(Published in The Philippine Star, February 8, 2013)
MANILA, Philippines – In 2004, while vacationing with her husband in Hawaii, Marites Allen found out that Lillian Too, the world-renowned feng shui master and author, was conducting her Annual Feng Shui Extravaganza in the same hotel they were staying.
Having read about and being fascinated with Lillian’s work, Allen wasted no time and paid a small fortune to attend the convention. She also ended up buying a hoard of feng shui items for which she needed a new suitcase. Her husband Nick, a British-born international consultant, quipped that with her purchases, she could start her own shop back in Manila.
What was spoken in jest turned out to be prophetic.
Before that year ended, Marites attended Lillian’s Master Practitioner Course in Malaysia and soon after opened the first World of Feng Shui franchise in Manila. Looking back at those start-up days, she muses that she was merely fulfilling a simple wish.
“I only wanted to have my own business that would complement my role as wife of a busy international executive and mother of four young children.”
Eight years later, she has six more boutique franchises all over Metro Manila. She has written her own books, guested in many radio and television shows, written for various publications, and even hosted her own television program. She was responsible for bringing in Lillian Too to the Philippines for the first time in 2005 and has been hosting the Annual Feng Shui Updates since then.
Allen’s client base now reads like a who’s who in Philippine business, politics, and entertainment. Allen disclosed, however, that one of the wishes she wrote during her wish-fulfilling balloon ceremony at the opening of her first boutique in 2004 was to have several more boutiques in the future… and yes, this has happened!
Fame and fortune may have been incidental but Marites was ready and embraced them with open arms when they came. “You’re lucky if you are at the right time and the right place, but what you do when such an opportunity comes is what holds the key to success,” she says.
But luck is not everything, clearly. Armed with a business education from a top Manila university, she enhanced her product knowledge through years of training and mentorship with noted masters from Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China. She is also an active member of the prestigious Feng Shui Societies of London, Singapore and the World of Feng Shui Malaysia. Lady Luck works long hours, which sometimes drives her staff crazy. Yet, when Marites puts on the charm, everyone knows it is her natural gift of persuasion and not any of her feng shui enhancers at work.
“I always remind my team that we are in a business where we make a difference in someone else’s life and it is always important that we treat each and every client with the utmost care and respect at all times.”
More than clients
In over a decade of feng shui practice, Marites has provided advice to hundreds of enthusiasts from diverse economic and social backgrounds. Through the years, many of them have become not just clients but more like friends to Marites, as they continue to share mostly positive feedback on their feng shui experiences. Some of these testimonials may be viewed at www.maritesallen.com.
A recent one is from a former government official who has been consulting with Marites since they met at a birthday party of a respected business icon. He had been trying to have a kidney transplant, but because of his health condition, the precise requirements of the treatment, plus the need to synchronize the schedules of the assigned team composed of medical practitioners from different countries, his impending surgery had dragged on for years. He would approve a date only if Marites said it was a good date for the procedure.
Although he was considered the “most studied patient” in the hospital where the surgery was done, he was given a 50-50 chance of survival, which was considered optimistic. The surgery was finally done in September last year despite all odds. He remembers that he was lying flat and cold for the first three days after the procedure and had to be revived on the third day because of some complications. As far as the lead surgeon was concerned, the successful operation was a miracle. Things started humming shortly after that and today the patient walks with hardly any assistance. Former Human Settlements Deputy Minister Jose Conrado Benitez now feels like a man reborn. He gives due credit to the medical team for its superb medical care “over and above the statistical norm,” and for graciously accommodating the additional input from Marites Allen. “It was probably Marites’s day, because had it been any other day I think I would have been gone.”
How does Marites take all the glowing tributes? “I won’t hide my satisfaction with whatever I have accomplished in almost 10 years of bringing in the wonders of feng shui into this country. I find all the positive feedback heartwarming. I have nothing more to ask for. I’ve been so blessed and I can say I’m okay to move on to another phase.”
Despite a heavy schedule imposed by the coming Chinese New Year, Marites finds time to talk about her latest ventures. Last year, which was an auspicious period for her to start a new business, Marites opened Fame, a first-of-its-kind hair care and styling salon at the second floor of F1 Building in Bonifacio Global City (467-2195, 478-6378).
“Think of it as a place for personalized makeovers using feng shui principles. Many people don’t realize that depending on our date of birth, we all have our lucky or unlucky shapes, shades or colors.” She goes on to say that changing one’s hairstyle can help that person become wealthier, healthier or luckier in love. A special feng shui chart will tell you if you should have long and straight hair or a rounded and soft style to improve your chances at romance. The styles could change if you’d rather focus on having more wealth opportunities or enjoy better health. “Fame salon encourages people to discover the elements that work for them, not only to make them prettier but also to bring them good fortune.” Aside from personalized haircare, Fame also offers nailcare, make-up and other beauty services.
And then there’s Frigga, her new line of luck-enhancing fashion for men and women. The brand is owned by the House of Allen in the UK and registered in the European Union. Frigga’s fabric designer is from Paris and was one of the winners of the textile prints in the UK last 2012. Working with Marites is a team of fashion experts and consultants who follow the latest trends reported by WGSN, the world’s leading fashion forecaster.
Inspired by the Norse goddess of prophecy, Frigga symbolizes the modern woman who is in control of her life. “The basic philosophy behind Frigga is that fashion should not only be functional or decorative but more importantly, empowering. That’s what power dressing is all about. If our goals are clear to us, we can affirm them through our fashion choices. And Frigga can help by providing the right combination of colors, patterns, fabrics and styles to attract good energies.”
Within six months after its successful launch in August 2012, Frigga is now serving orders in the Philippines, Singapore, UK, Japan and Belgium. Inquiries are pouring in from different parts of the world including Alaska. “Right after our Jan. 19 Annual Feng Shui Convention, a client put in orders for 6,000 pieces of two Frigga designs. I was overwhelmed because we were only doing specialized pieces, but this is a positive sign — a welcome challenge, really.”
Marites stresses that her clothing line has something for people with different aspirations, including wealth and income opportunities, health and longevity, love and romance luck, fame and authority, and career advancement. Visit www.frigga.co.uk for available designs or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
Because of numerous requests for feng shui-related information from followers, Marites deemed it timely to come up with a proper solution. In the works are mobile apps that will deliver the most requested information such as daily horoscope readings; lucky days to open a business, get married, or move houses; auspicious and inauspicious hours for each day; compatibilities among different zodiac signs; and suggested luck enhancers for different purposes, among other possibilities.
These fun and lucky ways to use feng shui daily will be available sooner than you think. Get those tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices ready.
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Marites Allen’s Chinese New Year forecast event will be at SM North EDSA today, 5 p.m.; SM Mall of Asia on Feb. 9, 4 p.m.; SM Megamall, Feb. 10, 1 p.m. Call 442-0113, 556-0615, 0920-9509390. Join Allen for an auspicious dinner get-together at F1 Hotel, 32nd St., Bonifacio Global City on Feb. 9, 7 p.m. Seats are limited. For inquiries, call 929-9888, 478-6378. You may also follow Allen’s updates on her Facebook fan page or Twitter: Marites Allen.
World of Feng Shui branches are at Glorietta 4 (818-8858), SM North EDSA (442-0113), SM Mall of Asia (556-0615), Serendra Piazza (659-2405), SM Mega Mall (470-7661), and Cash and Carry (736 0512)