Though the country’s first COVID-19 case was reported over a year ago in January, the last time Valentine’s Day was observed is drastically different from this year’s celebration. In 2020, couples memorialized their love through dinner dates, out-of-town trips and watching movies. But with COVID-19 still at large, movement is restricted with establishments forced to limit their number of guests to maintain physical distancing.
To find out how lovers will celebrate this day of hearts, Panahon TV interviewed three couples.
Charlotte Ramirez and Jan Gianan
Jan, 29, and Charlotte, 30, met in their previous job as call center agents. Both Singles for Christ members, the couple plans to celebrate their 4th year of togetherness with their usual Valentine’s date. “We’ll do the same thing that we did pre-pandemic—hearing mass, eating together, and having a conversation,” says Jan. “Every day is Valentine’s day when you show your love for each other.”
For them, love means supporting each other in their professional paths. While Jan aims to be a full-time teacher, Charlotte is busy as a working student. “There have been many challenges in our relationship but with the grace of God, we’re thankful to be still together,” shares Jan. To secure their future, they began a coffee drip business, which they wish to expand. As soon as Charlotte graduates, the couple plans to get married and start a family.
Because their relationship is anchored in God, Jan believes that love should be constant, able to sustain couples through tough times. “For me, love is unshaken whether there is a pandemic or not,” he says.
Teofilo Singcol and Marcela Singcol
Long and Lasting Love
64-year-old Teofilo shares how he met his wife 60-year-old Marcelo during his grandmother’s wake in 1974. “My sister introduced me to her, and we fell into conversation because the color and fabric of her dress perfectly matched my polo shirt’s. That same year, we became a couple.” Exactly a decade later, Teofilo and Marcela got married. “We are aiming for a forever relationship. With the help of God, we try our best to be together until the end.”
This year, the Bohol-based couple plans to spend Valentine’s Day in a beach resort. By strictly following health protocols, Teofilo hopes to make their 35th year of marriage memorable for both of them.
Though it is easy to give into fear in the face of uncertainties during the pandemic, Teofilo believes in replacing fear with love. “In any relationship, both sides should be understanding. They must learn to give and take, and to simply talk things out during both good and bad situations.”
Jovemar “Bojie” Palorma (left) and Arceli Palorma
Physical distancing may be a requirement these days, but for Arceli, 33, and Bojie, 35, their long-distance relationship has been keeping them apart even before the pandemic. “My husband is working in Saudi Arabia, and he can’t come home because of the pandemic,” reveals Arceli.
She describes their relationship as simple and practical. “When my husband’s here, we’d go to the movies even when there’s no occasion.” After a 13-year-relationship blessed with four children, Arceli shares their goals as a couple. “We plan to grow old together, see our kids graduate, and stay in love.”
Beyond roses and chocolates, Arceli believes that the greatest gift she and her husband can give to each other is trust. “A long-distance relationship is both a physical and emotional challenge. Trust and having an open mind are important in overcoming difficulties in our relationship.”
Wondering how to celebrate this special occasion? Here are tips to help you spread the love and not the virus this Valentine’s Day:
Sing at home. Serenade each other to your heart’s content in the safety of your own home. No videoke machine? No problem! Search the internet for instrumental versions of your theme songs. Better yet, bust out that old guitar and start serenading the old-fashioned way.
Couple spa. Take turns giving each other a soothing massage to melt away pandemic stress. Light some scented candles and put on some music to put you in a romantic mood.
Share a virtual meal. Couples with long-distance relationships can share a meal virtually. Decide on your common menu, and watch each other eat at the same time to enjoy a semblance of a real date. Meaningful conversation makes the experience even more memorable.
Write a poem. If your partner’s preferred love language is through words, why not express your love through a poem? Your loved one will appreciate your time and effort in completing such a challenging yet heartfelt task. Reading your poem aloud can be your way of renewing your couple vows.
Disconnect. Shut out the chaos of the online world so you can focus on your partner. By getting rid of distractions, you can take time to talk about things that matter. Reminding each other of why you fell in love can be a powerful force in sustaining your relationship.
Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, give your loved one the gift of health by being healthy yourself. Be responsible for your actions and follow safety measures. Stay healthy; stay in love!