[PHOTO AT LEFT - RED-LETTER DAY: A vendor arranges roses at a stall in Sampaloc, Manila yesterday. A day before Valentine’s Day, a single-stemmed rose cost at least P50. – JOVEN CAGANDE]

MANILA, FEBRUARY 14, 2007 (STAR) Seventy percent of adult Filipinos believe love is blind, and 47 percent said they have already experienced or felt it, according to the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

In its Fourth Quarter Social Weather Survey, conducted on Nov. 24-29, 2006, the SWS said 76 percent of adults in the Visayas believe that "love is blind," 72 percent believe it in Luzon, 71 percent in Metro Manila and 60 percent in Mindanao.

All socioeconomic classes are also believers: 72 percent among class D, 68 percent among class E, and 65 percent among the upper classes A, B and C.

Belief that love is blind is shared by 72 percent of women and 68 percent of men.

Seventy-one percent of the married respondents believe in it, 69 percent among those living-in with a partner, and 68 percent among those with no spouse or partner.

Forty-seven percent nationwide said they have either felt or been in a situation where "love is blind," 51 percent in the Visayas, 48 percent in Metro Manila, and 45 percent in Luzon and Mindanao.

Slightly more Filipinos among class E (54 percent) and class D (45 percent) have been in this situation compared to classes ABC (40 percent).

Slightly more adults with live-in partners (56 percent) have experienced it, compared to those who are married (47 percent) and those with no spouse/partner (44 percent).

Those who believe and have experienced that "love is blind" is slightly higher among women with live-in partner, with 79 percent believing and 69 percent having experienced it, compared to their male counterparts, with 58 percent believing and 39 percent having experienced it.

More men tend to believe that "love is blind" as they grow older, while it hardly differs among women across age groups.

The Social Weather Survey for the Fourth Quarter of 2006 started fieldwork on Nov. 24 nationwide. Fieldwork was completed by Nov. 28 in all areas, except in Mindanao, where it was done by Nov. 29.

The SWS surveys use face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2006 to obtain the national estimates.

The items described in this release were not commissioned, but were included on SWS’s own initiative.

The quarterly Social Weather Surveys are supported by subscribers, who have no proprietary rights over the data. — Helen Flores

Pinoys Asia’s top chocoholics By Joanne Rae Ramirez The Philippine Star 02/13/2007

That Filipinos are amorous and have one of the highest birth rates in the world is no surprise — they best all Asians in the consumption of Hershey’s chocolates, bar none, according to Jerry Santiago, Hershey’s Philippines president and regional manager.

And chocolates, research shows, put you in the mood for love.

Santiago told The STAR on the eve of Valentine’s Day that Filipinos consume 75 million pieces of chocolate Kisses yearly, making them the most "Kisses-able country" in Asia.

Research shows that serotonin and other substances found in chocolate, most notably phenethylamine, can act as mild sexual stimulants.

Willie Ong, a cardiologist at the Makati Medical Center, agrees that chocolates, particularly dark chocolates, are good for the heart. And when the heart feels good, it can love a lot more.

"But I wouldn’t advise chocolates for diabetics and those who are obese," Ong adds.

According to Wikipedia, recent studies suggest that cocoa or dark chocolate may possess certain beneficial effects on human health. Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, is a rich source of the flavonoids epicatechin and gallic acid, which are thought to possess cardioprotective properties. Some studies have also observed a modest reduction in blood pressure after consuming approximately 100g of dark chocolate daily.

Recent events also show that Filipinos love Kisses and kissing. Filipinos recently kissed en masse to set a new record — 6,124 couples— for the Guinness World Record of simultaneous kisses.

"The Philippines is a chocolate-eating country, and Hershey’s is the most popular real chocolate brand among Filipinos," added Erick Ampil, Hershey’s group product manager, during the celebration yesterday of the centennial of Hershey’s Kisses, the universal comfort food, at the Mandarin Oriental in Makati City.

Since the first Kiss rolled off the Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1907, 291 million pounds of Kisses have been consumed worldwide. This, according to Hershey’s Patricia Turquato, is equal to the weight of 29,000 adult elephants!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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