11 agosto 2010

Predictions about Miss Universe, etc.

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Psychic Maricel Gaskell says Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Maria Venus Raj has a huge chance of winning Miss Universe – Photo by VER PAULINO

Members of Christian movements and even those from Catholic Charismatic groups have long warned me that it is a sin to consult and believe in fortune-tellers. During the first quarter of this year, in fact, I had been prayed over by a religious group — upon my request — so that I’d totally distance myself from seers and banish any feng shui belief in my head.

No, I was never addicted to having my fortunes told. In my profession, however, psychics are all over and they give me free readings without my even seeking them out. Like most other Filipino Catholics, I just tell myself that you don’t lose anything anyway — especially in my case because I get these services free. Most psychics are also very decent people and I’ve made friends with some of them.

Early this year, Startalk invited psychic Maricel Gaskell to do a forecast on local movie stars live in the GMA studio. After the segment, we exchanged numbers and I asked her to make a similar list for this column. We had been friends since, except that after that pray over with the religious community, I distanced myself from her to avoid the temptation of running to her every time my morale is low and decided to turn to prayers instead for solutions to personal problems. But there was no bad blood between us.

A one-time actress/model and cover girl, Maricel is very pretty and charming. I find her to be a very good person, too.

Last Sunday, I got this text from her: “I saw pictures of Venus Raj. I don’t know, but I am positive, she has a huge chance of winning.” The controversial beauty queen is now in Las Vegas competing in the Miss Universe pageant to be held on Aug. 23.

I got torn between religious conviction and my journalistic nose. Do I ignore this prediction? What if Venus really makes it?

I waited several hours before making a move. Again, I thought — I had nothing to lose. By mid-evening, I was already on the phone with Maricel. I warned her that this could be another Madame Auring/Miss Valenzuela booboo for her.

To do a review of the past: In 1994, Madame Auring predicted in TV Patrol that Miss Valenzuela was going to win the Miss Universe title during the pageant held here in Manila. Of course, there was no Miss Valenzuela in the running. There was a Miss Venezuela, Minorka Mercado, and she only placed third.

Twenty years prior to that — when the Miss Universe competition was first held in this country — Madame Auring had insisted that she predicted the win of Spain’s Amparo Muñoz in the pageant, except that there was no concrete proof of that — no newspaper clipping of her forecast pointing to the victory of the Castilian beauty before the coronation day at the Folk Arts Theater. Madame Auring also claimed that she had earlier seen in her vision Muhammad Ali beating George Foreman during the Thrilla in Manila at the Araneta Coliseum in 1975. That one was easy. A lot of people I know made a quick buck betting on Muhammad Ali that time — without listening to any fortune-teller’s prediction.

But going back to Ms. Gaskell, I reminded her that she was risking her name and reputation once this article sees print. She said that was okay.

So how did she get those positive vibes concerning Venus?

According to Maricel, last Sunday morning, she was at the Dome in Podium waiting for a friend. To while the time away, she got newspapers from the magazine rack and chose to read The Philippine Star. When she saw the photos of Venus in Conversations With Ricky Lo, she had goose bumps and had this strong feeling that Venus would bring home the crown.

During our talk on the phone, Maricel continued reading Venus’ fortune based on the beauty queen’s birth date (July 7, 1988). Ms. Gaskell says that according to the cards, Venus is “destined to win.”

But — and here is the big BUT — there could be an obstacle to her winning the title. And what could that be?

Maricel claims that there could be a possibility that the organizers would get turned off with her. Pressed to explain how this could happen to Venus, the psychic says that during the pageant Ms. Raj may act too overconfident — bordering on arrogance.

No, Ms. Gaskell insists that this is not just some safety net she is using just in case her forecast doesn’t come true. “Venus is an earth dragon (her birth sign) and that trait can work against her,” warns Maricel.

This is how Maricel sums up Venus’ fortune in the Miss Universe contest: “The dragon is the friend of the tiger. Venus is a dragon and this is the year of the tiger. Dragons are lucky this year and they will be rewarded for a courageous act. But they should guard against arrogance and their penchant for enjoying the limelight too much — or they will have cause to regret their boastfulness.”

Maricel also advises Venus to avoid wearing blue during the competition and stick to metal colors, white, black, grey or even orange or red.

I have no way of getting in touch with Venus, but if those tips could help, why not have these pieces of advice forwarded to her? To begin with, telling somebody to stay humble at all times is always sound advice.

The truth is, Venus winning another Miss Universe crown for the Philippines will not exactly change the present state of the country (that is President Noynoy’s job). But I’ve personally seen her struggles after she almost lost the right to compete in the Miss Universe contest. It will be sweet victory for her if ever.

The prediction of Maricel Gaskell may come true or not. She is not infallible after all since she isn’t God — and she had never professed to be, in due fairness to her. Venus is also said to be topping on-line polls — and so expect a whole bunch of beauty contest watchers who will also say they predicted Venus winning Miss Universe if she makes it.

At this point, I only wish Venus Raj all the best. I want to see her wear the Miss Universe crown or at least be a finalist if only for the fact that I believe she should be compensated for all the pains and heartaches she went through in life — even with the supposedly simple process of getting herself a passport.

STAR BYTES By Butch Francisco (The Philippine Star) Updated August 10, 2010 12:00 AM


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