MANILA -- Madam Auring, the fortune teller who blazed through many decades predicting the fortune of many stars, beauty queens and politicians, died Friday at 80.
Her grandchildren, in separate social media posts, announced her passing after several health challenges in the last years of her life.
From humble beginnings as a beautician in Manila, Aurea Sabalboro rose to fame in the last decades of the 20th century when she began to read other people’s fortunes using tarot cards and other tools of the trade of divining the future.
She hit it big in the '70s when she supposedly correctly predicted the win of Spain’s Amparo Munoz as Miss Universe 1974 held in Manila.
It was a time when showbiz, pageantry, and fortune telling merged to catch the public’s interest and imagination amid the vibes of martial law and repression.
In 1975, Muhammad Ali accorded Auring her biggest achievement when he called her after correctly predicting his win over Joe Frazier, when other pundits said otherwise.
Thereafter she became the go-to "manghuhula" of entertainment scribes for many annual predictions of the fate and fortune, the rise and downfall of stars and politicians.
Without doubt, Madam Auring embraced the aspects of showbiz life. At her height, she also became an actress, beauty endorser and in-demand guest in many shows.
Wittingly or unwittingly, she also made mistakes in her readings. Particularly unforgettable was her hilarious prediction on "TV Patrol" in 1994 that “Miss Valenzuela” will win that year’s Miss Universe edition in Manila. It was Miss India Sushmita Sen who won, while Miss Venezuela Minorka Mercado settled as second runner-up.
Madam Auring just laughed off the gaffe and merrily went on with other colorful episodes in her life, including her love life which was an open book in showbiz. She particularly enthralled the public at the
turn of the century about her accounts of her hot romance with '70s jukebox king Victor Wood. She also cashed in on many controversies about her youthful looks and tiffs with other celebrities
Still and all, Madam Auring’s persona was showbiz fodder. But her foibles aside, she also bared her humanity and compassion in private. In the long time I covered her, I remember her as a protective mother to her family. Even in the twilight of her life, she continued to manage her boutique and still read cards on the side in her shop along Congressional Road, Quezon City.
Several times, away from the noise of showbiz, she told us that her reason for working and living is family, which she successfully shielded from the prying eyes of the public. One of her most memorable anecdotes was how she never forgot to tuck her kids in bed and pray at their bedside for their well being.
No lady like Madam Auring, she will be missed.