If you're anything like us (okay, just me then), your girlfriend, wife, or significant other would always be mad at you for not planning something special to do to celebrate Valentine's Day. If you're worse than us, then you should know that it's on February 14.
So, to help you out for the impending day of hearts, here are 10 of our V-date suggestions, prepared for us by the husband and wife tandem of Ray Flores T. Reyes and Lynne E. Reyes. The two have been blogging for years on their site www.lynne-enroute.com, and have built up quite a following.
Mostly we have assembled a list places to have a nice brunch, lunch or dinner. Regardless, each one of these places have a great ambience about them and, in some cases, would involve a nice drive.
Expect to score many good points with the missus should you take her to any of our suggestions. Please though, keep the comments SPG.
Within Metro Manila
Oakwood Premier, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Easily one of the most accessible, the Oakroom is actually situated within the Oakwood Hotel. Many would remember that Oakwood is synonymous with the mutiny that took place there nearly 10 years ago, but that was at their original location in Makati. Now, Oakwood has transferred to their new location in Ortigas Center along ADB Avenue.
The Oakroom is set up as a classy, fine dining restaurant with an exquisite selection of wines and spirits. Proper decorum is a must as well as a decent dress code, though they don't enforce the latter. The dishes to try include the Lamb Chops and Chicken Quesadillas, though it doesn't stop there. Also try out their list of desserts, including the rather Westernized version of our own halo-halo: the Mix-Mix.
The Goose Station
W Building, Bonifacio Global City
Looking for something more intimate, or perhaps more suited to the occasion? Perhaps The Goose Station is something for you.
A careful play on degustation, The Goose Station, as the name implies, serves carefully prepared haute cuisine. The place itself is small, only able to fit about 25 people. For those who wish for a truly intimate experience with Foie Gras, deconstructed dishes and other fine dining options, then this could be it.
The menu is always changing every quarter of the year; something that's always good for those who desire variety. You can order from the menu ala carte, or opt for the set menus, ranging in price from Php 1800 to 2500; but really, at this level of dining it's all about the experience, and The Goose Station certainly won't disappoint.
Calbayog Street, Mandaluyong
Now here's a place to go to if you're up for a wine fix.
It's not a new place, but it's always good to see that Mandaluyong's Galileo Enoteca (the latter literally meaning wine repository) is still serving up great wines and tapas. So good is business, in fact, that they've already opened a few other branches around the metro.
The staff are always friendly and will always offer up advice on the right wines to pair with your chosen dishes, whether you're ordering ala carte or with set menus (which already comes with wine, FYI). Of course, you really can mix and match whichever wine you wish to try out with a dish.
The set menus aren't particularly expensive, but the experience certainly feels so, not to mention the intimacy of the place.
Julietta Circle, Quezon City
Tucked away in Horseshoe Village, QC is Lemuria, a fine dining restaurant that serves up some luscious dishes that will surely whet the tastebuds of those who prefer French and Mediterranean cuisines.
The dishes here are truly made to impress, and range in price from about PhP 500 to 1200. Some to keep in mind when ordering are the Feta and Watermelon salad, Pasta ala Romans, the homemade ravioli, braised lamb shank, the grilled Angus or Wagyu and, of course, the seared foie gras.
And to top it all off, the restaurant is actually above Brumms Quality Wines, Inc., and will definitely provide an extensive list of vinos to go with the food... and the occasion.
The Day Trips
Las Casas Filipinas
Drive time from Manila: 3 to 4 hours
If you like a bit of history, not to mention a bit of Filipiniana, then perhaps a drive to Las Casas Filipinas would fit the bill.
Situated in Bagac, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar is actually a heritage town/resort wherein the developers moved in a variety of historical houses from around the country, and rebuilt them brick by brick and plank by plank in Bataan. Many of the houses are actual historical buildings, built between the 18th and early 20th centuries.
Since it's a resort, you can actually stay at a reconstructed villa of your choice, though many do just take the daytrip for some photography and bask in the historic atmosphere. Of course, for dining, you can opt for the Italian themed restaurant or, as the atmosphere suggests, the Filipino restaurant.
Drive time from Manila: 1 to 1.5 hours
There really isn't much left to say about Antonio's, apart from being the best place to eat at in Tagaytay.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Manila's favorite quick vacation spot, Antonio's has been serving up sumptious dishes for quite a while now, and has become a favorite of the elite. The drive up itself is quick and easy, depending on the traffic of course. The more affluent can opt to arrive via helicopter, as Antonio's has its own helipad.
The experience begins with arrival through the large gate, fresh air and green scenery. The staff are more than eager to welcome guests. You can opt for one of the restaurant's two main halls or go truly al fresco, either way you can't go wrong.
Antonio's offers set menus with various main courses like a trio platter (meats) or the seafood platter, but we would recommend the lamb. There are many dessert options too, and its best enjoyed with a cup of coffee... al fresco, of course.
There are many more that deserve mention or exploring, from something as scenic as the Skyline Restaurant and Bar atop Vivere Suites in Alabang, to a culinary experience at the hands of students at Restaurant 101 in Enderun College, to even something as simple as a basket full of lunch goodies and a PhP 50 peso picnic table at the Sierra Madre Resort.
Whatever you opt to do for V-Day, don't forget the flowers... especially if they say they don't like them.