Valentines Dayt

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, February 14, 2014

I MUST have gone out from work at 7:30 in the evening. I decided to pick up Joy from our place near City Hall and proceeded to Mario's nearby. Of course it was full. The staff said they would be able to prepare a table for us by 10:30. In fact they mentioned that it would be even more special as it would be just for the two of us. Wow!

We left for Forest House, the Manor then Country Club just in case, but all were full and unfortunately were unable to accommodate me and my valentine. It was now nearing 9pm and we were getting hungry after a long day’s work.

I officiated a mass wedding of 180 couples and a talk to the sponsors on their roles, purchased gifts for every Juan and a lot of signing of certificates. We drove around to while the time away. It was nearing 10pm anyway and we might be able to make our 10:30 date at Mario's.


Joy after college worked with Mario’s as a bookkeeper when it was still in Session Road. Aside from being the Mayor it was Joy who had preferential treatment more than I did since everyone there knew her very well.

I contemplated a few things:

1. The staff would have to work overtime just for us, it was Valentines and surely they too had their own after work.

2. People could have assumed being the Mayor they had to extend that extra treatment for me.

3. There was the possibility the cook may spit at our order as we were abusing their time and our privilege.

4. It would have looked awkward to see the Mayor waiting as he failed to reserve a table for his date.

5. The roses being offered for free would have made me appear cheap and desperate as I had none.

6. Having to wait in line in restaurants seems embarrassing.
Enough of all those, there can be more reasons for me to be able to make up for my booboo. Trying to impress Joy for a date, assuming to get that special treatment, and trying too hard to impress her while I may be the Mayor who gets what he wants, did not cut it.

Plus we never gain any points when keeping any Juan hungry. Every Juan becomes grouchy and moody when hungry. And so as with my date. We continued to drive around the city and I ended up with the same outcome where ever it may be. Everywhere we went it was just full and none were accommodating enough.

Surely all the staff even doubled were all tired from the day that was and was not yet over as the Mayor was now asking for added "special" treatment. Fed up and not from food but from just getting the same reply all through out, we just decided to head back home.
Reaching the rotunda and heading back home, we decided to take Gov. Pack Road. Then it hit us. We knew we were hungry and the only thing was for us to get our tummy filled up. Then there was Goto Baden it was just along the road, open 24 hours and guaranteed hot for any Juan to enjoy.

And so it was. At Goto Baden we took our place alongside each other beside some travelers just coming into the city or those about to leave.

A place for two is not very hard to find. For my group after a night of drinks, a place for four to six would be impossible to find, especially if Juan wishes to be all alongside each other.

On most cases we are all separated from each other just like when Juan gets pancit guisado in Rose Cafe. But that's another story.

In our place beside each other we order our “usual”, yes we have been together there many times. Even before being in government we would go there after I pick up Joy from work in Metrobank especially when it is the yearend or month end and overtime (midnight) is just normal. During that time, just for every Juan to know, we lived in Itogon and it was always better to get a bite in town before heading back home.

Well I had halo-halo that included cow brain, eyes and tongue, pig ears, goto and of course a side order of hardboiled egg. Chili pepper, calamansi and onion leeks were standard. Joy will just order Goto with egg. Porridge will always go well with tokwa't baboy and their special sauce with sliced onions. I had a can of beer and Joy had Coke.

There was definitely a few stares from those around us. Some probably knew who I was but mostly doubting themselves as to why I would choose to be there with my Valentine on Valentines. Who wouldn’t? I would not blame them for doubting if ever.

Some shrugs amongst the customers and to those without any dates, well a hot meal was just worth it. February still gets to have lower temperatures, such a meal was something worth having especially before a trip in the aircon bus or when Juan just arrived.

I pay 200 bucks for my date, the beer was the expensive one. I remember leaving a hundred for tip. A smile from the "usual" server who knew who I was. Surely that was the topic of every Juan after we left as I knew he would have bragged not of the tip but about this "usual" customers (me and Joy). A little past 10 we headed home. As I was driving I get the remark that we all wish for or anticipate. Joy tells me “that” was the best Valentines date she's ever had.

Guys, it is not about impressing your date on this date, it is how the date went. In most cases every Juan will assume that by spending, all become plus points. There are times when the simplest things are the most memorable and significant. In life the Lord leads us to something unexpected but surprisingly results that come out to be the best.

Sometimes in a crossroad we are given choices and options but unsure of what to take. Then HE will just guide you to the right path with a result unexpected but will eventually be the best. Allow the Lord to lead you, ask for HIS grace and it will come.

Sometimes when we least expect it, we find ourselves in the best situation. It is also about finding it. All HE has done was to guide us, it is for us to find it. Our hearts vary in what is expected but it is those small things we don’t expect that are the most significant and memorable.

I hope every Juan enjoyed your Valentine’s date. I did! I hope yesterday, just like the goto date I had with my wife years ago, warm your hearts forevermore.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2014.


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