Chocolates wrapped in fancy boxes, a bouquet of red roses with sweet notes, and fancy dinners come to mind when we think of Valentine’s Day. For most couples, this makes their Valentine’s Day special. Yet, for longtime couples, the practice of setting up a romantic evening may appear like a drill, rather than a surge of heartfelt emotion.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Balikbayan Magazine shares tips to add some spice to this intimate celebration with your loved one.

01 Go to the airport and take a random domestic trip
Feeling spontaneous? Then you can head to the airport without a particular place in mind. Close your eyes and point to the board. Book a ticket for the first flight you see and there goes the adventure. Don’t worry about the itinerary. Just savor your moment together. Nevermind getting lost. As author Erol Ozan said, “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Just don’t forget to bring extra cash, and of course, your trusty smartphone, in case an emergency arises.

02 Learn about “love” in a new culture
People around the globe celebrate their Valentine’s Day a  little bit different from Filipinos. For example, in parts of Africa, women pin the names of their love interests on their shirtsleeves, while in Japan, it is also the women who express love to their partners by giving them chocolates. Try adding some of these unique worldly traditions to your own date night to make it a night to remember. You can also try saying I love you in your chosen country language.

03 Have a group date at someone’s house
A group date is a good example to introduce your new beau to your friends. Call your friends and organize an overnight group date. Divide the chores between yourselves. For example, women can do the decorating and think of games while men do the shopping and cooking.  If you have invited single friends, don’t forget to invite someone for them so that he/she person won’t feel like a third wheel.

04 Volunteer to help those needing some love
Single? Why not instead of sulking in the idea of not receiving a romantic kind of love, nurture your idea of love into something more meaningful like doing a volunteer work?  Send flowers to nursing homes, give chocolates to orphanages, make some homemade goodies or send love letters to people in caregiving facilities, or visit an animal shelter and play with the abused and abandoned animals. These are small acts but the thought behind them can make all the difference. Remember, we gain as much as we give. Most of the time, what we give bounces back to us a hundredfold. This activity is equally perfect for couples!

05 Make a vision board of how you want your lives together to be in the future
This is a good idea for the artsy, creative couples. Vision boards are collages consisting of images, pictures, quotes, affirmation of dreams, things or goals that make you happy. It’s Up to you how you want to decorate it.  The goal of the vision board is to inspire your everyday life to attain your goals as a couple. Once you finish it, place it somewhere you can often see.

06 Make a unique drink and name it after your loved one
Love mixing or experimenting with cocktails? Why not try on something new and name it after your loved one? You can even explain how the drink resembles your love for him/her.

07 Go on a date to reenact the first time you met
Put on your actor/ actress hat and relive how the two of you met. Don’t forget to add those awkward smiles and gestures, and the first conversation you had that started it all.

08 Make a video for each other telling your partner (or friend or loved one) the top 10 things you love about them
Not a fan of handwritten notes or letters? No problem. With the emergence of smartphones, creating a video is now easier. Take this opportunity to create a simple video enumerating the reasons why you love your partner or friend. Watch this together or with a group of friends. And not to mention, this activity is cheaper than the usual movie date.

09 Pay an artist to come do a sketch of the two of you
Instead of the usual photoshoot at a photography studio, opt for a classy sketch of you two as a couple. For a cheaper find, look for an artist or a Fine Arts student at the nearest university.

10 Find an open mic night and read something for each other
Receiving a poem written by your loved one is one of the most romantic gestures. But what can be more romantic if that poem is spoken to you out loud in a congregation of people looking at you as a reference or as a subject to a lovely poem? In the Philippines, open mic sessions are sprouting, as numerous groups hold their open mic or spoken word poetry nights at cafes and restaurants.

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