I owed Henry an article. I told him I’d write about him for a magazine but that magazine closed shop before I could do a piece on him. We already started the preliminary interview at his usual hang-out at the Promenade in Greenhills. Just recently, he asked me to write in his blog. Unfortunately, I was too busy to do so.
Although too late, I finally wrote about him. This was published first at the Astrology Friends Philippines’ blog.
I’m re-posting it here minus the comments of his friends in the social media:
Farewell, Henry Palacios, astrologer extraordinaire!
Last March 20, International Astrology Day, the Vernal Equinox, Palm Sunday and the first day of Spring in temperate climes, Filipino astrologer Henry Edward C. Palacios passed away. He was 53 and his sudden departure took everyone — his family, relatives, friends and astrological clients — by surprise.
Born on July 27, 1962, Henry studied at the Ateneo for his elementary and secondary education. In the 1970s, he and his siblings were brought to London to study and be nearer to their diplomat mom who was posted in Europe. Their mom became Philippine ambassador to several countries. Their dad also pursued higher studies in Law at Cambridge (Admiralty and Maritime Law).
In prep school (senior high), Henry was the Head Boy (equivalent to the Student Council president). In college, he and his siblings went to Richmond, the International American University in London. His interests soon turned into photography and he became the school organ’s photographer.
After EDSA and the fall of the Marcos government, the Palacios family returned to the Philippines. Armed with a degree on Money, Banking and Finance, Henry entered the FOREX market as a trader. Later, the mother introduced her children to a group concerned with Spirituality and Mind Powers. The group was Reach For InnerSelf (RFI) Foundation.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Aquarian organizations became popular among the middle and upper classes — the Science of Mind (SOM), the Temple of Prayer, Peace & Prosperity (TOPPP), and RFI. There were also Aquarian personalities like Charlie Barreto, George Sison, Jimmy Licauco, etc.
There were a handful of astrologers who charged quite big amounts for a horoscope reading. Calculations were mostly done by hand (or calculators). Computer astrological programs are rare although some astrologers like the late Von Estrella used them.
Henry’s elder brother Hans and a couple of friends — Jamal Ashley Abbas and Joe Magsaysay — concluded that it was high time for computerized astrological readings to be introduced to Manila folks. They decided on procuring a professional astrological software from England. Although skeptical about the rationality and logic of astrology, Henry welcomed the venture with an open mind.
In 1991, a kiosk with the name NATAL ASTROLOGY was launched at STAR CITY. It became a hit at the STAR CITY carnival. To complement the kiosk, an astrological newsletter — astrology.com — was printed. From Star City, the kiosk moved to SM
megamall, at the basement in Bldg. A. Instead of paying thousands of pesos for an astrology reading or sending $20 or £10 (plus bank wire transfer fees) to the US or UK for a few pages of horoscope reading, NATAL ASTROLOGY charged only P100 or P200 depending on the kind(s) of readings.
Henry Palacios became a believer in Astrology. He was amazed at how accurate the predictions were. The software was top-notch. Pretty soon, Henry built not only an increasing amount of customers but an increasing number of repeat clients, many of whom became long-time friends.
Henry read up on astrology and created a virtual database of the computerized readings vis-a-vis truth or falsity as confirmed by the clients. Pretty soon, he became adept at analyzing the natal charts and the transits.
But much more than his prowess at astrological readings, Henry always offered a shoulder to lean on, ears to listen, and ever-ready astrologically informed advice. He became the long lost brother, son, uncle, cousin to so many of his clients. All kinds of people could be seen hanging out in his kiosk — intellectuals, New Agers, politicians, rich yuppies, ordinary folks, eccentrics, healers, students of the esoteric arts, astrologers and would-be astrologers, etc. The interesting mix of Henry’s clientele must have caught the attention of US intelligence because pretty soon, a karate-expert US embassy official started frequenting the kiosk and became a Natal Astrology kiosk habitué,
In 2000, the NATAL ASTROLOGY kiosk at SM megamall closed shop. The era of the Internet had come of age, even in the Philippines, and astrological readings could be found on the web. However, readings by local astrologers even became more expensive and unreachable to the poorer sector of society
Having read and analyzed tens of thousands of natal and transit charts, not to mention progressions, etc., Henry must have reassured his British-educated skeptical mind that astrology was not voodoo. As he used to say, “astrology is an empirical science.” The astrological knowledge he accumulated in a decade at the kiosk could not just be left to gather dust in the recesses of his brain.
So, with or without the kiosk, Henry decided to continue doing astrological readings — but on a “less commercial” level. Armed with a cellphone astrological app, he read people’s charts inside restaurants, usually at Cafe Ysabel or the restaurants in the Promenade. And so for more than another decade, he professionally practiced the art and science of astrology…