I became aware of Valentines Day when I was 16. Most of my friends at that time either have crushes, boyfriends, or have some wacko kid following them around. I didn't have that. What I had were books, more books, and a schedule of movies in Makati for the next one month. You see, I am a movie buff. I watched movies by my lonesome, and had lots of fun reviewing them for what they are worth, back then. Well, I had friends too, where we have barbeque parties with disco music blasting around, and pineapple juice drink spiked with gin tonic to go with our pica-pica. Oh, those were the fun times! .
Las Pinas was still a town then, and a part of Rizal. It was commonplace to find carabaos plying the Las Pinas-Zapote route as most lands were rice farms. I remember that there were only two to four buildings in the entire highway. With this scenario, thinking about valentines day in a romantic way, was alien to me. All I knew was that, our late dad either took us clubbing to watch Pilita Corales (his favorite), or go out of town in the nearby Nido Resort (is it still around?) for some swimming and fun.
I realized that I was the only one without a boyfriend among my friends at 16. I got worried about that. Am I ugly or unlovable? How come they have dates and I don't? That really bothered me, that I prayed to the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran to intercede, and please, pretty please --- give me a boyfriend! Oh, boy! That was hilarious! But the Virgin must must have taken pity on me since a week after my 9th day novena, a suitor came around!
That's divine intervention, if you ask me. God sometimes hears the pleas of His flock if they are persistent on asking Him on what they want. It was a boyfriend I wanted, so I got that. That valentine gift didn't last long , however, as I got introduced to the fun ways of being a "sossy" girl. Not that sossy really, but I experienced going out of the country for the first time with my sisters, went shopping in top-end stores like Rustans, went on out-of-town trips with the family, and accompany our dad in watching nightclub acts in nearby Paranaque and Makati.
Hence, valentines was not a significant part of my life during my teens, as I have social diversions that I found more entertaining.
The Yuppie Years
Valentines Day suddenly became a boy-girl thing to me when I started working. It meant --- movie dates, dining in top end restaurants , night clubbing, disco dancing, and receiving gifts like chocolates, cakes, and all the sweetie things from the love one. It meant going into relationships and having emotional investments to make it work. As a yuppie on the rise, I took the occasion in stride and savor the experience for what they were worth.
Those were turbulent years, when the practice of one's profession can run contrary to the needs of the love one. The day can sometimes ran smack into important meetings and conferences. Problems can arise in the office, where the celebration would have to be put off since there are more important things to do. Valentines come and go, until the significant other grew tired of all the alibis and reasons why I can't be with him on that particular day.
After some time, the occasion was celebrated either a day or two after Valentines. It was no longer a significant occasion to reckon with, as it began to look like one of my appointments where my presence was needed; and can be cancelled, if the occasion calls for it. Those were dangers signs. Meaning, that this type of relationship was gearing towards disaster--- which it did, a few years later.
The Later Years
I have now evolved into a person who is deeply anchored with her beliefs, and independent of any deep emotional ties. I see relationships as something that should be under my own terms and conditions. I never wanted to follow anybody around, nor do I want anyone to keep on following me.
So, how do I spend valentines day today?
a. I had fried veggie lumpia with pickled green mangoes and ampalaya this morning;
b. Had cornetto duo ice cream --- coffee flavor with vanilla for merienda;
c. Write articles re --- politics, accountancy. and Christianity. Update my journal;
d. Continue to curse Sun Broadband for slow internet connection. It's been acting up since last night;
e. And a SHOUT-OUT to everybody --- Get out of cyberspace! Have a life, and date your significant other. Leave cyberspace to us poor bloggers and online writers! Free some internet space so we can do our work! LMAO!
Happy Valentines everyone! :D
Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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