MANILA -- Celebrating Valentine's Day doesn't have to be expensive to be memorable. There are countless ways to mark the day without having to spend much.
Here are just some ideas on where to go in case you haven't planned out your date yet with your special someone.
Dining places under P500:
If you are looking for delicious food at an affordable price minus the ambiance, you can go to the following:
1. Cocoy's Pares: (Visayas Avenue, Quezon City/Tel. No. 924-5019)
Serves the Filipino favorite beef brisket in that brown sauce that you'd like to pour over the sinangag rice. Their beef pares costs P75. They also offer other food like T-bone (P120) and porkchop (P80) among others.
2. Rodic's Diner (multiple locations)
A known name when it comes to serving 'silog' (sinangag at itlog) combination for P80 to P100. They also have a branch in Makati. The operating hours for its branch at No. 14 Masaya Street, UP Village, Quezon City is from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
3. R&J's Bulalohan (600 Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City)
The restaurant is open 24 hours and offers the comfort food bulalo for P219 (regular) good for two, and P269 (special) for 3-4 persons.
4. Mang Larry's Isaw (UP College of Law parking lot/Tel. No. 433-7469)
Isaw at Mang Larry's. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
A well-loved street food suitable for the budget of UP Diliman students. But not only students patronize his isawan. His isaw sells for P5/stick, atay (P6/stick), pork barbecue (P10/stick), tenga (P6/stick) among others. Operating hours from 10am-9:30 pm
5. Ma Mon Luk Restaurant: (Quezon Avenue/Tel. No. 712-3560)
If you haven't tried this before, your parents probably have. It is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants still in operation. Their original mami sells for P105 (large) and P95 for small. The mami will also make you forget the restaurant's unique odor. They open at 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Places to visit under P500
Tired of going to the mall? Try the outdoors for a change. What better way to commune with nature than by visiting the nearest park in your area.
1. La Mesa Eco Park
There are various activities offered there like horseback riding, biking, fishing, and zipline for a fee. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. only and has an entrance fee of P50/head (QC residents with ID pay only P40).
2. UP Diliman campus
UP Diliman campus. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
You can take leisurely walks or jog around the campus. Lucky you, the university is holding its UP Fair this month where several activities from food booths to live bands are lined up until Saturday.
3. Rizal Park and Paco Park
If you want a bit of history, these parks can set the tone. Rizal Park has many pocket themed gardens (P10 entrance) to match your romantic mood. Paco Park, on the other hand, has a tranquil setting. If your date has nothing against walking through lawns with walls that used to be a cemetery, then Paco Park is a nice place to go.
Luckily, February 14 falls on a Friday when the park holds its Paco Park Presents. "A Special Valentine's Night at the Park" will entertain audience with music by the Classical Quartet at 6 p.m. Paco Park charges a minimal entrance fee of P10.
4. Fort Santiago and Intramuros
Another historic area, Fort Santiago will hold a benefit concert for Yolanda survivors dubbed "Sining sa Muling Pagbangon" by the Philippine Madrigal Singers on Friday, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Date here for a worthy cause.
A walk around the walls of Intramuros or sunset watching at the breakwater/Bay walk is also a romantic and inexpensive way of celebrating Valentine's Day.
For budgets of P500 to P1,500:
1. Don Day Korean Restaurant (Timog and Teacher's Village, Quezon City)
The restaurant offers a Korean lunch buffet for P257 (Monday to Friday). A buffet with unlimited serving of samgyeopsal (pork belly) is only for P335/head and P447/head for a limitless serving of beef. Another branch is located in Malingap Street, Teacher's Village, QC.
2. Primero Casa Filipino (Scout Torillo cor Sct Fernandez, Brgy Sacred Heart, QC/Tel No. 921-1850)
The restaurant itself gives you that homey feel. On the buffet table they serve favorite Filipino dishes for P398/head every Monday to Thursday, and P498/head on Friday to Sunday. A rose and a red velvet cake will be given away on Valentine's Day (according to its Facebook page). The restaurant opens 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
3. Yutaka Izakaya (Along Aurora Boulevard, near SM Sta. Mesa/Tel. no. 713-6558)
Care to try authentic Japanese dishes for less? Try this one. Located along Aurora Boulevard, the place is usually packed at night so better go there a little earlier if you want to get a good spot. They open at 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
4. Wensha Spa (Branches in Timog, Quezon City and CCP Complex, Pasay City)
Inside Wensha Spa. Photo from Wensha Spa's Facebook page
If you're looking for relaxation, what better way to do that than in a spa? The P780/head price entitles you to their eat-all-you-can buffet of shabu-shabu and Filipino dishes, bottomless drinks, one-hour massage, free use of steam, sauna, hot Jacuzzi and cold whirlpool. You are also allowed to stay on for eight hours inside the facility.
