It was about ten years ago when I first met Master Hanz Cua. It was at his store of lucky charms located in one of Manila's bigger malls. He was already starting to make a name for himself then, in the field of fortune-telling. I, on the other hand, was a struggling magazine editor in a small media company.
On that first meeting, the very gracious Master Hanz offered to read my birth chart after our interview. I remember him telling me that my career luck is linked to water. That suggestion never left me. Even as I continued magazine work, since that’s the area I felt I was adept in, his words were always at the back of my mind. At some point, it had me thinking whether I should put up a water refilling station or a laundry shop, or if a career as a seafarer would give me a better life.
A lot has changed since we first met. For quite a while now, I have enjoyed a fulfilling career in ABS-CBN, the country’s largest media conglomerate. Master Hanz, on the other hand, is now considered one of the most recognizable names in the field of Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui in the country. He has published bestselling books and has maintained a loyal clientele. When so much tragic stuff was happening in the Philippines three, four months into the previous year, there was no other manghuhula people pointed their fingers to: why didn't Master Hanz warn us about Taal? About the pandemic? Why did he say 2020 will be "a strong, prosperous and lucky year"?
“What if I still decided to pursue a career that wasn’t supposed to bring me luck but a career I think I belong to?” I finally got to ask him when we chatted for this interview.
“It’s all about right timing," he tells me. "In astrology, you’ll see kailan ka magpi-peak sa anumang field, based on our birthday, birth month, birth year, birth time, birth location, name, gender—meron na’ng nakatadhana sa heaven.”
I have yet to explore if working near a body of water is my 'tadhana,' but for Master Hanz, fortune-telling could very well be his. It's just that, like Covid-19, he didn’t see it right away in the beginning.
Like father, like Hanz
Hanz Cua is a pure-blooded Chinese, but he was born and raised in the Philippines. His grandparents are from China and his parents only speak Chinese. Hanz is the eldest among three siblings (he has two sisters). He attended Chinese schools from elementary all the way to college, and he can read and speak fluently in Chinese and Filipino.
Master Hanz believes he was born with very strong psychic powers. “Bata pa lang ako, nakakakita na ako ng aura, ng mga elementals, mga duwende. Minsan nagpunta ako sa Batangas, nakakita ako ng mga tikbalang, ng kapre, ng mga spirits,” he tells me. There was a time he had a premonition that a house will catch fire—and it did go into flames hours after. “Meron din akong duwende na friend na parati kong binibigyan ng candies,” he says.
It was only later on in life that he realized that not everyone was born with a psychic gift, that he was “different.”
His father is a Feng Shui master. Being the firstborn, Master Hanz naturally learned to read destiny and astrology charts as a young kid. He often traveled to China since his dad was mostly based there.
“Nasa chart ko din na meron akong psychic powers,” he offers. And yet Master Hanz didn’t pursue feng shui right away. His dad, he says, did not become successful in the practice. “[He] only speaks Chinese, so wala naman siyang ganoong kadaming kliyente dito sa Pilipinas. Also, there was no such thing as a Bachelor of Science in Feng Shui,” Master Hanz says, his face serious.
He loved studying and learning new stuff, but like many Chinese progenies, the young Hanz was also brought up to be entrepreneurial. “Nagbebenta ako ng kahit anong gamit,” he recalls.
Master Hanz’s public image is that of a friendly, brimming-with-excitement manghuhula who wears lots of bold-colored and shiny outfits. It's either part of the whole Master Hanz brand or he wears them because they are known to attract the things people want to attract: money, love, good health. But unknown to many, there was a time when the country’s most popular Feng Shui expert—his name is the first to pop up when you Google “Feng Shui Philippines”—actually exclusively wore white to work. Master Hanz was a nursing graduate and proudly passed the nursing board exam. He practiced for only less than a year but the short stint has given him much to look back on.
Hanz recalls a time when he was attending to an indigent patient with meningitis. “I asked the mother of the patient, ‘Mommy, ba’t di ka pa nakakabili ng antibiotic?’ Sabi sa akin, ‘Wala po akong pera.’ Naalala ko, ang daily pamasahe ko noon is P150. Ibinigay ko sa kanya ang last money ko. Naglakad ako pauwi nun at wala akong nabiling pagkain, pero I was so happy.”
