Valentine’s Day 2020

"I hope that people celebrated safely but meaningfully."



It’s the time of the year again when social media is full of images of hearts. As I am writing this, I have received more than a hundred greetings for Valentine’s Day from friends, acquaintances, and even people that I do not know. Love is in the air, people say.

People celebrate this day of hearts differently and for different reasons.

In the time of the novel coronavirus, I am expecting that people will remain vigilant especially with the recent statement of World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom that nCoV is airborne, more contagious, and more potent compared with the Ebola virus. He even called the latter lousy. The call is for nCoV to be taken more seriously because it is more contagious.

If it is confirmed (and I believe the WHO) that the nCoV is airborne, it is a serious cause for alarm. This means that everyone should take precaution. Earlier, experts advised us to avoid going to crowded places, and distance ourselves from people who are coughing or sneezing. They said that only those with symptoms need to wear protective masks, and primarily to prevent the spread of whatever virus it was that they carry. In other words, wearing masks is to protect others, not ourselves.

During the first days of the spread of this potent virus, in Metro Manila, many people wore masks in public places, including myself. Eventually, as the experts’ advice was better understood, the numbers of mask-wearing Filipinos dwindled until it reached a point that it became a rarity. I also stopped wearing one.

With the announcement that nCoV is airborne, medical experts MUST issue an updated set of precautionary measures that people must undertake. Should all of us now wear masks? If yes, are there stocks in the market now? Is government going to distribute for free this needed product especially to those living in poor and congested areas?

And because it is Valentine’s Day, how should people celebrate in this time of nCoV? Usually, this is a day of crowded hotels, restaurants, parks, and other public places. Couples are out in the open to publicly display their love. Celebrating V-Day at this point calls for some creativity.

If you must go out in public, wear a mask to be sure. If you have fever, cough or cold, better not go out at all and if you will be with others, even in your own home, please wear mask. If you love your partner and your family, protect them as you protect yourself. This is real love.

To celebrate, it is better to stay indoors. How about a romantic dinner? Cooking (I particularly like couples cooking together) a special dinner for the two of you is good, and often, less expensive than going out. It is a good time to create your favorite dishes together. Set a nice table for two with your favorite table cloth, china (not the country), and silver. Dress up—after all, it is a special day. A good bottle of wine will not hurt. Lastly, play your favorite music.

For those who have to work on this day and do not have the time to really prepare, binge-watching your favorite series (preferably light, romantic, or funny) with lots of popcorn and soda may be a good alternative. If you do not want to make popcorn, you may even have your favorite pizza delivered to your doorsteps. No dressing up is necessary but good vibes is a must and lots of cuddling is recommended.

If you are going to have sex, do not forget to have protection against unwanted pregnancy (for heterosexual couples who do not want a pregnancy) or sexually transmittable infections (STI).

As this piece will come out a day after Feb. 14, I can only hope that people celebrated safely but meaningfully.

This V-Day is a special day for LGBTQI+ friends in Quezon City. A “kasalang bayan” for hundreds of couples of various sexual orientations and gender identities would have been “married” by no less than Mayor Joy Belmonte. Although such ceremony is yet to be legally recognized in the country, this gesture by the QC mayor is an important gesture of inclusivity and much appreciated by the community.

I said earlier that people celebrate V-Day also for different reasons. This day is also for those who are single. After all, we all have to love ourselves FIRST. So, why not treat yourselves with self-care and pampering? Go to a spa and really splurge on yourself. Have a good and relaxing massage at home. If you want, open that special bottle of wine you have been saving for a special occasion. Celebrating yourself is special. YOU are special!

Sometimes, this day is a celebration of freedom. My attention was caught by the posts of two friends who do not know each other but both proclaiming their freedom from relationships they no longer want.

The first friend said that her last legal document bearing the name of her former husband has, at last, been changed. She ended her post with, “Not the end of this story. Another beginning.” Indeed, this is a fresh start for her. She now is her own person pursuing her own interests in life. This is sweet freedom.

My other friend’s post said, “the most amazing Valentine’s, no more thorn in my heart… no more daily stresses, I am totally free!!!” I was surprised because I was under the impression that her marriage was doing well. When I asked what happened, she replied by saying that she is waiting for the divorce bill to finally become a law.

For her sake and for all others who have been waiting for many years, I am really hoping that the divorce bill passes this time around.

Proclaiming freedom is how my two friends welcomed Valentine’s Day. I say, good for them.

Valentine’s Day 2020 is different in many respects. Whatever our situation is, there is always a way to celebrate yourself, your freedom, your love.

@bethangsioco on Twitter Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook

Topics: Elizabeth Angsioco , Valentine’s Day , novel coronavirus , nCoV , COVID-19 , World Health Organization , WHO
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