When she was a teenager, Princess Lim Fernandez would refer to the discipline of feng shui as a “circus.”
“My mom was such a fanatic so she would go everywhere—Quiapo, Cavite, Binondo—whenever somebody tipped her off of a good feng shui expert,” she says. “Our house ended up looking like a circus: there’s mirrors here, there’s something hanging whatever. I didn’t see any improvement, and I thought there wasn’t any reason to do this.”
But her mom just continued to go about her way. Things only started making sense to Princess when her family, due to security reasons, had to relocate from General Santos to Manila, and had to start life all over again. It was during this time that her mother became friends with the late Paul Lau, the feng shui master who was Jullie Yap Daza’s go-to in the long defunct talk show Tell The People. Lau was one of the first feng shui specialists to think beyond traditionalist Chinese practitioners and make the discipline more accessible to everyday Pinoys.
After seeing vast improvements in their new business, Princess started tagging along with her mother in sessions with Paul. Princess would ask questions and the feng shui master would explain. Over time, and to her surprise, feng shui just continued to make more sense.
Before Paul died in 2000, the Feng Shui master, perhaps sensing his time was running out, was looking for an apprentice. At that time, Fernandez was graduating from Ateneo de Manila and was looking at a fruitful career in finance. But her friend Lau checked her birth chart one day and saw a different future for Princess.
“Ha? No, I am going to be a banker,” she remembers telling Paul.
“But I don't think you will [be a banker],” Paul told her. “Looking at your chart, you have the potential to do something good with the knowledge I will give you.”
“So he said, ‘So okay let's make a deal: 24/7 you follow me, I'll teach you. And then after that, when I'm no longer here, if you want to go into banking, then you have the rest of your life to do it right?’ I thought that was a fair deal. So I [followed him]. And suffice to say I never actually went into banking anymore.”
Today, Princess is one of the leading feng shui experts in the country. We sat down with her to talk about the discipline and what could be in store for the Filipinos in the year of the Earth Pig.
What's the most surprising thing about this practice?
When you understand it, and apply it to your life, it can really make a difference for the better. No matter what, all of us have a certain destiny. Your birth chart is what we call your destiny and luck. That is based on your bith, and you can't really change it. But then come the other factors: Feng Shui, charity, and education.
What would you advise someone who has been predicted will have an unfavorable year?
Number one, be aware of it. Secondly, do something about it. How do you do something about it? You check your feng shui arrangement. It’s a misconception of a lot of people when they say “Oh I'm year of the pig. What's my feng shui?” That statement actually is not correct because you can say, “I’m Year of the Pig. That’s your Zodiac Sign. That’s your birth chart.” But my house is facing North. That’s your feng shui. So like that’s your hardware, and your chart is the software. They're different.
So feng shui is the physical aspect that surrounds you.
[Zodiac and feng shui] are different but you can't have one without the other. They’re two different disciplines that are interrelated. So once you’re aware of your chart, and you know what aspects to be careful of, you can maximize it by having the right feng shui energies around you. Of course, the best case scenario is that your chart is good. But sometimes life is a cycle and your chart isn't that strong and not that rosy. All the more it's important to have a nice harmonious environment around you to boost your luck.
And then you can boost it further through charity: by doing good deeds, being kind, having a good heart, being sincere. When you are kind, then kindness flies back to you. Even if your luck isn’t great, you'll be surrounded by people who will help you. And then there’s education. If you’re at a weak point, do something about it. Learn and try to do better yourself so that when you encounter a similar challenge in the future, you’d know better [to approach it].
What's the first thing you tell somebody who is not yet convinced feng shui makes sense?
I always tell them, try it out. I find a lot of satisfaction in convincing the husbands, the men who come begrudgingly, just to accompany the wife. Usually when the wife is here, the husband is at the coffee shop waiting. Pero around year three, they see improvements. It’s happened so many times; they see improvements in their home, in the business. Then they start to tag along. They start sitting in, just listening to what we're talking about. We're all affected by the energies of nature whether we are aware of it or not. Give it a try.
Is there such a thing as an unsolvable problem?
I don't think so. Because it's just more of managing expectations. A goose cannot be a chicken. And a chicken cannot be a goose, or a swan. When you are aware, or you are able to identify based on your chart that these are your strengths and this is your potential, then you can maximize that potential.
Let’s be more specific. Let's talk about the previous year.
Last year was Year of the Earth Dog, right? It was really an emotional year because it was an earth year. But the difference was it was Yang Earth. It is more stable, like a mountain. But this year, it’s a Yin earth. It's like weak garden soil. It's movable.
So last year because of that Yang earth energy, we were witness to a lot of show of force. Up to now, it’s still there because we haven't entered the new year yet. The energies of last year and this year has to do with going back to nature, going back to basics. I've been saying this last year, it’s about going back to things that really matter. There’s what we call a cycle of the years: spring, summer, autumn, winter. The past couple of years have been dominantly spring and summer, where there's more fire. So when there's more fire, what's the general energy? “Go, go, go.” “I wanna go out.” “I wanna go outdoors, go to the beach.” It’s very dynamic and energetic.
