Love was in the air as Ateneo Celadon celebrated the Valentine season with its annual Rose Sale, which took place last February 13 and 14. Working for an event catered to making sweet surprises, volunteers cheerfully served students and campus personnel at the Doghouse, leaving smiles on the faces of friends and loved ones everywhere.
Valentine’s Day is a day of giving and loving. In recognition of the unconditional generosity of the day of hearts, this year’s Rose Sale offered a variety of gifts to share. First on the list were the classic Valentine staples—flowers. Prepared either individually or collectively as beautifully wrapped bouquets, the selection of colorful flora included red, yellow and peach roses, which each stood for true love, friendship and sincerity respectively. Orange and pink daisies, which promised cheerful vibes, were also sold.
Another popular item was the heart balloon. Bright and full, these red balloons carried with them the light and uplifting feelings of appreciation and love as they were seen floating all around the college campus. Similarly, Rose Sale’s adorable teddy bear and panda plushes were often purchased and gave bright expressions of delight.
Spontaneity also added to the Valentine’s Day experience. One particularly unique aspect of the Celadon Rose Sale was its delivery service, which involved cupids personally handing out the purchased gifts to friends, family, and sweethearts—both actual and potential. As a result, students and professors were often greeted with pleasant surprises at the ring of the bell.
“Love is hard work.”
Making love work behind the scenes took a lot of effort. Showing their dedication to the Rose Sale project, core team members started to set the booth up as early as 6:30 a.m. Volunteers could also be seen busily arranging their merchandise in buckets and containers to prepare for the sales.
As the hours passed by, so did the bouquets and balloons. Cupids ran back and forth from the Doghouse to the far corners of the Ateneo—specifically CTC or Bellarmine Hall—to get orders delivered. The two days passed by frantically, with eager faces rushing to buy more, give more and love more. With the constant stream of requests flowing in, Rose Sale co-head, Charmaine Ang, recounts the experience as challenging and explains, “In a way, it really wasn’t an easy task handling the project, but it definitely was worth it… It was just a pity since we could have done better with handling the deliveries back then.”
Moreover, other issues began cropping up as the project continued. One problem was the interruption of classes. While cupids tried their best to make deliveries before classes started, some may have disturbed classes by asking professors for the presence of recipients whom are presumed to be in their classes. (http://tinyurl.com/RoseSaleApology) Moreover, balloons were also accidentally released and ended up being entangled with the branches of surrounding trees. Commenting on the environmental concerns of the project, VP for Financial Affairs Irish Tolentino notes:
“[W]hat we did to counteract the balloon entanglements was to wait for the balloons to deflate. When that happens, we pick them up and dispose them in the right trash bin for segregation. In regards to the environmental impact of the balloons, we will take that into consideration for next year.”
However, despite the chaotic frenzy, there was a sense of satisfaction in accomplishing the task—in seeing memories being formed and stories beginning to unfold. As mentioned by co-project head Mariangela Obviar,
“Usually, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by couples. Red roses are intended to be given as an expression of romantic love. However, as the Rose Sale head, I witnessed the spectrum of love from people on campus. That inspired me to work harder.”
Ateneans—some enthusiastically and others nervously—frequently gathered around the Rose Sale booth, giving their requests and handwritten notes. Some of these included special gifts (i.e food) or messages ranging from confessions to words of gratitude. With colors of red, pink, orange and yellow dotting the hallways, it was easy to see that Valentine’s Day was no longer about love alone. It had evolved into something that was so much more—a day of friendship, appreciation, gratitude and sincerity.
In the end, the Rose Sale was more than just a Valentine’s Day event. It was more than pretty flowers and balloons that slammed into our faces. To the volunteers, it was a treasured experience of watching the expressions of shock and incredulity evolve into happiness and gratitude. To those who gave, it was a precious opportunity to confess and to express their deepest feelings of admiration and appreciation. To those who received, it was the cherished memory of being loved in every sense of the word.
It was not only a project of roses and teddy bears—it was the little things, and those were what mattered the most.
Written by Jodie Tanco.
Photos by Justin Ang and Geela Garcia.