LA Asks: What’s the Favorite Valentine's Day Gift You’ve Received? - LA Lives

From love letters to surprise trips, we ask five of our friends on their best Valentine’s Day to date.

While the day of hearts is upon us, we can’t help but feel love all around. So, in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, we ask Mikaela Martinez, Tim Yap, Sari Lazaro-TiuCat Arambulo-Antonio, Juana Yupangco, and Pinky Tobiano about the favorite gifts they’ve received for the holiday. 

READ ALSO: LA Asks: What Do You Do When You Need A Quick Pick-Me-Up?

They also share how they plan to celebrate this year and the memorable moments they’ve experienced with their loving partners.

Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez

With a laugh, Martinez says the most memorable Valentine’s Day gift she received was a check. “But I remember that what I wanted was a handwritten letter… and I got it too,” she adds.

On her and her husband Chucho’s favorite ways to celebrate, the model shares that they don’t usually go out as their anniversary is a week before Valentine’s Day (they just celebrated their 16th year of marriage).

Instead, they prefer staying home and being with their three kids, Noelle, Tyler, and Maxen. “[After sixteen years married, [and] nineteen years together, I’m grateful that we can still laugh together and enjoy each other’s company,” Martinez muses.

Tim Yap

“One Valentine’s Javi, [my husband], surprised me with an Amanpulo staycation. Amanpulo is our happy place. We have had several milestones celebrated in Pamalican island,” Yap shares. 

On the other hand, the eventologist says his favorite gift he’s given to Javi is a cat. “A Scottish Straight feline who we named Inno–short for Valentinno because he came into our lives on Valentine’s Day,” he says. 

For Yap, celebrating the day of love means “being romantic and recommitting to each other.” He adds that “whatever works” can be special, whether grand or small.

Much like Yap’s favorite Valentine’s gift, the couple is spending this year’s holiday on an island “spending quiet time by the water.” 

Sari Lazaro-Tiu

Given most couples and single pals alike hit the town every February 14, it’s why Lazaro-Tiu and her husband Charles “aren’t big” on celebrating Valentine’s Day. After all, Metro Manila traffic gets more out of hand than usual.

At the same time, gifts aren’t important to them. 

However, Charles still arranges special surprises for her, “for example, I would have flowers and a card waiting for me in the hotel room a few times when I traveled.”

“One time, he asked the restaurant to have them set up a very nice and intimate table by the garden. We had dinner there, and our dessert had a note on it—these are not Valentine-related. I would rather also receive these things randomly,” Lazaro-Tiu shares, smiling.

The fashion designer believes that relationships should only be celebrated on one day. “We make little sacrifices and adjustments every day for each other. Letting your partner know that you see those sacrifices and that you hear them and appreciate them is how we celebrate each other,” she says. “Those little things, when compounded, end up becoming the big things.”

Cat Arambulo-Antonio

“We give our staff chocolates and let our kids choose whatever they would want all of us to eat—nothing crazy,” Arambulo-Antonio shares. In fact, she and her husband Carlo regularly spend Valentine’s Day with their kids Danielle, Asher, and Alana since celebrating their love is an everyday occurrence. “We told our kids that we will celebrate Valentine’s Day with them until they have a love partner of their own,” she adds.

The entrepreneur is most grateful for her deep connection with her husband. “We get each other, respect one another and have a love that no one will ever understand,” Arambulo-Antonio muses.” I’m grateful to have a partner who is my husband & best friend. Our souls and goals are very aligned.”

Juana Yupangco

The love letters that always come with the flowers Yupangco’s husband, Rick, give her are her favorite tokens of his appreciation. And while the award-winning cookbook author prefers giving practical gifts, her favorite present to him is a pair of running shoes.  

She shares that the most memorable Valentine’s Celebration they had was their first. “We went to a restaurant with a set meal, flowers, and music. We were corralled into an area for couples. It was so weird and a rip-off because it was so mahal,” she shares. “But I love that he [made an effort] to impress me.”

On what the holiday means in their relationship, Yupangco shares, “It means we have to remember to celebrate romance, which is always a good thing.

Pinky Tobiano

On Valentine’s Day last year, Tobiano’s husband, Juancho, surprised her with a photoshoot in Singapore. At Garden’s by the Bay, he booked an on-site photographer and even a makeup artist in her favorite location. “I was super, super grateful for this lovely Valentine’s Day experience,” she shares, especially since she loves having her photos taken.

The chemist’s favorite gift her husband has given her is a utility van for her tablescaping for friends and family, Table Love by Pinky. “Juanch knew I am so passionate about tablescaping, and he noticed logistics has been challenging. During Valentines Day, he surprised me with a brand new Utility Van with a big logo of TablelovebyPinky.” she shares. “I am so so touched by my supportive husband’s gesture. He is truly the sweetest.”

The Tablelove by Pinky van gifted to Tobiano by her husband. / Photo courtesy of Pinky Tobiano

This year, Tobiano and her husband will be spending February 14th preparing “love packages” for the residents of Haven for the Elders, ” We would like to share our blessings and make our lolos and lolas happy this Valentine’s Day.”

Banner photo from @officialtimyap on Instagram.

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