There’s one big part of Filipino culture that cannot be ignored: Pinoys love celebrating holidays and all types of special occasions. Filipinos are well known to have some of the best holiday celebrations, especially when food, family and treasuring the people around you come together. Valentine’s Day in the Philippines is no exception – we run through some of the possible reasons why it's such a big part of Filipino culture.

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Why it’s part of Filipino culture to love celebrating Valentine’s Day

  1. Filipinos believe in celebrating all special occasions

    Filipinos love celebrating, no matter the occasion. Perhaps the act of celebrating is something Pinoys find attractive, because commemorating the day means having something to look forward to. Filipinos are known for having the longest Christmas season in the world, love celebrating Easter, Independence day and, of course, Valentine’s Day. Apart from Christmas, Valentine’s Day is considered to be one of the biggest and most commercialised holidays in the Philippines.

    It might not be an official holiday but Valentine’s Day may as well be, as many Pinoys go the extra mile and take time off work. Traffic is also usually horrendous on the day of and the weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day, further proof that people would rather go out and celebrate than stay in.

  2. Mass wedding ceremonies are held on Valentine's Day

    Some may choose to make the day more special by getting married on or around Valentine’s Day. Each year, the local governments host free mass wedding ceremonies for those unable to afford a more traditional church wedding. Hundreds of Filipinos can be married like this, and while some are as young as 18, couples in their 70s are also honouring their love in this way. In fact, the 14th of February has become the most common wedding anniversary in the country. 

  3. Filipinos love themes and themed celebrations

    It is usual for public spaces such as malls, parks, and supermarkets to be adorned with seasonal decorations, be it Christmas, Santacrusan, or Valentine’s Day. Themed food items such as donuts, cakes, and chocolates are often purchased for the household to commemorate the holiday. Birthday parties also tend to have themes and Pinoys like dressing up accordingly. The reason why Filipinos enjoy themes so much is simply because it’s fun. Call it cliché, but having everyone dress in a certain way looks great in photos.

  4. Filipinos like finding a reason to give gifts to others

    During the so-called “season of hearts”, who hasn't been sweet-talked by a street vendor into buying a rose for someone special? This someone special can be anyone – your significant other, teachers, parents, or even grandparents! If you’re Catholic, it’s tradition for flowers to be offered at the altar at home.

    Sharing and gifting is a love language in Filipino culture, and we happily share what we have. For instance, exchanging gifts during Christmas is huge, and giving small tokens to acquaintances, workmates, and mailmen is also customary. Giving alms to the less fortunate is something that’s highly regarded, as well as giving donations to good causes. In addition, sending a balikbayan box is customary, and we share what we have not because we have to, but because we want to.

    Giving gifts

  5. The word “love” is in the Philippine Constitution

    Did you know that the Philippine Constitution of 1987 has the only preamble in the world that has the word “love”? The preamble reads: “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution." 

    Though it may simply be one word, being the only society having it in the constitutional preamble justifies that “love” is indeed legally recognised. In other words, love is not just for individuals, but is also a standard that must be adhered to. 

  6. Pinoys are in touch with their emotions

    Many Filipinos are quite expressive and aren’t shy to show their feelings. It’s also socially acceptable to admit you are heartbroken, and you won’t be made fun of. When someone asks “Kamusta” or “How are you?”, some men are comfortable enough to say that they are “sawi sa pag-ibig”, or lovelorn.

    Valentine's day has also become a popular day for Filpinos to express their feelings and begin courting someone they like. A traditional Filipino way to court someone is through serenading or “harana” using a traditional love song (kundiman) to express how you feel to the person you like, these days any romantic love song will do.

    And as a result, Filipinos love romance movies

    Philippine entertainment also capitalises on being heartbroken, which is why most blockbuster hits are dramatic romances. There was also a particular moment in time (between 2015 to 2017) where the slang word “hugot” or “to draw out” became popular. Memes of being heartbroken went viral, and spoken word artists became mainstream celebrities. Romantic dramas such as “That Thing Called Tadhana”, “My Ex and Whys”, and “A Second Chance”, were box office hits.

Other ways to send your love to the Philippines:

The season of love is not only just for romantic relationships. Here are other ways you can show your loved ones that you care.

  • Be a modern “bayani” or hero during the pandemic and send over some support to vulnerable communities. Not all heroes wear capes, and you have an opportunity to be one if you do decide to extend your support to charitable institutions or even individuals with respectable causes. Help is always needed, and any support can go a long way. 
  • Send some money over to your parents and make them feel that you remembered them. Sable Remit can make this happen, and you get your first three transfers fee-free. You’re able to send as little as AUD 10 and can distribute your allocated budget to several recipients.
  • Send over a balikbayan box filled with thoughtful items. Sending one is more about the thought of giving and not really about the actual contents of the box. It may not carry much monetary value, but its emotional value is priceless.

     

Why do you think Filipinos love Valentine's Day so much?

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