by his story; he really needs our help:

Job Tyrese, our first baby, was born in June 6, 2010 with BILIARY ATRESIA–a fatal, serious and rare liver disease that affects newborn infants (1 out of 15,000). 

At six months old, Job Tyrese’s liver–and life–is at risk. His disease is caused by his liver not having bile ducts. The bile ducts should help the liver drain out bile to pass it on to the intestines for digesting food. As a result, the bile is trapped inside his body and this will cause liver scarring and loss of liver tissue/Cirrhosis.

The solution the doctors came up with is through liver transplant. The only curative management for Biliary atresia. Unfortunately, the procedure can only be done in a hospital in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong or USA. More importantly, the operation costs some P3 million to P4 million ($60,000 – $80,000) specifically in Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan.

For more information, visit Hope for Job Tyrese : A Chance to Live, a fund-raising campaign to make Job’s liver transplant possible.


That’s it. Have a romantic and meaningful Valentine’s!

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickr Youtube

Full Disclosure:

  • We are co-founders of Mercato Centrale and Midnight Mercato.
  • We are show buyers for the February 19, 8pm RENT show. Please support the show 🙂
  • Joy Ona, who organizes the picnic at Club Balai Isabel, is the owner of Onalicious, a Mercato Centrale Merchant partner.
  • iStudio is an advertising partner of Our Awesome Planet.
  • We paid for our stay in Radisson Blu with local discounted rate. (Kudos to Henry Sy for that awesome hotel!) I’m NOT connected with or compensated in any way by Radisson Blu.
  • I’m NOT related to, connected with or compensated in any way by the Private Chefs or Private Dining establishment featured in this blog post.
  • I’m NOT related to, connected with or compensated in any way by the events, festivals and other plays featured in this blog post.
  • I’m NOT connected with, compensated by, or represented by any PR firm. Please email me at anton@diaz.ph if any PR firm is claiming otherwise.

P.S. For The Company fans out there, check out their Feb. 14 Concert @ New World Hotel. For tickets, you can contact Rache at +63917 531-8949 or email rachediaz@gmail.com

13 thoughts on “14 Ideas for a Different Valentine’s in 2011

  1. Big help Anton! Very informative, just in time for my balikbayan relatives and friends to explore 🙂

  2. Radisson…in Cebu…I heard a lot of not-so-good things that happen at that hotel some years ago while it was still under construction…heard a lot of people died in there…so it’s just not for me…just my two cents..

  3. Hi Anton,
    Nice rev on Balai Isabel! Sana you can post more pics! Never knew the mouth of the lake was super picturesque. Most of what tourists normally see kasi is the view of the fish nets.
    Anyway, hope you don’t mind if i share. my friend is organizing a series of gourmet dinners on a luxury yacht on Manila Yacht Club from Feb 11-13 at night. Intimate 3-course dinner with good house wine plus a great view of fireworks from Mall of Asia =)
    This works best with people who are allergic to the mad V-Day rush =)

  4. Radisson Blu now top notched my Vday list! I read they also have this Valentine Dinner package. Been reading a lot of great reviews of it and now it’s time to try out the posh hotel myself. Thanks Anton for this exciting list!

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