A few days ago, I asked David, "Can we not do anything on Valentines Day?" I was just cringing at the thought of celebrating "love" with all the other couples in the world. Giving love is good. Talking about love is cheesy; and celebrating love? ('_')
So anyway, he told me he'd plan about it and just surprise me. Since I didn't want to discourage him, and I enjoy surprises a bit, I let out a plain "okay" and a little smile.
He told me to dress comfortably, and to be ready by 9:00am. Great, I thought, we won't be joining the majority of the statistics who will be celebrating in the evening. When Valentines Day came, I did as he instructed. He then told me to close my eyes because where we were going was a secret. After a whole cycle of Disney songs in the CD player, a number of curious "where are we going," and a couple of detours, we finally reached our first destination for the day.
David knows how much I love nature. Nature reminds me of how joyful and fruitful life can be even in utter simplicity. The flowers seated in a bed of soil did nothing to gain beautiful red and orange hues on their petals. The cactus did nothing to earn strong and sturdy thorns to protect itself. The spider did nothing to make its spiderweb as strong as iron when wrapped thickly. The trees simply stood its ground, and leaves and fruits started to bud. All these remind me how God creates each being thoughtfully, preserves each life and enables it to grow. Man complicates things so much that sometimes I just thirst for a sweet escape to nature.
Today, David brought me to a park, a few minutes away from the business district in Pasig City. It showcased nature of all sorts. Trees that bear mangoes and makopas. Dry plants that prick. Monkeys that play on tire swings. Sheep and goats sauntering in lines. Birds of various colors in their giant cages. Sleeping snakes.
The walk was very much pleasurable. For one, it was not a popular dating site for couples, so it was easy for me to forget that today's Valentines Day. And, I felt like I literally just had a date with David and God today. The place was so conducive for relaxation, for long talks, for a thanksgiving walk and for worship. Try it next time.
I'm so glad that David also knows my taste in food. Since I see life as an adventure, eating must also undergo a certain exciting journey of discovery. So more than hotel buffets, I'd rather dine in an unexpected hole-in-the-wall, quirky place that serves unbelievably good food.
That's exactly what we had today in Casita Xocolat. When we reached the place, I was instantly attracted to its warm, airy, country feel. Some wooden tables are hand-painted in bright green and orange, while the other tables are decorated with colorful pebbles. The walls are adorned with oil paintings and wooden crafts. The adorable Casita Xocolat can accommodate around 25 people.
We tried their specialty, the Xoco Lava (Php 145), and I loved it! Just a little sip of its earthy, quite Hispanic, chocolate with vanilla ice cream, my craving for chocolates was instantly satisfied. I ordered the Pork Belly (Php 185), while David the Xocolat Chicken Pasta (Php 195). I opted the pork because of the cacao-bagoong sauce -- chocolate + gata (coconut milk) + bagoong (shrimp paste). I've been craving for bagoong for the longest time, so yipeediyey, I have had it today!
The pasta was tossed in cream with white mushrooms. What made it unique was the chicken toppings. The chicken was drenched in, believe it or not, chocolate! But sadly, what we had for today was quite stiff. I think it would be better if it was not overcooked and if it was kicked up with a little spice.
Minus the detail that it is Valentine's Day, today is simply perfect.
Learnings of and for Valentinophobics:
1. Have a date from early in the morning until lunch time only.
2. Visit places that are not crowd favorites. Since Filipinos are usually mall-goers, veer away from those sites today.
3. Discover hidden places. Try new cuisines. Celebrate Valentine's Day not only for the sake of love, but celebrate the new adventures today with your love.
4. Forget that today is Valentine's Day. Simply thank the Lord for giving you a new day.
5. It's okay to reschedule your Valentine's Day, just so you won't go along with the crowd.. and flowers may be cheaper too.
6. Get to know your partner, and surprise him. Making him happy for a day is a nice project to do. And vice versa.
7. Treat this as a Thanksgiving Day. Thank God for the loving relationships (for your comfort) and challenging relationships (for your character and salvation) He has blessed you with.
Happy Valentine(ophibic)'s Day! :)