It’s almost Valentine’s Day. The time of the year where we can really show our special someone how much they mean to us. But this year, everyone will be celebrating Heart's Day quite differently from 2019 and 2020. For obvious reasons, we can't celebrate it like before. Trips abroad are out of the question. It’s the same with staying the night at a fancy hotel. Sure, you can still do a traditional dine-in date, but that's a little risky right now, don't you think?
Even with the challenges of the current situation, it doesn’t mean your Valentine’s Day lunch or dinner has to be boring. You can still enjoy; all you need is a little bit of creativity and some precautions. Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to do something different on Valentine’s for once? What’s important is spending time together anyway.
So what can you do? Outside of the house, the next safest place is inside your vehicle, so why not work with that?
And now, here are a few things you can do in place of a traditional Valentine's Day date.
Drive-in Movie Date
Going to the cinema is one of the most common date places everyone goes. But, with the current situation, theaters remain closed even if malls have re-opened. If watching a movie is part of your plan this Valentine's, why not try something different rather than staying home and watching Netflix? Instead, watch a movie in one of the new drive-in movie theaters across the country.
Drive-in movie theaters have been around for some time now; that is, in other countries. It wasn't until last year did the first drive-in cinema open in the country. SM Cinemas put up the first drive-in movie theaters at SM Pampanga last year. Much closer to Metro Manila, there's also the drive-in movie at SM Mall of Asia. Just imagine watching a movie inside your vehicle with the Manila Bay sunset as your background. Talk about romantic right? Well, just hope the smell of the bay has improved.
Not sure what's showing? You can check out the list of movies on the SM Cinema Facebook page. Remember, there's no walk-in so you'll have to reserve your ticket first. Better do it fast, Valentine's is already this Sunday. You might just miss out on movie slots.
Park and Dine restaurants
Park and Dine is a great way to eat out but still stay in a safe environment. Some restaurants across Metro Manila and even in Luzon will now serve meals inside your vehicle. That way, you get to enjoy hot food from your favorite restaurants around town but remain in a safe environment. The only physical interaction you'll have is when the server brings you the food and the bill.
The best part about the park and dine restos is that you don't need to make a reservation. You can call the restaurant, order your food ahead of time, and just arrive. But, since you won't be dining in, you won't have to fight with others to book a reservation. Just hope that there's parking.
There is one downside with park and dine restaurants. At the moment, there are only a few of them around town. Not all of them offer the fanciest food too. Food options might be limited since you’ll be eating in a takeaway container inside your vehicle. There’s also the possibility of your car getting dirty because of the food. We suggest you weigh the pros and cons before finalizing your decision.
Park and dine restaurants full? Don’t like the food choices? Why not cook a meal and throw a tailgate party instead. Unlike the first two, this one requires a bit more creativity. If you own an SUV, you can fold down the second and third row of seats, giving you and your loved one nearly unlimited space, unlike sitting in the front row. It’s a similar story with vans. You can even surprise them by dressing up the interior of the vehicle with balloons, flowers confetti, and fairy lights. Afterward, you two can enjoy a nice meal. Whether it’s a home-cooked or take-out from a restaurant, we leave that to you.
Don’t have an SUV or a van? Well, there’s also the trunk or the bed of a pick-up truck. Eating while sitting on the trunk may not be the most comfortable, but at least you get some fresh air and nice views (assuming you parked in a nice place). You can even be more creative with how you can set up your valentine’s lunch or dinner at the back since there’s unlimited headroom in a pick-up's bed. Bring a table, chair, coolers, and enjoy the day (or night). Just don't forget to clean your vehicle afterward.
Do note, however, not all places will allow you to park in the open and eat in the back of your vehicle. We recommend searching up local ordinances first. But if it’s just the two of you with no one else around you, then it should more or less be fine.
Quick getaway out of town
As the saying goes, sometimes it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters. Thankfully, travel restrictions aren’t as strict anymore, especially when compared to last year. So this coming Valentine’s day, why not go on a trip out of town instead? If you have been stuck in Metro Manila for nearly a year, heading out of the city is a good excuse to do so. There are also lots of places to go to locally. You can read up about it one of our previous features.
Subic is easily accessible, and the region is not very strict when it comes to local tourists. Tagaytay is another popular destination now. However, it is the go-to place so expect it to get quite full, especially on weekends. Other places? Well, we did a road trip feature recently, which you can read here.
If you’re concerned about the stuff floating around in the air, you don’t even have to go down the vehicle. Just drive and enjoy the view. Sometimes it’s more relaxing to drive without any set destination in mind. It’s a break from the usual drive to and from work and home. Plus with your date, it will definitely create good memories no matter where you go.
Cook at home
While going out is fun, there’s is just no place safer than home. There’s also no better meal than home-cooked food. So why not keep it simple this Valentine’s Day and have lunch or dinner in. If you have space, you can also grill some food. Don’t know how to cook? There are a lot of recipes online, be it from cookbooks or YouTube. Just follow the instructions, and you should be fine. At the same time, your special other will also appreciate it too. It may not taste as good as a fine dining restaurant, but at least you put in the effort.
If the view of the dining room is getting boring, why not spice it up. Flowers, candles, or whatever you can think of. If you have a garage, set up a table and chairs there. At least you’ll be dining with your special someone and your precious vehicle. You can also do a tailgate party in the garage, just to change things up. The only limit is your imagination...and wallet.
Frankly, the possibilities are endless. The best part, you can be safe and without having to worry about the virus. No face masks, face shields, or whatever; just like before.
Valentine’s Day this year will anything but normal. But hey, at least it’s a new experience from the usual. If you have something even better planned than what we suggested, go for it. With everything that’s happening in the world, nothing can go wrong.
Remember, Valentine’s Day isn’t about food, flowers, chocolates, or expensive gifts. It’s about spending time together and creating new memories. Whether you’re dining out in a restaurant, watching a movie, having a tailgate party, or staying home, what’s important is the two of you are enjoying. It is a day for you and your special someone to have fun.