In another instance, he was a bedside nurse to a longtime teacher who just suffered a stroke. “Wala siyang asawa at anak. Todo effort akong alagaan si patient na yun. He was able to recover from the stroke, and sobrang thankful niya sa akin, binibigyan nya ako ng pera,” he tells me. Hanz refused the money and told the teacher it's enough that he was able to teach again and inspire young people. “Isa yun sa mga success stories ko sa aking buhay," says Master Hanz.
But during his nursing stint, Hanz’s psychic gifts would continue to manifest. “I remember, nung nagwo-work ako sa ER, pag nakikita kong dumarating ang patient at wala ang soul nya sa tabi nya, medyo alam ko na hindi na ito mabubuhay. Pero pag nakikita ko nandoon lang sa tabi nya ang soul, alam kong mabubuhay ang patient na yun,” he shares.
He was planning to continue his nursing career in the US, but somewhere along the way, he would end up selling lucky charms and, believe it or not, found this to be more gratifying. “Nakita ko na sa pamamagitan nito, marami talaga akong matutulungan, mas marami akong nagagabayan. Doon na ako nag-tuluy-tuloy ng pagfu-Feng Shui.”
Feng Shui Master
While he could predict the future through his Chinese Astrology readings, Master Hanz still believes in “heaven’s secret.” Life’s mysteries can still sometimes surprise us. “Ang buhay ay hindi perfect, at dahil hindi siya perfect—may mga troubles, challenges na dumarating—these make our journey in life more exciting and worthwhile,” he says.
Hanz earned his diploma as a Feng Shui Master Practitioner—which was how he got the title Master—but he doesn't say exactly where he got his diploma from. He’s trained in Feng Shui, Bazi or Chinese Astrology, and Zi Wei Dou Shu (Emperor Purple Star Astrology), which specializes in decoding a person’s life path and destiny through the use of their birth date and birth time.
He says he sharpened his skills through different Feng Shui masters in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand. His knowledge of this powerful and ancient art, he adds, has already elevated his status to a Sage.
He talks about himself in the third person. "Nag-aral talaga si Master Hanz Cua sa Singapore master, Malaysian Master, Taiwan master and other masters pa po." "May daily practice din si Master Hanz." "Si Master Hanz ay author ng libro. Highly commercialized si Master Hanz." Is he single? "Single pa din si Master Hanz right now, focused pa din siya sa career at sa pagtulong sa tao."
To know whether a Feng Shui master is reliable, Master Hanz has a simple tip. “Siya mismo ang tingnan mo. Kamusta ba ang career niya? Paano kita bibigyan ng gabay kung ako mismo wala akong career? Kung wala akong business, ako mismo unhealthy, ang pangit ng lifestyle ko,” he points out, trailing off. Speaking of lifestyle, he offers a glimpse of what his is like. “I sleep as early as 8pm and wake up at 5am or 6am. I start my day with meditation, with prayers, with chanting mantra, with being positive.”
He seeks to inspire other people through the kind of life he lives. “Kahit na may Covid, wag natin hayaang maging mataba tayo,” says the Feng Shui master who used to wear triple XL-sized clothes. Now, despite his very busy schedule, he makes sure he exercises regularly (proof: he is on the treadmill while we talk), practices intermittent fasting, and drinks lots of water.
Gone are the days when his clothes and costumes were always custom-made due to his size. “Now, kasya na sa akin ang medium,” he says. Turning to a healthy lifestyle taught him one of life’s most important realizations. “Dati talaga ang goal ko is to earn money,” he admits. “Ngayon, ang mantra ko health is wealth.”
“How has success changed you?” I ask. He says success taught him to think of his social responsibility to his followers. “I always keep this in mind when I deal with people, when I declare my predictions, it could trigger fear, worry, and anxiety to people. What I do is tell them what to do—'Mahina ang money element, magsuot ka ng red.' Hindi yung magsasabi ako ng negative.”
Before we end our interview, he tells me a rather unexpected prediction that's supposed to happen to me this year. As always, he follows it with his usual parting shot, saying I'm still accountable for my own life, and that I create my own future. “Ang fortune forecast ay gabay lamang. Nasa inyong mga kamay nakasalalay ang inyong tagumpay.”
[Photographs by Tammy David. Additional photos courtesy of Master Hanz Cua]