CELEBRATING Valentine's Day, particularly going out for dinner, in Davao City this year was quite a challenge. Traffic downtown was too much anybody can handle.

So glad that hubby Alvin and I got an invite to celebrate love up south at Eden Nature Park and Resort in Toril. The quiet and traffic-free ride going up was already an opportunity for both of us to engage in an intimate conversation, catching up with each other's activities during the day's work and just talking anything under the sun.

A drizzle greeted us when we arrived, making it extra cooler at the Vista Restaurant where the Valentine dinner event was set-up. The cold didn't bother us though as my red shawl got me covered while hubby was wearing a jacket.

Eden Nature Park and Resort marketing manager Brenda Arabe Ocampo was at the reception area with her husband Tek and their eldest child, and after customary greetings, she urged us to take our turn at the photo booth. We really had fun posing with different costumes.

Most red-covered tables were already filled but a crew led us to our table that was facing the stage where a local band was playing pop love songs. Wow! I was really having a romantic dinner date with hubby on Valentine's Day! No distractions. No work. No errands. No other commitments. Just ourselves in such an amazing evening of great music, excellent food and "love-is-in-the-air" ambience.

Well, not all who came were couples. Families and groups of friends also joined in the celebration.

The night's buffet menu included Fresh Green Salad, from Eden's farm, with choices of Asian Dressing, Oriental Dressing, Mixed Herb Dressing, Thousand Island Dressing and Honey Mustard Dressing; Waldorf Salad; Appetizers - Cajun Shrimp with Mango Mayo and Cheddar Gougeres with Mornay Sauce; Bouillabaisse Soup; Main Course - Roast Pork Loin with Rosemary Applesauce, Bruschetta Chicken, Fish with Lemon Dill Sauce, Fettuccini with Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Gnocchi with Garlic Tomato and Fresh Basil Sauce, Ratatouille and Steamed Rice; Dessert - Red Velvet Mini Cakes, Chocolate Mini Cakes with Caramel Filling, Assorted Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate Pralines. Such a feast, indeed!

We were too full to do anything or go anywhere after taking our sumptuous meal, so we sat and just listened to popular songs from the 80s to the current ones, singing along to familiar tunes like the rest of the guests.

One of the younger guests, a millenial, was brave enough to go up the stage and jam with the band. I nor my husband wouldn't dare follow her lead so we sat glued and whiled away time before calling it a night. Big thanks for the red wine to cap off a beautiful evening.

Most of the guests that night retired to their respective accommodations at the resort, making most of the time spent with loved-ones before waking up to reality the day after.

Eden's Eat. Stay. Love. affair this year has truly lived up to expectations. Can't wait for next year!