MANILA, Philippines – Pricey dinners, traffic jams and clichéd gift ideas can take the romance out of Valentine’s Day.

But there are a number of creative and budget-friendly activities that couples can experience on February 14 without romance having to take a back seat, Chalk Magazine managing editor Elaine Carag said.

Carag said Valentine’s Day is not only a chance to show your partner how special he or she is, it can also be used as an opportunity to be creative.

She said that last year, food was the biggest trend as shown by the number of restaurants and food businesses that opened in the country.

To avoid the Valentine’s Day rush, Carag suggests cooking dinner for your partner instead, or baking personalized cookies and pastries.

“Food is a big thing with Filipinos right now and even on Valentine’s Day it’s going to be a big thing, but more on the pastries and baked goods,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

Preparing a meal at home will also be cheaper than dining in a posh restaurant.

“It’s something special without having to spend so much,” said Carag.

Taking a trip on Valentine’s Day is always a good idea, but Carag said the couple should always plan ahead to dodge jacked up prices.

If an out-of-town trip is too costly, couples can instead spend Valentine’s in a hotel for a “staycation,” take a cruise in Manila Bay, or join a tour in Binondo.

 

Carag said these activities can easily be searched for online.

She added that while people are thinking or more creative ways to spend Valentine’s, simple gestures like giving flowers still take the cake.

“These days, you’d think girls would want grander gestures, but girls will always want flowers, not matter what they say,” she said.

But other than roses, Carag said men should also consider giving other varieties like carnations, gerberas, and lilies.

She noted that your partner’s preference should be top priority when planning for Valentine’s Day, and not what other couples are doing.

“The problem with people nowadays is that they tend to compare because of social networks, you see what other people are doing,” she said.