By Doreen Penilla and Rowena Joy Sanchez
As February enters, most couples are already looking forward to what they'll be doing on Valentine's Day. Will it be a fancy dinner date? A surprise gift? Or perhaps a comfortable stay-at-home celebration?
If you're a person who is in a relationship, how do you make this love month special?
Every year, it becomes a challenge to think of something new, with most of us scrambling with new ideas to make Valentine's Day extra special. But really, how do you keep a relationship exciting?
In separate exclusive interviews, we asked celebrities on what they think is the key to keep the romance alive between couples who just started or those who are already in long-term partnerships.
BOND THROUGH TRAVEL
For some couples, it works if they try new things, or travel somewhere together.
"Changing Partners" actor Sandino Martin said, "You guys should try something new, or go on a trip together. Na kayong dalawa lang, for a week."
Young star Maris Racal also believes that going out might just do the trick. She said, "Gawa kayo ng something na hindi niyo pa nagagawa, like travel, mag-roadtrip na sobrang layo, beach, or somewhere na may magandang view."
Even veteran singer Zsa Zsa Padilla attests to the power of traveling together.
"What works for me are travels. I love travels and taking trips abroad. If you can't do that due to your work or time constraints, siguro pwede lang, dates. You should go out on dates. Kasi it's romantic eh. Magbibihis kayo. It's fun," she continued, "It tests relationships hindi ba? Kasi talagang makakasama mo 'yung tao ng 24 hours sa whole trip. Minsan dun nga nagkakaalaman eh. Oh, ito pala 'yung habits niya na hindi ko type. I think it's fun. But that's a test that everyone should make."
SPICE THINGS UP
"Wildflower" actor Joseph Marco thinks you need to veer away from the ordinary. After all, love is supposed to be crazy and inexplainable.
He said, "Dapat palagi silang gumagawa nung hindi nakasanayan, 'yung hindi routine. May iba-iba silang ginagawa. Hindi sila dapat nagsasama palagi. Dapat meron silang ibang mundo sa family nila, sa friends nila, para nami-miss nila 'yung isa't isa. Kasi may mga ibang couples na hindi mo na mapaghiwalay eh, to the point na nagkakasawaan na. Just keep the fire burning, give effort to each other, and stay loyal."
Primetime King Coco Martin suggested some ways on how you can introduce new things into your relationship.
"Unang-una, time. 'Yung pag-aalaga saka 'yung pagsu-surprise mo dun sa minamahal mo, dapat nandun lagi 'yung elements na 'yun. Hindi porket matagal na kayong magkarelasyon eh parang wala na lang, nakasanayan na. Dapat lagi mong iniisip kung paano mo siya masu-surprise o kung ano 'yung mga bagay na magpapasaya sa kanya," he shared.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
There is no greater trick than the magic that communication gives.
Through constant and open communication, couples, or any person for that matter, will be able to resolve issues and understand where the other person is coming from.
RK Bagatsing from "Wilflower" agrees, saying, "I think the important thing is they have to communicate. Most of the relationships na hindi nagwo-work, eh 'yung pride ang pinapairal; minsan may mga bagay silang hindi gusto, pero hindi na lang nila sinasabi. But if two parties are open to talk about it, not really argue about it, I think that relationship will last."
Same goes for "Blood Sisters" actress Erich Gonzales, who believes that it's really a combination of communication, respect, and trust to keep a relationship strong.
She said, "Mag-a-adjust kayo sa isa't isa. Hindi lang puro give ka nang give or take ka nang take. 'Yung respeto niyo sa isa't isa, laging nandyan. And 'yung trust mo, 'yung pagiging understanding. "
Communication also entails understanding. As Jasmine Curtis describes it, "For me kasi romance is when you understand each other, and you can resonate with each other no matter if there's silence in the communication. It's just about being there for each other, no matter what it is. So for me, that's how we keep it alive, understanding and always being there no matter the highs or the lows in your relationship."
It's also not just about communicating with your partner, but also listening to your inner struggles. Divine Diva Zsa Zsa recommends fixing yourself first before trying to fix your significant other.
"Ang problema naman din kapag hindi pinapansin 'yung problema, nagpa-pile up, hanggang sa magugulat ka, maghihiwalay na kayo kasi ang dami mo palang sama ng loob na kinikimkim. Natutunan ko, nung nahiwalay kami [ni Conrad Onglao] ng six months then we got together, I had to go through a healing process. You have to find out kung ano 'yung issues mo.
"Lahat naman tayo may bagahe when it comes to love, takot maiwan, takot kang hindi masyadong i-love, takot kang ibigay ang lahat, maraming fears hindi ba? You have to work on your issues. 'Wag mong masyadong isipin kung ano 'yung issue nung kinakasama ko. Work on yourself first and your healing," she related.
A MATTER OF ACCEPTANCE
For couples who have been together for so long, Tirso Cruz III has learned that it is acceptance that keeps even the longest of relationships alive.
He said, "Sabi nga nila, there is no perfect relationship. There is no perfect wife or husband, the beauty of the relationship is when you learn to accept even the wrong things in a person. [If you can] learn to accept and love it, and you learn to live with it, then your relationship will survive any trial."
Meanwhile, actress Roxanne Barcelo believes in the thing called "creative fidelity".
Roxanne said, "To always be creative in your dynamics with your partner. Because that's what will keep you together, faithfully together. You have to understand 'yung love language ng partner mo."
Maris, as young as she is, has this realization about being in a relationship.
"May time talaga na mawawala 'yung spark niyo, but at the end of the day, sino ba 'yung pinupuntahan mo 'pag sobrang bad 'yung day mo? 'Yun 'yung romance para sa'kin, 'yun 'yung real love, 'yung talagang siya pa rin 'yung kakapitan mo. So if ever may ganun pa kayo, hindi pa kayo patay. Buhay pa and pwede pang i-save."
So to you, dear reader, if things are rocky in the love department, let these nuggets of wisdom from your favorite stars give you an extra push to keep fighting and to keep believing in the power of love. Remember, you are lucky to love and be loved. <3 Happy Valentine's Day!