MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2012 (STARweek) By JVM Franciso - Strike up the band, get the dragon dance rolling and start the revelry. The Water Dragon has finally returned!

It is for good reason that astrologers have been waiting for the Year of the Water Dragon with much anticipation. This year’s element, Water, is in harmony with the Dragon’s fixed element, Wood, nourishing it and allowing it to bring countless opportunities for growth and expansion. For the past 17 years, the fixed elements of the animal signs have clashed with the years’ elements, thereby bringing destructive consequences. We can now relax and enjoy the benefits of an exciting, fortune-clad year that will bring luck to most of us.

The Dragon is the symbol of power and good fortune in Chinese astrology. Unlike the other earthly animal signs, it is the only mythical animal and its zodiac sign is considered special. It is a known fact that many Chinese couples all over the world time the birth of their children to coincide with the Year of the Dragon. Characterized as vibrant, dynamic, colorful and flamboyant, these Dragon features will therefore figure prominently in our lives this year. We can expect 2012 to be no ordinary year. It will be an exciting and action-driven period marked by major initiatives and progress.

General Prospects for 2012

The Year of the Dragon is known to bring the Four Blessings of the East – wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. Opportunities will abound throughout the year and they must be seized as they come. As the Chinese say, “Better do it than miss it.”

But together with the grand developments and events that we expect this year, there will also be major crashes and failures for those who do not augur well with the elements. During the past Dragon years, we saw major global, political and scientific events take place. In 1952, young Queen Elizabeth ascended to the British throne and this year marks her 60th year as head of the United Kingdom. In the same year the United States introduced two of the most destructive weapons in history – the hydrogen bomb and the B-52 bomber.

It was also during Dragon years that Abdul Nasser took power in Egypt by overthrowing the monarchy, Nikita Khrushchev of Russia was ousted and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev, and Harold Wilson stunned England by his sudden resignation. The Polish Solidarity movement which began in the year of the Dragon inspired the quest for democracy in Eastern Europe. In the area of medicine, penicillin was invented and introduced for the first time and the first successful separation of Siamese twins took place at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Ohio.

2012 is expected to be no different from other Dragon years in terms of the magnitude of developments and events. In the world of politics, we will see the emergence of new leaders who will inspire change. They will come into power through radical means or through elections that will be marred by controversies. National leaders will continue to focus on improving the economy and spearheading moral transformation.

We also expect many civic organizations to be more vigilant and come to the front with their advocacies for human rights, the environment and national identity. People power will continue to wield its influence in world affairs, some leading to political change, others leading to major policy decisions.

In business, there will be brisk developments with plenty of opportunities for growth. Major economic incentives will be launched to stimulate investments and industries. Favorable areas for growth this year are agriculture, real estate, building and infrastructure development, transportation, creative industry and information communication technology. As a general practice, starting a new business will be favorable during the Year of the Water Dragon.

The field of science will also see some exciting inventions and discoveries. Astronomers and scientists will be thrilled by a major discovery in the Milky Way that will revolutionize our perception of the universe. However, we will not be spared by major natural catastrophes that have characterized other Dragon years. Some parts of the world will be devastated by major earthquakes, extreme flooding and volcanic eruptions.

On a more positive note, the Year of the Water Dragon will augur well for creative expression. In the arts, the fields of music, fashion and film will lead in the production of ground-breaking and cutting edge works that will leave a mark in the arts scene. In the Philippines, independent films will begin to enjoy greater public recognition and box office returns.

In general, the Year of the Dragon will be an exciting year, particularly during the second quarter of the year. It will be off to a rough and stormy start during its first month, revving up for a fast-paced and memorable year. Under the influence of the Dragon, 2012 will be a yang year. Yang water is flowing rather than stagnant, so expect our lives to flow with the energy of the Dragon. Ideas will abound, creativity flourish, economies grow and communities celebrate. So hang on to your dreams. This year might yet give you the opportunity to see them come true.

The person born in the year of the Rat is hardworking and thrifty. He rarely lets an opportunity pass and is constantly involved in many plans and schemes. Charming, intelligent and sociable, he is easy to get along with and enjoys parties and social gatherings. He cherishes friends, associates and family relations and often gets enmeshed in people’s lives and affairs.

The Rat usually comes out of the water dry, so he is easily adaptable to a constantly changing environment. 2012 will therefore be a happy and successful year for you. Almost all aspects of your life will be favorable but most particularly your career. Rats involved in business or arts and culture will see the most favorable results. The year will begin a bit roughly but the second quarter should be smooth sailing. You must respond to any concern immediately and old problems must be resolved during the first two months otherwise it will be difficult to move forward. Business expansion, new partnerships or ventures will be most favorable during the second half of the year. For Rats seeking work, this is not the time to hold back. Job openings that interest you must be grabbed at once.

