Tuesday, December 29, 2009

World of Feng Shui

SINCE the new year is the time when people start to wonder what’s in store for them for the next 12 months, Feng Shui is one of the things that usually come to mind.

And when people talk about Feng Shui in the Philippines, one of the names that easily comes to mind is Marites Allen. I got to feature the internationally-trained Feng Shui Master back in 2007 for the Manila Bulletin and even if I’m not exactly an avid believer, I got Ms. Allen to give me my own Feng Shui reading which turned out to be quite accurate for the following year.

Aside from talking about the ancient Chinese art itself, Ms. Allen, who also writes a Feng Shui column for Manila Standard Today and hosts her own Feng Shui talk show for the ANC Channel also talked about the World of Feng Shui stores, of which she is the franchise holder in the country.

I actually bought an Ang Paw envelope which contains three Chinese “prosperity” coins and a P20 bill in one of the World of Feng Shui stores. While I’m not sure if my own Ang Paw is responsible for much of the good luck that I've been enjoying since I got it, especially during Christmas party raffles and the other nice writing jobs and assignments that have thankfully landed on my lap, I guess it certainly doesn’t hurt having it in my wallet all the time.

Here's a slightly tweaked and updated version of that 2007 article:


When you believe in things that you don’t understand then you suffer.
Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”

IF internationally-recognized Feng Shui expert Marites Allen is to be believed, there is no such thing as coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and much of the good fortune and yes, misfortunes that come our way are pretty much dictated by our surroundings, the yin and yang of our Chinese animal signs and the four pillars of our destiny.

“You may have so much money but you’re also very sickly. You may have the work but you may not have the love. And falling in love with the wrong person is no joke so what if you can actually avoid that, you might wonder,” she asks. Her answer is of course, yes, we can. She argues that people who know their Feng Shui have actually lived very fulfilling lives.

The popularity of Feng Shui or “the ancient Chinese art of manipulating and arranging one's surroundings to attract positive life energy so that it flows smoothly and unblocks any obstructions in the body and the environment” in the country is so phenomenal that a good number of its countless believers are not necessarily Chinese.

It also certainly didn’t hurt that Chito Roño’s 2004 award-winning horror flick simply titled Feng Shui, tackled its more dire and ominous consequences and made even more believers of this Chinese practice.

Ms. Allen is quick to point out that Feng Shui is “no superstitious nonsense,” though. She insists that there’s a scientific basis for it. “Feng Shui is a very big responsibility,” she declares. “People come to their doctors when things are not right with their bodies. It’s the same with us Feng Shui masters. People come to us when something needs to be resolved.”

Whether it’s how certain buildings or houses should be constructed, where certain rooms or areas should be located, how furniture should be particularly arranged, when important occasions or milestones like weddings, store or shop openings should be celebrated, Feng Shui has very much influenced the way many of us go about our business.

Allen says that according to Feng Shui, we actually have three kinds of luck . There’s our Heaven Luck which is what is “pre-ordained and cannot be changed.” “This explains why some people are richer and prettier than others because that is what’s really written in their stars,” she notes. There’s Mankind Luck, “which is the result of our actions, our decisions, what we do with our lives.” “There’s a saying that the bus stops only once so you better decide if you want to be on it or not.”

And then, there’s Earth Luck which is “what Feng Shui is all about” The way she explains it, Earth Luck is how the environment affects one’s life. It is sort of the equalizer to Heaven Luck and Mankind Luck as with proper selection and arrangements of certain properties, we can find and restore the right balance in our lives towards a more fulfilling future.

Allen herself is proud of the fact that since she was awarded the Philippine franchise for the World of Feng Shui chain of boutiques in late 2004, there are now five stores in the country including one in Cebu. “I started out with only three personnel, now I have more than 50 in all my five stores.”

Founded by Allen’s own mentor, Malaysian Feng Shui master Lilian Too, the World of Feng Shui franchise also has stores in Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Japan, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Russia, UAE, Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands and the US. It also has its own online store at www.wofs.com.

The stores offer items that help improve our Earth Luck. Its bestselling item remains as the Ang Paw or Hung Pao. These are three Chinese coins (“prosperity coins” as Allen calls them) tied together with red ribbon and placed inside a Chinese envelope. Designed for good wealth, the Ang Paw is something you carry in your purse or wallet at all times. Allen reveals that the ground floor of World of Feng Shui’s Podium store is “embedded with the prosperity coin.” “You could say we’re sitting in a bed of money.” she quips.

Other popular items are the Colored Crystals which people buy not just for wealth but also “for love and harmony and relationships” and the Sailing Ships that are “very popular with businessmen” as they are known to enhance prosperity luck with a golden wealth ship sailing into your home or office.

There’s the Feng Shui Almanac, a fully illustrated Feng Shui guide specially designed to enhance your full potential for the present year. Here, you can also select the best and most auspicious days and times for activities and events such as weddings, renovations, travelling, opening a business and more. This almanac includes auspicious and inauspicious activities, daily earthly branch and conflict animal as well as good, average and unlucky hours.

Then there’s also Lilian Too’s annual Fortune and Feng Shui books that offers highly personalized insights for the year that will ensure how you can maximize your luck and your opportunities.

And of course, there’s Marites Allen’s much sought after Personalized Feng Shui Readings which includes your personal kua number, Individual Eight Mansions analysis, Compatibility based on kua number, Chinese zodiac and year element, Flying Star Natal Chart analysis for your home and office, annual Flying Stars for the present year and Feng Shui solutions to your predicament. Readings are normally conducted at her office in New Manila or the World of Feng Shui store at the Podium by appointment although she can also fly to Cebu to accommodate residents in the area, also by appointment.

A big activity the store is gearing up for is next year’s “Marites Allen Feng Shui Spectacular 2010 Riding The Golden Tiger” slated on January 23, 2010 at the Center Stage of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

“Even though Feng Shui does not try to appear as the answer to everyone’s problems or act as a mirror to one’s future, the lessons you will learn are valuable guidelines to realize that we have options. That we choose to act and decide by ways we deem helpful,” she concludes.

World of Feng Shui shops are located at The Podium, SM Mall of Asia, The Block SM North EDSA, Serendra Piazza and SM Cebu. Corporate Office is located at No. 6 Unit 8 Broadway Park, Doña Juana cor. 1st Streets, New Manila, Quezon City. Also, visit www.wofs.com and www.maritesallen.com.

And here's the teaser/trailer for Marites Allen's ANC TV show:

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