Happy New Year! For those who had a brilliant 2017, I only wish for more continued success and endless lucky days in the year ahead. For those who have been challenged a bit more this year, may 2018 be the start of more auspicious luck, good fortune and improved health.

What’s in store for us in the Year of the Earth Dog? From February 16, 2018 until February 4, 2019, the Earth Dog will take over as the ruling animal of the Chinese zodiac. For feng shui followers, the changing of the lunar year brings different opportunities and certain challenges for each animal sign. Understandably, many people look forward to the luck forecasts for their respective birth signs as they go through another year.

To guide us in maximizing the positive energies and deflecting the negative ones indicated in each animal chart, Feng Shui Master Marites Allen has written and released her much awaited Feng Shui Almanac, Feng Shui Planner and 12 horoscope books for 2018, in partnership with ABS-CBN Publishing. She shared a sneak preview into the luck readings for each astrological sign:

• RAT: Long-term benefits expected but need to be wary of the misfortune star.
• OX: Pleasant news related to promotion or further career development.
• TIGER: A reasonably good year, but must control temper and avoid confrontations.
• RABBIT: Monetary gains from last year may be extended to this year.
• DRAGON: Take it easy and make sure to implement a calculated risk for anything that you do in 2018.
• SNAKE: There will be more chances for your upward achievements.
• HORSE: A very rewarding year especially in the love department.
• SHEEP: You may have to redouble your efforts to achieve whatever goals you wanted.
• MONKEY: Many positive events to look forward to.
• ROOSTER: Do not be too busy that you neglect your personal health.
• DOG: New beginnings are in the horizon and income growing in 2018 is very possible.
• BOAR: A great start for a new year; however, betrayal may be in the horizon.

Each book provides monthly readings for one’s career, business, health, and relationships. There are also feng shui suggestions for the home, auspicious fashion and accessories, guide to the lucky and unlucky house orientations for each month, and many more useful tips. The books are now available at National Book Store and all Frigga Charmed Life boutiques, as well as online at frigga.co.uk, wealthluck.com, lazada.com.ph and o-shopping.com.

Marites is also hosting the 13th Annual Feng Shui Extravaganza on January 6, 2018 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Marco Polo Ortigas, 1600 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. The Extravaganza will help attendees navigate the Earth Dog year, with actual tools to attract good fortune for the New Year. Reserve seats by calling tel. 0920-950-9390 or sending an email to ilovefrigga@gmail.com or maritesallenevents@gmail.com.

Of course, nothing beats hard work no matter what your feng shui states, as my hubby Dennis always likes to say. Another hard working friend is Jun Parreno, COO of The Discovery Leisure Company. Jun has truly been the driving force behind the success of all the different properties. His attention to every detail is clearly seen in his tireless efforts to make the resorts world class.

The Discovery Leisure Company recently announced that two of their resorts have won amazing awards for this year, triumphs that would not have been possible without the enduring patronage of their guests. Discovery Shores Boracay and Discovery Primea Makati recently bagged awards from the coveted Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2018. Locally, Discovery Shores Boracay was voted as the Favorite Beach Resort Hotel in The Choice 2017, making its tenth anniversary a truly remarkable one.

Club Paradise Palawan, Discovery’s other stunning resort, also won its share of awards, like the 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards as Continent Winner – Luxury Private Island Resort and the 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards as Country Winner – Luxury Family Beach Resort.

John Tiu, president of The Discovery Leisure Company, told me how proud he was to win all these awards, considering their company is a homegrown hospitality group. He expressed his sincere gratitude to all their guests and partners who have always supported their resorts. John also noted the amazing men and women behind Discovery, who relentlessly work as one family and deliver thoughtful “Service That’s All Heart.” Check out Discovery Shores Boracay at discoveryshoresboracay.com and Club Paradise Palawan at clubparadisepalawan.com.

This is my final column for 2017, so I’d like to end it on a sweet note. An exclusive, six-course menu dinner at The Peninsula Manila’s Old Manila used chocolate as the key ingredient for a fundraiser that benefited cacao farmers in Davao. With Michelin training and shared culinary star power to back them up and chocolate stouts and fine wines to match, The 8 Hands Auro Chocolate-inspired Benefit Dinner highlighted four outstanding chefs, The Peninsula Manila Old Manila Chef de Cuisine Allan Briones, Chef Josh Boutwood of The Test Kitchen, Chef Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask and The Pen’s Executive Pastry Chef Xavier Castello.

Auro Chocolate, owned by young entrepreneurs Kelly Go and Mark Ocampo, was the key ingredient used throughout the menu. The Beyond Bean-to-Bar: Chocolate-Inspired Dinner gave guests the opportunity to adopt organically grown Theobroma cacao Crillo variety trees in Davao and help a small community of retired marines that has traded in their arms to farm cacao trees.

It’s all a great way to say goodbye to 2017 and look forward to an auspicious 2018.

New Year greetings to all! Dennis Valdes, Oliver Gallego, Tyrone Valdes, Andrew and Myda Prieto, Audrey Prieto, Andrew Tarvis, Mitteo Prieto, Sea Princess, Anatori Prieto, Alexi Tarvis, Annika Valdes and Athena Valdes

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