As a result of your professional success, you will see your financial situation steadily improve. It will be wise to start a pension policy and pay up any lingering debt. Save some money as well because there will be exciting travel opportunities that will suddenly come your way. Grab the chance, whether work-related or for vacation, and you will find the trip most pleasurable.

The Rat places great importance on family life and 2012 will find him busy with new home improvement projects, family gatherings and social events. For single Rats, you will have to be on guard during the second half of the year as Cupid’s arrow could strike anytime. For those with partners, try not to neglect your loved ones despite your busy schedule during the first half of the year or it might lead to unwanted consequences. Someone close to you will bring some interesting news that could delight or startle you. Think twice before doing anything about it.

The Ox is an animal that symbolizes prosperity through determination and hard work. A person born under the Ox sign is therefore dependable, calm and methodical. He is a tireless worker and can be entrusted with positions of authority and responsibility. Strong-willed and persistent, he can sometimes exhibit bad temper.

The Year of the Dragon will be a variable year for Oxen. You generally like to proceed based on a well laid out plan so you will sometimes feel uncomfortable in constantly changing situations. Your plans will be realized but with great effort and perseverance. One positive thing this year – you will get the support of influential people.

At work, you will face new challenges during the first quarter of the year that will broaden your experience. This may seem daunting at first but with hard work, patience and willingness to be flexible, you will see good results during the second quarter. For Oxen seeking jobs for the first time or wanting to shift careers, March, May, August and November will see interesting prospects. Oxen who are in business will see good opportunities to start a new venture in March, April and June. Your income will improve this year but existing financial commitments will gradually mount. Plan out your expenditures well and avoid profligate spending. Pay close attention to correspondence and paperwork and keep your accounting up to date.

Oxen will experience busy and oftentimes pressured lifestyles in 2012. You will, however, find much-needed support from family members and friends so set aside some time for them. It will be good to do some regular recreational or sports activities, creative hobby or an educational pursuit. Single Oxen will meet a love prospect during the second quarter of the year. Do not jump into a commitment immediately and allow some time for the relationship to grow. As to your health, your hectic schedule may lead to some minor ailments. Avoid being irritable and show some restraint when dealing with problems. It is important to exercise and go on a healthy diet this year. Visit your doctor for a general check-up.

The Tiger symbolizes power, passion and daring. A Tiger therefore usually displays a rebellious, colorful and unpredictable character. He is a fearless and fiery fighter but on the other hand has a humanitarian and romantic streak in him. At his best, he is warm, sensitive and sympathetic; at his worst, he is obstinate, unreasonable and selfish.

For Tigers who had a challenging time in 2011, the Year of the Dragon will be a rewarding year. But your key words will have to be vigilance and compromise. The Dragon favors initiatives if carefully planned, so your creativity and enterprising nature can bring good results.

At work, your heavy load will continue but your successes will be rewarded and acknowledged better this time. You must always remember the saying “One soldier does not make a battle,” so it’s wise to consult, collaborate and organize things with your team. Tigers seeking jobs or planning to shift companies will find 2012 a difficult period but with patience and perseverance you can expect good results in the end. For those wanting to work abroad this is a good year to do so. Tiger entrepreneurs will find the months of March, April and May lucky months to start a new venture or expand your business. Some Tigers might find their business partners becoming difficult to deal with. If you’ve been contemplating about it, now is a good time to go solo.

As a result of your success at work, your income will generally improve. But you need to be cautious with big transactions during the 3rd quarter of the year. Study them carefully and think twice before making new investments. Your social life will be quite active and exciting but you need to keep a good balance between work and social activities.

At home there will be some tensions with your partner during the middle of the year. Keep communication lines open and resolve the issue as soon as possible. Single Tigers will encounter a love prospect during the second or last quarter of the year. There will also be an exciting travel opportunity to a destination you’ve not visited before.

To the Chinese, the Rabbit symbolizes graciousness, good manners, sound counsel, kindness and sensitivity to beauty. The Rabbit is a witty and intelligent speaker and loves being involved in a good discussion. He is an efficient worker and has an extremely good memory.

2012 will be a busy but relatively happy year for Rabbits. It will be a year of birth or rebirth – a new family member perhaps, a new career, a new loved one or a new lifestyle. You will encounter fewer problems and achieve greater success in many aspects of your life. This is the right time to correct previous actions that led you somehow astray. One significant aspect of the Year of the Dragon – a powerful person will befriend you and will be helpful to you in the future.

Many Rabbits will choose to stay in their current professions. Your innate creativity and interest in innovation will push you forward in your work. However, this year will also be an opportune time for those wanting to pursue higher education or enter a new profession. Entrepreneurs will find good business opportunities in April, September, October and November. You’ll have to exert extra effort to improve your finances by always keeping your expenses in check. A Rabbit is never poor and can live comfortably with little income but nevertheless you will enjoy the support of Dragon friends.

However, your ambitions should not only be focused on earning a living but also on a strong motivation for change – your lifestyle, your style of management, dealing with people, etc. Your domestic life will be special this year and will find yourself central to your loved ones, providing the impetus to build a cohesive, strong and happy family. The first two months may be problematic as far as personal relations are concerned but you will enjoy the rest of the year with many family and social activities. Single Rabbits will meet someone special in October or November in a place you’ve never been to before. Pay close attention to your health particularly to what you eat.

The Dragon is born under the sign of good luck and will do well in practically anything he attempts. He is magnanimous, full of vitality and is constantly on the go. Proud and aristocratic, the Dragon possesses an assertive personality. He could be egotistical, eccentric, dogmatic, whimsical, terribly demanding or unreasonable, but is never without a band of admirers.

Dragons will be blessed with the positive energies of the sky and the earth this year. As such they will enjoy a busy and fulfilling year ahead with lots of projects and events. Yes, there will be problems along the way but with your innate wisdom, they will eventually be solved. The year will be particularly special for Water Dragons.

Your professional life will be satisfying and there will be career and business opportunities coming your way all throughout the year. The second quarter will be a turning point of your life when an important decision about your career or lifelong ambition will be made. With hard work and proper planning new ideas will evolve into successful undertakings. 2012 will also be a good time to make friends, establish new contacts and meet possible business partners. Dragon employees will have the chance for promotion and those involved in artistic and cultural work will enjoy the most success this year. Businessmen will encounter some difficulties with colleagues and partners but these challenges will provide you a new outlook and strengthen your character. The year will also bring satisfying results for those in education.

Because of your professional success, your financial situation will improve considerably. It will be wise to spend your disposable income on home improvement. Your social life will be quite active and put you in the center of things most of the time. However, there will be family concerns in November or December that you’ll have to sort out. Spend some quality time with your loved ones and friends. They’ll need your support this year. Single Dragons will enjoy a fateful encounter with someone special during the first quarter of the year. Put some effort in losing weight and keeping fit to allow you an active lifestyle in 2012.

The Snake is the deepest thinker and the most mysterious in the Chinese zodiac. He is endowed with an inborn wisdom and intelligence. He treasures his privacy and possesses a calm and placid nature. Graceful, soft-spoken but with a good sense of humor, he loves good books, food, music and theater.

The Year of the Dragon will be an important but difficult year for the Snake. You are not used to the razzmatazz that the Dragon usually brings but the difficulties that you will encounter will eventually be smoothened out through your natural wisdom. Your buzz words this year should be focus, discipline and care. The challenges of the next twelve months will be a good preparation for your year in 2013.

Favorable planetary positions will give you a good headstart during the first quarter of the year. The stars will favor business activity at this time so take full advantage of opportunities that will come your way. A significant business deal or negotiation will crop up during the second quarter. Snakes seeking work or planning on shifting professions will find May a good month to do so. The period of September to November will also bring good news, perhaps a new partnership or business expansion plans. Snakes involved in health therapy and creative work will be most successful this year. Your financial situation will only improve a little so avoid extravagant spending. Watch out for unscrupulous persons out to take advantage of your good nature and bankbook. Lending money is also not advisable at this time.

This year you will be blessed with extra charm and charisma so your personal life will be pleasurable and rewarding. You will enjoy many family and social gatherings and celebrations. But be wary of malicious gossip and intrigues. Do not be drawn to them or else there will be dire consequences. You will be revitalized by a new love relationship or a returning old flame in December and early January 2013. Married Snakes will receive delightful news from relatives during the last quarter of the year. The closing months will also bring an unexpected travel opportunity.

The Horse is cheerful, popular and quick-witted. He is very perceptive and loves to talk. He is quite physical and exudes raw sex appeal – the type who will fall in love easily and fall out of love just as easily. Impulsive and stubborn, he will want to have things done his way.

True to your nature, you will enjoy the events, celebrations and fanfare that the Dragon will bring but this will be a mixed year for you. Past troubles and problems are going to worry you and may lead to stress related ailments. Try to confront these problems once and for all and in the end you will experience a successful and rewarding year.

On the whole your work will be fruitful this year and quite a number of opportunities will arise – a promotion, change of career, chance for extra job or consultancy work. There will be difficulties at first but in the end you will enjoy the new challenge. Horses involved in arts and culture will achieve maximum success. As a result, your financial situation will improve considerably. Those in business will enjoy substantial profits during the second quarter of the year. However, you should avoid risky investments.

As to your personal life, you may initially feel lost and lacking direction but that situation will be temporary. You should endeavor to undertake positive activities – making new friends, learning new skills, engaging in creative hobbies, and going into spiritual pursuits. This year’s solid earth energies will be good for a new exercise regimen and healthy diet to relieve you of work stress.

If you’re planning to relocate house or settle abroad, plan it well. It is also advisable to pay close attention to how you communicate with your family, friends and colleagues and be attentive to their concerns. Otherwise, it might lead to unnecessary consequences. During the third quarter of 2012 you will be in a romantic mood and will have the chance to meet a new love interest. Couples will have a stable, happy time in 2012. A long wanted vacation could be good for refreshing personal relationships.

The Sheep is the most feminine sign in the Chinese zodiac. Known for his gentle and compassionate ways, he is considered the good Samaritan in the cycle. He is righteous, sincere and is easily affected by sob stories. Although he enjoys being with nature, the Sheep is usually a homebody.

The Year of the Dragon will be a hectic but inspiring year for the Sheep. You will have marginal gains in many aspects of your life. This will not be a time therefore to make drastic changes in your life. You will encounter some disputes along the way but there will be no major ones to worry about. You just need to remain calm and not allow your mistakes to turn into personal tragedies.

In your work, you’ll need to use your creative and innovative talent and ideas to succeed. March, May, September or October will be favorable for those seeking jobs or planning to shift careers. For businessmen and entrepreneurs, this is the year to adapt and take advantage of new systems, technologies and regulations in order to move forward. As to your financial situation, you’ll have modest gains. With mounting expenditures the Sheep will find it difficult to save. You’ll have to exercise restraint with your purse strings. If you’re planning on moving house or renovating your present domicile, do so with care as there will be the tendency to go over the budget.

Your social life will be active and oftentimes fun, particularly during the first few months of the year. You can even join a contest and surprisingly win. But you’ll need to be cautious about your relationship with your partner. Learn to give and take and avoid dominating the relationship. Chill out with your friends often and arrange a special holiday with your family. Single Sheep will be popular among the opposite sex this year. In July or August, the Star of Romance will appear on your horizon and bring you an exciting love interest. Overall, your personal life in 2012 should focus on nature and spirituality. You can even join interest groups for these advocacies.

The Monkey has the closest affinity to man and therefore inherits most of his intelligence. He is quick-witted, clever and innovative, and can solve intricate problems with ease. The Monkey is innately warm, natural and spontaneous. He exudes self-confidence and has an enviable joie de vivre.

You can now relax because this is going to be a good year for the Monkey. The Year of the Dragon will be a progressive one in practically all aspects of your life. 2012 is especially lucky for gaining knowledge, expertise and experience. It is therefore advisable for you to learn something new for this will be beneficial to you in the years to come.

You will enjoy a productive year in your workplace and will see your current status rise within your company or organization. Even finding solutions to problems will give you the chance to show your talent and expertise. 2012 can also be the right time to train in a new aspect of your profession or even for a new career. September and October are good months to launch a new project or start a business. You will also be blessed with a favorable financial situation, but it is advisable to spend only on regular living expenses and settling previous debts. The rest of your income should go to savings. The Year of the Dragon is not a good time for Monkeys to lend, invest or speculate but do set aside some amount for charity.

Monkeys will have a busy and enjoyable social and family life. You will be the focal point of many family activities this year, organizing celebrations and important milestones. Romantic relationships may feel like a burden to you, so it is wise to be patient and keep communication lines open. But for those seeking permanent liaisons, the second quarter is a lucky time to propose marriage. For single Monkeys, romance will appear unexpectedly towards the end of the year, perhaps meeting someone special in a social gathering. For those who have definite plans of moving to another area, 2012 will be a favorable time to do so.

The Rooster is the most misunderstood of all the animal signs. Outwardly, he exhibits self-assurance and aggression; but at heart, he could be conservative and old-fashioned. Rooster men are usually attractive, even dashingly handsome. On the whole, the Rooster is sharp, neat, precise, organized, decisive, and is good at handling money. He loves to budget everything he could lay his hands on.

Time to celebrate! After a challenging 2011, this is going to be a very good and prosperous year for you. You will have the power to shape your own destiny and surmount past problems and burdens as well as deal with your current challenges with panache.

The Year of the Dragon will be one of professional triumph for you. If you’re part of a company or organization, you will be able to demonstrate to your superiors that you are able to perform complex tasks and deal with difficult situations. As a consequence there will be good opportunities for promotion. But in order to succeed, your key word this year is teamwork. The second quarter is good for business and you will encounter promising opportunities. The third quarter is favorable for making new investments or getting business loans. However, entrepreneurs should avoid starting a new business within the period of September to November. Those seeking work will find March to May abound with job opportunities.

As a result of your professional success, your personal finances will improve considerably. Now is the time to settle old loans or finance a long-standing domestic project. However, your personal relations will not be as smooth sailing compared to the other facets of your life. Misunderstandings with your loved ones may arise. Try to be patient and flexible with your romantic relationships. A major vacation with your family or friends will be good for your well-being and relations. You will celebrate a birth or marriage in the family. Cupid will shoot many arrows in the single Rooster’s direction during the months of April, July, August and December. As to your health, be careful of stress-related ailments. Visit your doctor for that much-needed general check up early in the year.

The Dog is honest, genuine, loyal, sincere and respects law and order – qualities of an ideal citizen of the country! He is not materialistic and possesses humanitarian instincts. He is the type who will lay down his life for a friend or relative. However, he can suffer bouts of melancholy or when the situation calls for it, show flashes of temper.

2012 will be a difficult year for you. The Dragon does not jive well with the Dog so you will have to work hard to maintain the gains of previous years. People may seem uncooperative and competitive and may take advantage of your weak position. Do not act independently but rather join forces with others in your workplace or with friends. The favorable position of the stars during the last months of the year will bring welcome news.

Your professional work will achieve modest gains this year. During the second quarter of the year you should watch out for misunderstandings with colleagues as these may lead to protracted conflicts. If you’re in business, arts or social work, it is crucial to work with your team. Entrepreneurs planning to start a new business venture should plan and organize it well. October and November will be a good time to launch this business. The last quarter of the year will present good opportunities for those seeking new jobs. Your financial condition will improve but you need to postpone major purchases or risky financial transactions and save for any emergency that may come during the year.

Your personal life will be busy and sometimes stressful. Rely on your partner or friends for support. Spend quality time with them and this will give you much needed relaxation. You have to be careful of minor ailments, particularly infectious diseases, during the latter part of the year. As to your romantic life, unattached Dogs will have an easy time finding new love interests this year particularly in April, May and July. However these will be fleeting relationships. A new friendship will come your way during the last quarter of the year. This person will play an important role in your life. Nurture this relationship.

The Pig is the most easy-going and laid-back of all the signs. Cheerful, friendly and overflowing with good intentions, he does not bear grudges. He is the connoisseur of the Chinese zodiac and thus enjoys good food and has a healthy appetite. Despite lacking strong ambitions, he is hardworking and is generally successful in life.

2012 will be relatively smooth and moderately successful for Pigs. You may not be comfortable with all the events and activities happening around you but you’ll need to be adaptable and alert in order to succeed. Your ability to get along well with people will win you the support of powerful people. On the whole this will be an auspicious year for material prosperity.

Your career will have substantial gains this year. With hard work and creativity you will win the recognition and respect of superiors and co-workers. However, you need to be alert for changes in your work environment and learn to adapt to these changes. For entrepreneurs, all financial deals that are risky should be postponed or studied well before proceeding. Those in big business should rely on corporate partnership to prevent a potential external takeover. During the third quarter, you will be pleased to find an additional source of income. It is also a good period for business expansion. 2012 will find you financially successful and you could save a lot for your future. Avoid undertaking large personal financial transactions during the first quarter. They will be too risky and better postponed to later in the year. You also need to watch out for a potential fraud or scam that will come your way from June to August.

You family life will be smooth with a few minor bumps along the way. Pigs in a romantic relationship should seriously consider tying the knot this year. For those whose relationship has gone sour for quite a while, it is best to end the bond early in the year. You’ll have a memorable romantic encounter in March, April or May that could lead to a life-long partnership. You have to be watchful of your personal belongings as there is a danger of some losses.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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