We're entering the Earth Period which is akin to going into autumn and winter. So there's a bit of a slowdown, cooling down. When it's the summer, you're always planning the next beach vacation, when you're going to go out. But when it’s the latter part of the year, then it's more about fixing your homes, staying at home, because it’s colder. Bringing out the thicker clothes and jackets. When there's a cooling down, the fire sort of starts to fizzle out. On the good side, people are not as rushed to everything all at once and not that fiery. So then they have more time to think about themselves. It's not being selfish. It's more about focus. Earth is about you. It is assessing yourself, taking care of your physical, mental, emotional well-being and all that.
Does this relate to the amount of conflicts we’ve been seeing?
Yes, and it’s heightened. Like the reaction is not commensurate to the offense or the perceived offense. It's not proportional because of the heightened emotions. And we've seen also a lot of cases of depression, of extreme loneliness that would push them to a point of doing something to themselves. There's a bit of a carry over of that this year. But the difference of Yin Earth, it's kinder. It’s a gentler type of Earth. In that sense yes, it’s still more emotional, but there’s more control.
This year, Yin Earth, is not stable earth. It gives you the appearance of being solid and strong but the foundation is actually water. It’s muddy. There's that certain degree of conflict between the earth and the water element. There’s also balance that we need to achieve. So I think the theme that we should have this year is balance. Because you need water in your earth to grow your plants. But you can't over water it because it's going to flood. There has to be that balance.
What can people expect in terms of industries?
The industries that will do well this year are those related to Fire and Earth. And if people check their birth chart, if they have a lot of fire in their charts, they can expect a prosperous year ahead. The industries that will do well are those related to media, entertainment, technology, food, dining. Meanwhile, Earth highlights nature, things that have organic sources, natural products. Earth is also about wellness and beauty. So a lot of the aesthetic clinics, cosmetics, anything in the beauty and glamour industry, should do well. That's why we see the surge of all these Korean, Japanese makeup products. Fitness centers, alternative trainings, running and biking groups, those that sell supplements and other healthy products should all do well.
Also [businesses] that deal with peace of mind and well being like the insurance industry. You will see a lot of sudden searches of different short courses that would address self-realization, self-empowerment, because also when you talk about the earth, it's also about reassessing yourself. That's why emotions are heightened. Because when you re-assess yourself, sometimes, you don't get the answers you want.
So emotions will still be a bit heightened?
Yes. So what I would advice people is to not act at the height of their emotions. Take a step back and assess the situation. See it from all angles before making a decision. Even just one spoken word that wasn't given much thought can have so many repercussions.
Another thing: unlike last year’s Yang Earth, which is more of a mountain, and has a far better view—meaning good foresight, a 360 perspective—Ying Earth has a more limited view. Which could also mean limited foresight. So people should push themselves to try to see beyond [what’s readily seen]. What does that mean? For example, when you’re presented with a business proposal, really do due diligence: research, do background checks. Don’t take it at face value.
How about relationships?
It's a blind year. That means there's no spring. That means there is no period between the first day of spring and Chinese New Year. This year, our Chinese New Year is February 5. But spring was February 4. So there's no spring.
When it’s a blind year, people have to really open their eyes. They should really open their eyes and check if they really know the person they are marrying, or the person they’re in a relationship with. So that they don't get blindsided. This also goes for non-romantic relationships, like in the workplace. You have to be careful. It’s the energy I was talking about: Earth on Water. There's a level of it that is superficial.
So always look deeper.
Yes. That's why I think also, in line with the energies of last year and this year, it's really good to go back to your core, to your basis, to the people who you know have your back. The ones with sincere intentions, and don't have an ulterior motive.
It’s important to know the company you keep.
I've seen a lot of people who did a lot of purging of their contact list, of their friends, because of those heightened emotions. It reassesses where you are at, what relationships are actually beneficial and what are toxic.
Tell us about the general state of health.
If you look at the chart this year, the wealth star is in the center. So in that aspect, prosperity, wealth is pretty okay. Because if it's in the center, that means everybody has equal access to the pot. It's just a matter of bringing it home. But it's fair. So on the wealth and prosperity side, it's a fair playing field. But when it comes to health, not so much. Because you see on both ends of the spectrum, in the northeast, we have the sickness star and the disaster star. This affects everyone. This year, people have to prioritize health over wealth.
You’ll see a lot of health issues suddenly creeping up, or being worse than you thought it to be. Since December 22, 2018, it’s been the winter solstice. Usually the period from winter solstice to Chinese New Year is called the handover period. What happens during that period is we have a preview to what’s to come in the next year. So we can already see a little bit and I've seen it already: there's some health issues, serious health issues that are going around. So we have to really make sure to pay attention to the hygiene, to the cleanliness around us so that it doesn't become an epidemic.
You also have to be careful of backstabbing in the workplace this year. People will be talking a lot behind their co-workers’ backs. And this affects your mental health.
Which signs are favorable this year?
The lucky signs this year would be the Horse, Monkey, Rabbit, Tiger, Rat, and Dragon. The so-so would be Rooster. The not-so-good are Goat, Ox, Pig, and Snake. But, aside from your year sign, you also need to pay attention to your month, day, and time of birth.
So, in general, what should one’s personal focus be this year?
Regardless of what sign you are, like I said, pay attention to your well-being. Physical, mental and emotional well being. Be mindful of the words that you choose. Pay attention to relationships. Try to always achieve that balance in your life. Work-life balance. Balance of choosing rest over an important task—you know, health over wealth.
For consultations with Princess Lim Fernandez, please visit Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony at New World Hotel in Makati. Visit, YinAndYangShopOfHarmony.com, or call 752 5882
You may also be interested in: