At Large

‘Feng shui’ and art

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If you’re in a small group lunching with “feng shui” specialist Dr. Andy Tan, you may find out his predictions for the outcome of this year’s senatorial race, his outlook for the Year of the Water Snake (which, in the Chinese calendar, begins on Feb. 10), his work in clearing Malacañang of bad vibes and otherworldly visitors, and how he applies “defensive feng shui” for building owners whose rivals and neighbors have intentionally targeted their property.

But all these fascinating stories—and the names and locations that go with them—must remain “off the record,” especially since he’s lunching with a group of voluble media women.

His “on the record” advice, especially on how to use the principles of geomancy to enhance one’s luck and fortune at home and in the workplace, may be had on Feb. 7 at the LRI Design Plaza on Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air, Makati. Open to the public, the session with Tan will feature his own prospects and predictions for 2013 as well as practical “feng shui” applications for home and office interiors.

Tan comes by his title legitimately, being a medical technology and medicine graduate of UST, and his advice is sometimes peppered with medical and scientific insights. But he came by his interest in and knowledge of the esoteric world “naturally,” stemming from a childhood fascination with the occult and his readings and studies, as well as his association with occult researcher and writer (and Inquirer columnist) Jimmy Licauco.

His personal advocacy, he says, is “to share esoteric knowledge in a scientific manner, allowing [him] to help and educate the people on the proper application of ‘feng shui’ while also avoiding commercialism.”

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HE MAY wish to “avoid commercialism,” but Tan is making a pretty penny with his many consultations and long-term associations with real estate developers, contractors, homeowners and anyone who believes in aligning the physical world with the unseen but palpable “other” world.

So firm is his belief in the need to keep the seen and unseen in perfect sync that Tan admits to timing even the birth of his teenage son. “My wife was on the operating table and the doctor was getting ready to cut her open, but I asked them to delay the birth by about four minutes, because that was the most auspicious time,” he says.

One piece of advice he is willing to share: Don’t put a mirror or any reflective object (like a TV set) in front of (or less than a meter away from) your bed. “This is why in many hotels, the TV set is kept inside a cabinet where you can close the doors.”

This is because a mirror or reflective surface can serve as a “portal” where evil spirits or otherworldly beings can cross over and even possess the humans inside the room, Tan says. One solution: “Keep the TV turned on, even with the sound off,” which cuts out the appliance’s reflective quality, while you’re sleeping and thus unable to combat the malignant influences which may be surrounding you.

So, aside from providing the latest and most fashionable home items in its more than 30 design houses, LRI Design Plaza provides customers at the start of the Chinese New Year tips on transforming physical spaces into lucky spaces as well, helping you, so its blurbs declare, “define yourself by designing your space.”

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ALSO at the LRI Design Plaza, opening tomorrow, is “Hiyas ng Lahi,” an exhibit of paintings by Remy Boquiren at the LRI Art Room on the complex’s second floor.

Other artists have also featured Filipino women in what is becoming a school or genre of painting here, with the women often engaged in activities that highlight the pastoral and serene countryside. But what distinguishes Boquiren’s portraits, at least from what I’ve seen from photos of her works are the gentle, doe-eyed demeanors of her subjects, who are, in the words of a reviewer, “fetching jars of water or stringing sampaguita flower garlands. Or harvesting rice and gathering them into bundles against settings.”

Surprisingly, Boquiren uses no live models, for, as she explains, “the Filipina in her paintings spring forth from her mind and seamlessly comes alive on her canvases with glowing faces, light coming from the heart.”

Not so surprisingly, Boquiren’s works have gained quite a following. Already, even before the exhibit’s opening, about half of the pieces have been bought by collectors. Boquiren’s works will stay at the LRI Art Pavilion until Jan. 27, and at the Mandy Navasero Studio cum gallery also at LRI on Jan. 28-Feb. 4.

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THE other weekend, friends and regular clients of Sonya’s Garden restaurant and bed-and-breakfast, were treated to an evening of gracious piano music amid a garden of earthly and otherworldly delights, the cool weather of Tagaytay, and a dinner of Sonya’s staples.

The piano concert featured artists Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Reynaldo Reyes who, since 2001, have been holding twice-a-year public concerts not just to regale and soothe audiences but also to provide music exposure and education to a wider public.

In fact, said Santamaria, the day after their Sonya’s Garden performance, they were scheduled to perform at “Concert at the Park” in Luneta, where for decades the public has been treated to performances for free.

Performing Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto No. 1” and Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto No. 2,” the pair followed up the performance with an open forum (conducted by Reyes, who is a professor at the College of Music in Towson University in Maryland) that helped the audience better understand the music they just heard and the life of the artists who had poured themselves into their art.

In all, a most entertaining, comforting evening.

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