I remember Joseph Chau of Mandarin Oriental, whom I met sometime in 2001 or 2002 while making pahula in the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel in Malate (he was a devotee of Aling Puring Alvior then), telling me that Sulpicio Lines was one of those transport businesses which had their logo redesigned to ward off the bad luck that seemed to be hounding them.
By then, Sulpicio Lines had already figured in three major maritime disasters — the sinking of M/V Doña Paz in 1987 (death toll: 4,000); M/V Doña Marilyn in 1988 (death toll: 77); and M/V Princess of the Orient in 1998 (death toll: 70, and 88 still missing).
I am no longer sure if it was Joseph who redesigned Sulpicio Lines' logo or it was someone else (his Mandarin O. predecessor perhaps the late Paul Lau?) but by the time I met Joseph, the shipping line was already sporting the new logo using the more modern yellow-green "S" enclosed in a circle with a yellow background looking like the sun. (Sorry I can no longer find the old logo online.)
The new logo seems to have worked for Sulpicio Lines as it didn't figure out in any more disasters since its M/V Princess of the Orient sank near Fortune Island in Batangas in 1998. Then last week, or 10 years after its last mishap, it's M/V Princess of the Star sank off Romblon amid stormy weather. (As of June 27, newspapers reported 124 confirmed dead and 56 surivors. The ship was carrying 862 passengers.)
Which goes to show, that no matter how much you believe in geomancy, human error and frailty will negate every positive vibe the feng shui was supposed to have engedered. (Then again I find it queer that Sulpicio Lines' luck seems to run out every 10 years or so...hmmm.)
WELL, well, what's this I hear? Another transport company just had their offices blessed and feng shui'ed last Wednesday, June 25, 2008.
According to my sources, Asian Spirit had a feng shui ceremony that day, which coincidentally, was the day the airline committed to pay the premium it owed its insurer, Prudential Guarantee. One of the quirky things that happened was during the blessing ceremony, all women who gave birth this year were told to leave the offices, as they are considered unlucky I suppose.
You would expect that all things would have gone well for Asian Spirit from then on. (If you recall, the airline had seriously jeopardized its passengers who flew on its planes from June 19-23, 2008, because the carrier had no insurance. See my earlier blog entries.)
Sorry to disappoint you feng shui believers out there. Because by the end of the day, AIG London, Prudential Guarantee's reinsurer, sent the airline a Notice of Cancellation of its insurance policy after...gasp! missing the deadline to pay Prudential! Ay anovayan Ambassador Yao!
Of course, by next morning, June 26, Prudential Guarantee was paid. Pero sa true lang, ano pa ang silbi ng feng shui kung inefficient naman ang management ng airline na ito? To think nag-PR pa sila saying they were mounting "mercy flights" to Kalibo, Aklan, and San Jose, Antique, ferrying relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Frank. Tsk, tsk. Bilib na sana ako pero...wa din.
Attention Director Carmelo Arcilla of the Civil Aeronautics Board...hoy gising!