Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, preparations are being made all over for romantic dates and adventures. But putting together the perfect plan can become a little overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to stay within a reasonable budget.
Though it’s tempting to go all out with the romantics gestures, there’s no reason to break the bank for the one you love, especially since there are affordable alternatives. Below is a list of some of the ways you can enjoy Valentine’s Day even on a budget.
Visit the National Planetarium
Though the National Planetarium has been around for years, last year’s upgrades, from new seats to a new hybrid projector, have been drawing crowds lately for its 35- to 45-minute shows, immersing audiences in a more detailed and realistic experience of the cosmos.
This Valentine’s week, couples can enjoy two shows — “Journey for a Billion Suns” and “Hayabusa” — which appear on an alternating schedule from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesdays to Saturdays, and from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is only ₱50 per head for adults, and ₱30 for students.
Visit the National Museum Planetarium’s Facebook page for show schedules and other updates.
Enjoy an open-air film screening
Every February, the Loyola Film Circle, Ateneo de Manila University’s film organization, mounts an outdoor nighttime film screening and variety show called Under the Stars. The event, which is open to all and free of charge, features musical performances, food booths, and a screening of a romantic film.
This year’s Under the Stars is happening on Feb. 15, 6 p.m. at the Bel Field at Ateneo de Manila University.
Visit Under the Stars’ Facebook page for more details.
Celebrate all kinds of love through music
The UP Fair is an annual five-day event run by the students of the university, which combines music and advocacies. On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, couples of all kinds, from all walks of life, can find comfort and community in “Flames,” a concert centered on celebrating all kinds of love.
The Valentine’s Day show includes musical guests UDD, Gloc-9, Ebe Dancel, The Itchyworms, Rivermaya, Ben&Ben, MYMP, Moonstar88, Gracenote, Better Days, awkweird, Beans, Awktard, High Hello, By All Odds, The Heady Days, Pinkmen, Sofa Sky, and Stef Aranas, as well as drag performances by Lady Gagita, Bench Suarez Hipolito (Sarah G), MC Black Dela Merced (Aegis), and Captivating Katkat (Dua Lipa).
Tickets are priced at ₱80 for UP Diliman students, ₱160 for reservations, and ₱200 for walk-ins. The event is happening at the UP Sunken Garden, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City. Gates open at 4 p.m.
Solve a mystery together
For couples looking to add a dash of mystery and adventure to their Valentine’s plans, a day spent roaming the historic streets of Escolta to solve a case might be right up your alley.
“The Tale of Rose” is a story-driven tour around Escolta, Manila, set in the early ‘50s. The goal is to find a missing actress by solving challenges and finding clues just like a pair of detectives.
The tour is organized by Manila Who, which, depending on the type of tour you book, will provide you with tools for your journey, such as snacks, meals, a detective kit, and transportation experience.
The “Bayanihan” tour, which requires a minimum of five players, costs ₱968 per head, while the “Luzvimin” tour (minimum of three pax) costs ₱1870, and the “Maharlika” (minimum of two) costs ₱2,420.
Go on a romantic dinner cruise
The Manila Bay sunset is known to be one of the most romantic sights in Metro Manila, and can be enjoyed from most hotels and rooftop restaurants in the area. Couples can elevate the sunset experience by topping it off with a romantic two-hour dinner cruise, complete with a four-course meal, wine, and live music. The package costs ₱2,400 per couple, or ₱1,200 per head.
The cruise, scheduled on Wednesday, Feb. 14, sails from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. via Sun Cruises.
Spend the night in a peaceful garden
Couples who need a break from the city can drive a few hours south of Manila towards Moon Garden, Tagaytay, a hideaway akin to a tiny village of rustic cabins surrounded by greenery and ponds. One night in one of the cabins costs just ₱2,889 and includes free breakfast.
Check the Airbnb listing for bookings and more details.