POLL: What’s the most expensive thing you’ve spent on for Valentine’s Day?

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From the grandest to the most practical, here are a few examples of how Filipinos have celebrated Valentine’s Day in the past years. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — In the eternal words of Jennifer Lopez: “My love don’t cost a thing,” but unsurprisingly, this piece of wisdom doesn’t always apply to Valentine’s Day.

Couples everywhere can sometimes spare no cost to shower each other with gifts and celebrations, and even if they don’t always break the bank, most will still spend to celebrate in one way or the other. According to Forbes, the amount spent on Valentine’s can rack up to around $20 billion dollars in the U.S. alone.

So from the grandest to the most practical, here are a few examples of how some Filipinos have celebrated Valentine’s Day in the past years.

Stuart Gan, 37, freelance events host, Manila

“My first ever Valentine's with my fiancée, I got her this bouquet of three sunflowers surrounded by a dozen tulips, because she told me those were her two favorite flowers! That might have been my biggest Valentine gift ever, but it might have also been my most tipid date, since we just ate at a snack place called Food Chomps near my alma mater.

The bouquet, while still my most expensive Valentine gift ever, was just probably in the low four digits and dinner probably didn't even break ₱300. Of course, Valentine's Day could always be cheaper. You could spend it alone, for example.”

Von, 22, freelancer, Makati

“The most costly way I’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day was when my boyfriend and I went to Bag O’ Shrimps for dinner and ordered a lot! Then we watched a movie in the cinemas with the La-Z-Boys. It was around ₱2,500 to ₱3,000.

The most tipid way naman was when we just stayed in the house, watched Netflix and ordered pizza. Chill day lang. We spent around ₱500.”

Andrew Yap, 27, art director, Quezon City

“I usually spend around ₱3,900 — just dinner and drinks, and maybe a bouquet of flowers. We’ll eat at a steakhouse for sure, like Morton’s, and then ABV for drinks.”

Carlo*, 26, advertising account manager, Makati

“My most extravagant Valentine’s celebration was buffet dinner at Spiral with major giveaways a la Oprah’s favorite things. I got him a new phone and a trip for two to Hong Kong. The whole extravaganza was worth twice my monthly salary. Can’t really regret what I did for love.”

Toto, 42, radiologist, Dagupan

“We don’t really go out for Valentine’s, so we haven’t really spent it in a grand way or even went out on the day of. In fact, we try to avoid that day kasi ang daming tao sa labas. We treat it like a normal day lang. Parang we’d rather stay home on Valentine’s Day.”

Bea, 25, client manager, Manila

“I think my grandest celebration cost around ₱4,200. We went to a shooting range in Cubao and then at night, we took a cooking class together with unlimited wine at Back of the House.

My simplest celebration was just a Skype date. I got flowers over the mail but I wasn’t sure how much it cost.”

Violet*, 32, producer, Parañaque

“My most costly Valentine’s Day was when I gifted an all-expense paid trip to Batanes. We broke up before the trip but we still went together. It cost me around ₱25,000.

My cheapest was a session at the boxing gym to let out my frustrations with a finished almost-relationship. That cost me ₱300.”

Kat, 23, freelancer, Marikina

“My most extravagant celebration was flowers plus a road trip to stay overnight at Tagaytay that cost around ₱7,000 to ₱8,000. My most tipid celebration just involved a DIY gift, a handwritten letter, balloons, and McDonald’s.”

Wil-J, 29, marketing manager, Taguig City

“For my most extravagant Valentine’s Day, the flowers alone cost like ₱2,000. And then a steak dinner (on promo) that cost ₱3,000, with reservations for a table at a hotel. Fancy dining, but no wine because I’m allergic, and I didn’t include the costs of dressing up nicely, parking, gas, toll, etc.

My most tipid Valentine’s was just transportation costs to get to her. We ate in and just hung out. But non-monetarily, I spent many nights writing and polishing a poem. And then a couple of weeks memorizing and practicing my delivery. So it was more effort, I guess.”

Nathaniel, 60, physician, Zambales

“I’m a huge romantic, so when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’m one of those you would consider baduy. My usual Valentine’s gifts consists of the ever present yellow roses, a box of chocolates, or sometimes a heart-shaped cake.

My first Valentine's Day with my girlfriend, who is now my wife of 31 years, was many, many years back on Feb. 14, 1987. A few days after I received my second paycheck, upon the urging of my cousin, my girlfriend and I dined at a first class joint. We ordered one of the most expensive food and wine on the menu — yet we did not enjoy! Our probinsyano palates were just learning to appreciate French food. I spent around ₱1,000 that night, which was a huge luxury in ‘87 and was a third of my salary, for food that I did not enjoy. But it was one of the nights I would never forget. We got married the following year.

Our cheapest dates would be a home date where I make my homemade tinola or adobo, but I still and will always get her a bouquet of yellow roses.”

Rod, 26, financial manager, Laguna

“My most expensive Valentine’s Day cost around ₱5,000 to ₱6,000. We drove to Purple Owl in Tagaytay and got a private space for three to four hours with a personalized set-up and a full course meal for two.

My simplest celebration was also at Tagaytay when we went to Sonya’s Garden for massages. It cost around ₱2,000 for two.”

*Name changed at request of interviewee.