Roamer's Roundup

A Not-So-Ordinary Valentines Day In The City: The Mystery of “Olivia”

Valentines Day 2014 would have been yet another Valentines Day in the metropolis with all the commercial establishments announcing their Valentine promos, heavy traffic in the streets compounded by the fact that V-Day falls on a Friday and it’s almost payday as well for many, not to mention the lines of vehicles and patrons going to one of those venues along the motel row.

But something began to pop up along the streets of Metro Manila that sent the city abuzz. Billboards appeared on various bus stops among the major thoroughfares of the city, particularly EDSA, just a few days before Valentines Day. The billboards contain the same simple message:

Olivia, Will You Marry Me? 21414


At first, one would think that whoever placed these ads must be really that rich to put it in various billboard configurations (some have just one billboard set up, others have 2, some have 5, each carrying one of the above-stated words) in various venues. For someone commuting or driving along EDSA for instance, it was hard to miss at least one of them along the way.



And in the age of social media and instant communication, this particular case of viral messaging became the talk of the town as people try to figure out what it all means. Was this a wedding proposal hatched by someone who’s really rich to spend all these billboards? Or could it be some sort of viral marketing or advertising gimmick that is yet to be unveiled? Unfortunately, the company reportedly behind the placement such types of billboards is mum about the identity of the client.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped some from forwarding their theories on this matter. Some of them say it’s an actual proposal and the who made the proposal happens to belong to a family who does outdoor advertising. Others pointed out that it was actor John Prats who’s behind the billboards as a way to propose to his girlfriend, actress Isabel Oli (who’s actually Olivia Daytia in real life) though Prats denied this in an interview.

In any case, the words “21414” is assumed to be the date when we will know what it all means. Unfortunately, as I write this entry 2 days after Valentines Day, no additional information has been revealed, which makes one wonder what was the purpose of the “21414” if whoever’s behind has not been forthcoming with some information yet after Valentines Day. The least that could have been done was to remove the billboards after that day if it was meant to be a Valentines Day thing, otherwise, we are being misled by the “21414.” Or maybe the ones who puts up the billboards do not work on weekends so I may be reading on this too much.

So the mystery remains to keep on baffling us metropolitan denizens. While it’s good to have some mystery every now and then, one can only hope that this mystery will be over soon before something so clever as this will turn into something so sickening as the advertising overload the city is suffering in recent years.

Acknowledgements as well to Pacifiqa and the Storify piece by Adobo Magazine

© The Urban Roamer

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