1.1 million Valentine cards | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

1.1 million Valentine cards

/ 05:02 AM February 17, 2024

Today’s piece, my seventh column this year, is my fifth column about Valentine’s Day, the first being “738,102 Valentine cards,” which appeared in the Inquirer on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, the love-day itself. My succeeding pieces about Valentine’s, published on Feb. 16, 2019, Feb. 13, 2021, and Feb. 18, 2023, were also my seventh columns for those years.

The number 738,102 in the title of my 2015 column was the total number of respondents in all Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys since its founding in 1985 up to the time of the Valentine’s report that year. The 1.1 million in today’s title is roughly the total number of SWS survey respondents, as of now.

For their great generosity in accepting our interviewers in their homes, and giving us their answers to so many survey questions, taking up an hour or more of their time, we send our love to these 1.1 million Filipinos this year, just as we sent it to 738,000 kindhearted Filipinos in 2015.

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Where would we be, if it were not for the hospitality of these people, from all walks of life and all quarters of the country? Their only reward for participating in the surveys is their sense of personal worth as contributors to public understanding of their lives.

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A legacy of Vladymir Joseph V. Licudine. The annual SWS survey for Valentine is a tribute to the initiative of Vlad Licudine, social survey researcher, who suddenly passed away from a stroke on June 1, 2023, leaving his wife Evelyn and their three children, at the premature age of 48. Vlad was at the peak of his 27-year career at SWS, having risen to director of the Social Weather Reports program. As befitting his compassionate personality, Vlad had been heavily involved in surveys on Muslim Filipinos and persons with disabilities. He is remembered by the staff in their weekly renditions of the “SWS Hymn,” which is partly based on his poetry in Filipino, and the “SWS Panata” or pledge, which he composed.

Each year, the fourth quarter Social Weather Survey is used for fielding items on coming holidays like Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s, Chinese New Year, and Easter, with the findings saved for public release at appropriate times. These items are all nonsponsored. Hence last week’s “Filipinos’ top Valentine’s Day gift wishes were money, love, and flowers; 58 percent were very happy with their love life” (www.sws.org.ph, 2/11/24). This gift-wish question was fielded for the first time and is post-Vlad.

The proportion with no love life has risen. Credit goes to Vlad for the original love-life (buhay-pag-ibig) question, answerable by Very Happy, Could Be Happier, and No Love Life, used first in 2002, and annually since 2014. (See “Filipinos more romantic than Americans,” by Aileen Rabago and Vladymir Licudine, 2/13/02, for comparisons with a Gallup 2000 survey about believing in love at first sight, experiencing it, and believing in one true love; but it does not cite the love-life item. The earliest SWS report with the love-life item seems to be “Fewer women are happy with love life, with more wishing it could be happier,” 2/11/05; it cites the findings of 2002 and 2004.)

To me, the real news in the new Valentine survey, which was fielded in December 2023, is the record-high 19 percent with no love life. From a 10 percent start in 2002, the love-life-less proportion was steady until 2011 and then rose by steps in 2016, 2020, and 2023. Subtracting 19 from the 58 percent very happy gives 39 percent whose love-life could be happier, far below its 49 percent start in 2002.

Why the no-love-life rate has risen over time, I have no idea. If survey researchers ask questions carefully, they shouldn’t question the answers. First, accept the answers. Then, look for explanations. Maybe we’ll consult our friend Dr. Margie Holmes, famed psychologist of sex (author of “Life Love Lust,” Anvil, 2001), who happens to be an SWS fellow.

More Valentine trivia. “… 44 percent … believe that falling in love with more than one person at the same time is possible…” (2/09/17).

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“… 67 percent … believe in a ‘long distance relationship’…” (2/11/16).

“… 2 percent of women and 1 percent of men see ‘big possibility’ of same sex relationship…” (2/14/14).

“… for love, 68 percent would not change religion…” (2/3/12).“… 55 percent believe that first love never dies…” (2/11/09).“… 70 percent believe that ‘Love is blind’” (2/13/07).Individual survey items get repeated from time to time, according to the mood of the staff. Survey data don’t die; findings from yesteryears help trace the history of love. Thus, old-time survey respondents deserve Valentine cards too.

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TAGS: opinion, Valentine's Day, valentines

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