Feng shui specialist Maritess Allen walked into Manila Hotel's Mabuhay Palace restaurant in a beaded honeysuckle-pink long gown toting a matching Hèrmes Birkin. Pink, she said, is one of the lucky colors for 2012.
Her long hair was set in flirty waves with reddish-copper highlights for good luck (orange and red are the other lucky colors). She rattled off her predictions, and assured us that the world will not end by Dec. 21, as indicated in the Mayan calendar.
"Does anyone here believe that?" she asked, laughing. She suggested that instead of worrying about Armageddon, people should be busy getting married-or making babies.
The year of the Water Dragon is a very auspicious year to tie the knot, and kids born this year are considered lucky. It would take a 12-year cycle before the next Dragon year, so couples have a few months to beat the deadline for having a dragon baby (Chinese New Year in 2013 falls on February 10).
Allen, a Filipino, got into feng shui, or the ancient Chinese practice of "balancing energies," because of a slew of bad luck-in her career, finances, personal life. Feng shui helped her gain luck. She eventually remarried and established World of Feng Shui, an amulet shop based in malls.
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She is the go-to geomancer of businessmen like Washington Sycip and Regal Films' Lily Monteverde; celebrities Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda; and Inquirer columnist and interior designer Tessa Prieto Valdes.
She has trained in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and China on feng shui practices, and has a business degree from Ateneo Professional School.
Allen recently held talks in Manila Hotel and Shangri-La Cineplex and gave guidelines for 2012.
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Allen said 2012 is a "transformative year." It will be more peaceful, with less violence and armed conflicts. Business is competitive and demanding, and it is a good year for real estate.
The Dragon Year has the "external romance flower star," so there will be a lot of infidelity energy; those born in the year of the Dog must be extra careful. Marriages will be challenged by affairs and sex scandals.
Businesses with wood element will do best, such as plantations, agriculture, publishing and those involving flowers and plants. It is also a good year for earth industries like real estate and construction. Those with water elements should be extra careful, like baking, shipping, transportation, fishing, alcohol and beverages.
Metal industries will have average growth-jewelry, computers, airlines. Fire industries will have a smooth year, like the stock market, entertainment, lighting, food and restaurants, but be wary of investments made by the third quarter.
There is a lack of creativity chi (energy) in career and education: "Promotion is possible but competition is fierce." Students must stay extra focused.
Health-wise, she advises to take extra care of the waist, ears, kidneys. Patriarchs, especially, need protection from physical harm.
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Allen gave an overview for each animal sign: The Rat must "focus on mentally challenging activities than socializing." The Ox may experience "a tougher year than 2011, but if things go well, it will be very well." The Tiger will "experience a favorable year, but must choose auspicious months for important dates."
It is a good year for the Rabbits; health, personal and professional relationships will be sound. Ironically, it is not a year for major changes for the Dragons and "obstacles and aggravations are likely."
"Unique opportunities" will come for the Snake, although "things may not be as easy as last year." Victory luck will accompany the Horse, and it will be a "fabulous year with fresh opportunities."
The Sheep will have "plenty of success and achievements, but must control temper" and "relationships may suffer with the 'quarrelsome star.'" The Monkey, with an "impressive personal chi, will have wealth and success luck." Roosters will have "a relatively smoother and trouble-free year."
Dogs must be careful because of the presence of "harmful stars"; timing should be right for major activities. The Boars will have success luck, but should be wary of robbery and betrayal.