5. White Moon Bar (2/F Sunset Quay, Manila Ocean Park, Manila) and Liquid Bar and Lounge (Aquatica area, Manila Ocean Park)
Another romantic way to celebrate heart's day is by witnessing the sunset at White Moon Bar. On the other hand, the Liquid Bar and Lounge offers a lunch buffet for P230/head daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its bar operation is every Wednesday to Saturday from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Budgets of over P1,500:
Splurge, if you've got a lot to spare.
1. The Nest, Vivere Hotel (Alabang)
Located on the hotel's 31st floor, the restaurant gives you a 360-degree view of Metro Manila's south. For Valentine's Day, they offer buffet which range from P2,400 to P2,700 for their "A City Love Affair" promo.
2. Buddha-Bar Manila (Kalayaan Avenue, Makati)
Inside Buddha-Bar Manila. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page
If you like Asian or Oriental ambiance, then you're in the right place. On February 14 yo 15, the restaurant is offering its Valentine's Dinner set for only P1,800/head. It's a four-course dinner with glass of red or white wine. Freebies also await those who will avail the promo.
3. Seryna (Little Tokyo, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati)
Salmon sashimi at Seryna. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
The restaurant offers a wide range of authentic Japanese favorites like sushi, tempura, sashimi and traditional bento to name a few. They also have a lunch bento for only P580. Seryna opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at 6-11 p.m. for dinner.
4. Melo's (Alabang, Quezon City, and The Fort)
A meal at Melo's. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page
Melo's offer mouthwatering plates of certified Angus beef and wagyu. With three branches to choose from, you can avail of their Valentine steak set meal for P5,590/head of wagyu tenderloin Grade 12, foie gras with truffle sauce.
5. Illustrado (Calle Real del Palacio, Intramuros)
According to their website, Illustrado caters to clients with enlightened tastes. The fine-dining restaurant has served several well-known personalities including some heads of states in the past. For P2,000/head, diners are treated to set dinner that consists of an appetizer, soup, main course, dessert and a glass of wine. Your female date also gets a free rose.
Now, on to the next topic: accommodations.
1. Korner Apartelle (Kamuning cor. Tomas Morato, Barangay Kamuning, Quezon City/ Tel. (02) 579 9110)
They have three types of rooms: studio (P600 to P1,200), deluxe (P700 to P1,350) and executive (P750 to P1,500) you can choose from depending on your stay (8, 12 or 24 hours).
2. Stone House Bed and Breakfast (E. Rodriguez Avenue, Brgy. Kristong Hari, Quezon City/Tel Nos. 7247551, 7214672 , 7247549)
The price, according to its website, ranges from P1,456-2,688 depending on the room type.
3. Orchids (Hillcrest Drive, Pasig City/Tel No. 6714595)
A member of the Flower Group of motels, Orchids offers the following rates: 12 hours (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.) P710 for garage and P680 for taxi room; and 5 hours (4 a.m. to 5 p.m.) P525 for garage and P395 for taxi room.
4. Hotel Sogo (multiple locations)
This chain of hotels stands out among its neighboring buildings with its red and yellow motif. This branch in Cubao offers: 2 hours Econo room rate for P199 (Monday to Thursday); and 12 hours (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) for as low as P395 (Monday to Thursday). Rates may vary in other branches.
5. Victoria Court (multiple locations)
The 50 Shades of Grey suite at Victoria Court. Photo from Victoria Court's website
Its branch in Pasig (Tel. No. 671-9782) has a "Bucket of Love" Valentine's promo: 12 hours suite room for P2,595. This includes a romantic dinner set up for twp and a pillow blanket gift.
Regular rates for 12 hours are P1,810 (without garage) and P1,285 (with garage).
Rates vary in other branches.