Valentine blah-blah


ON MY way to Buendia on Tuesday morning, I overheard a woman in busy telephone conversation and telling the following to the other line: ‘mga ten thousand lang, red, aqua blue, white and yellow.’

Turned out, the woman was placing her order for flowers in great anticipation of Valentine’s Day, one of the three occasions where florists make profits, the two others being on birthdays and funerals. Of course, the farmers who plant flowers in traditional demand are raking in great profits too.

I don’t normally celebrate, much less talk about the day. This isn’t because I am not passionate, but because I honestly believe Valentine’s Day was invented by merchants, florists, shopkeepers and greeting card manufacturers to entice lovers and modern day lotharios.

And yet, it’s quite amusing that some happenings are reported just in time for the day. For instance, about 100,000 Filipino youths are engaged in prostitution and the number, according to Plan International survey, is snowballing because of easy access to the internet where the haggling is usually done.

Then, there’s the usual anticipation that motels are sure to be full today, with line forming for the use of those bedrooms and impatient room attendants ringing up from time to time to remind ‘slow-movers.’

Odds makers would start wondering how many babies would be born as a result of this occasion. I guess, that’s life!

No one can really tell when and where the Valentine’s Day originated. The day is said to be widely celebrated in the United States, but is not a federal holiday. It is also celebrated in other areas of the world, including the Philippines.

In Philippine scene, it is the school children who celebrate most the day. There are around 190 million cards are sent on this day making it the second most popular holiday to send cards after Christmas. If you include cards given at school and handmade cards, the number of Valentine’s exchanged is estimated to be nearly 1 billion. Because so many students give cards, teachers receive the most cards of any profession.

During pre-internet era, around 85% of Valentine’s cards are purchased by women. About 73% of flowers are purchased by men.

There’s a revelation too that ‘bouquets’ and other flower arrangements are purchased by – would you believe? – single women? These ladies buy them and send the same to where they work, with card saying “from an unknown admirer.’ The delivery would then elicit ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ among officemates who would then exclaim ‘what a great day for our very own Ms. Costancia!’

Happy Valentine’s to all!