First Class

Valentine’s, the old-fashioned way

/ 05:15 AM February 10, 2019

Good vibes at Mireio’s terrace for Valentine’s Day —PHOTO COURTESY OF Raffles Makati

I heard the funniest advice, quite appropriate for Valentine’s Day, during the 70th birthday party of retired Gen. Oscar Martinez, a lawyer and also the topnotcher and valedictorian of the legendary Philippine Military Academy Class of 1971, which includes Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gringo Honasan, among other greats:

“Remember these three things,” said Atty. Martinez’s friend, “Be happy—forget those who have wronged you. Be healthy—eat well and exercise. And most of all, be holy—huwag kang magpapa-‘holy’ (don’t let yourself be caught)!”


I remember this as I wait for messages from business tycoons and executives on how they will be spending their Valentine’s Day. It seems they are all being “holy” (or ayaw magpahuli) because no one is sharing what their plans are.

So here are some suggestions:


  1. Champagne as the sun sets at Mireio Terrace of Raffles Makati, followed by a fine French dinner with exemplary foie gras.

There’s nothing more romantic than the sunset. So if you can’t whisk your beloved off to the sunset in a yacht (actually you can: consider booking a yacht at the newly swept up Manila Bay), have a cocktail at Mireio Terrace instead.

Other hotels with an amazing sunset experience: Conrad’s C Lounge offers a view of Manila Bay. Sofitel also offers a barbecue buffet by the bay. I’M Hotel on Makati Avenue corner Kalayaan has a roof deck with a beautiful view, although their food may kill the romance.

At Mireio, after sunset cocktails, move to the restaurant for an intimate candlelit dinner. You can opt for their special five-course Valentine’s menu priced at P5,910++ per head or P7,260++ if with wine. The restaurant categorizes the food as bistro fare and the menu selection is quite standard and upfront (soup, salad, steak, seafood … nothing too experimental, as “fine dining” fare goes nowadays). But from the white linen to the attentive service to the execution of the dishes, the dining experience is undoubtedly worthy of a Valentine’s date.

You can take the experience to the next level and book a staycation with their special rates from Feb. 14 to 17, starting at P8,500 including breakfast for two, dining credit of P1,500 and 50-percent discount on a couple’s relaxation massage at Willow Stream Spa. That would be an affair to remember. (Call landline 795-1840 for inquiries and reservations).

  1. Bituin Escalante at the Peninsula lobby

No sunset at this terrace but there will be another star: Bituin Escalante. If you have not heard her sing live, you must. She is enthralling.

Underneath the glorious Sunburst of the Pen lobby, Bituin will be serenading from the terrace (mezzanine). Guests can enjoy the show over a three-course dinner priced at P3,800 with a flute of champagne. (Call +632-887-2888 for inquiries and reservations.)

Dinner with a view at Chef Jessie’s at Top of the Citi

  1. Dinner with a view

While on the subject of roof decks and sunsets, I suddenly remembered an old favorite: Top of the Citi. I have forgotten about this restaurant and am happy to learn that it is still around and doing very well.


I remember coming here in the early 2000s and being enamored by the experience of dining with a view of the skyline.

Chef Jessie Sincioco is still very much at the top of her game at Top of the Citi and is offering a six-course dinner for only P3,000. This restaurant is at the Citibank Tower in Salcedo Village. (Call 750-5810 / 750-5811 / 750-5812).

I don’t know how she manages her time because she is also still running Chef Jessie Rockwell and has just opened her new building in Valenzuela, Makati (next to Poblacion, on Pililia Street, parallel to Reposo/N. Garcia).

She is opening Chef Jessie’s Place on Valentine’s Day and will fill the building with love through the music of Philippine jazz legend Sandra Viray  (founder of the Philippine Jazzfest), Aussie with a Filipina heart Megan Herrera (mom of designer Pepsi Herrera), Aliw awardee Margaux Salcedo (who?!) and three-time Aliw awardee and living legend pianist Romy Posadas. All these and a four-course dinner for only P2,000. (Call 02-890-6543 for inquiries).

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. May it be fun, and not just a funny Valentine. And remember … be holy, huwag magpa-“holy”!

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TAGS: Gen. Oscar Martinez, old-fashioned way, Valentine’s Day
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