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My memories of Cynthia Alcantara-Barker, the Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere in UK by Boy Villasanta (Part 7)

“Please proceed to Sulyap Hotel,” Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel advised me.

He gave me a direction to the hotel. It’s located in an inner street of a barangay near the road going to Calauan, Laguna. I took a tricycle from the city proper to the post that pointed a sign to Sulyap Hotel. I got off right there. I paid the driver its corresponding fare which was fair enough for a provincial rate. I didn’t bother the driver to bring me right to the hotel.

I walked two blocks away from the main road from the arch of the barangay—its name I already forgot--to the hotel. 

From the entrance of the hotel, I would imagine a local tourism attraction it had designed for—a too native and historically constructed sets of buildings. Looking closely, one of the most evident pieces of indigenous materials was capiz (a type of décor made from seashells) embellished in windows. The wood carvings in the exteriors of the buildings were intricate and showed the olden days of the Spanish time. There were many kinds of bushes and trees planted all over the place. It was a sprawling country living in a city.

I immediately went to where Jowee was.

There he was, interviewing some of Cynthia’s kith and kin. The camera was set up at the ground floor of a two-story Spanish-inspired house. There was still klieg lights on as there would still be other subjects to talk about Cynthia.

As I approached nearer, there was this tall, big, pleasant looking man at the porch smiling at me at once. I though Jowee had already oriented that there would be someone by the name of Boy Villasanta, a writer joining the shoot. I smiled back at the guy who was sitting in a Spanish type of chair known in the province as taburete (a steel chair with an intricate design and a wooden seat).

I was introduced by Jowee to Cynthia’s entourage which included the smiling big guy who I learned was her elder brother Ador Alcantara.

The whole house—or should I say tavern—had two rooms upstairs.

I could sense that Cynthia was upstairs with her cousins and friends some of them also came from abroad and other based in San Pablo. There was a sense of business everywhere.

Nasa taas lang si Cynthia, inaayusan (Cynthia is just upstairs being fixed),” advised Jowee who told me to just sit and relax.

He also introduced me to the other people in the inn.

It was drizzling outside.

Jowee would call on another interviewee but he was requested to conduct the interview in a little while as the subject was also busy coordinating with the bits and pieces of the event as far as Cynthia, one of the awardees, was concerned. In as much Jowee had no more subject on cam, he started to unpacked and disassembled his production facilities. He was the only one who un-switched the lights and assembled their clipboards.

Ador, on the other hand, was very friendly he asked me where I got from. It was a staccato conversation as Jowee and I would also talk on the side. But the Alcantara guy was indeed very cordial. I learned that he came all the way from the United States of America. He was there to share the glory of his sister as one of the would-be awardees as Outstanding Alumnus of Laguna Colleges. He travelled all the way from the US to also pay his roots a visit.He was away for years and he couldn’t just shrug off his hometown so it was shooting two birds with one stone.

 

Suddenly, a girl-looking gay came down from the tavern. I was introduced to “him” by Jowee. “Mitch, this is Boy Villasanta,” Morel called on the transgender woman who was the fashion designer of Cynthia. “O, di ba, ang ganda (Oh, he’s pretty, right?)” Mitch greeted us in gayspeak expression. Mitch Desunia was her name and in one gaze, she was indeed a transwoman. Oh! Mitch had an assistant in tow, another dragged. 

Desunia came down from the room to fit in the gown for Cynthia. I learned that Mitch had already done fashion shows in London where she met Cynthia who eventually became one of her clients.

There were fleeting pleasantries among us Jowee, Mitch and the assistant while I was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Cynthia Alcantara-Barker. It was gay talk, after all.

Ador was still sitting around and he wouldn’t mind our gay conversations perhaps because he was accustomed to our kind especially his Western gender orientation.

Jowee was obviously excited about what was transpiring in the tavern.

At about five thirty in the afternoon when the sun was already setting in, a fragile-looking woman being sheltered by an umbrella over her head held by a member of the retinue was stepping down the stairs to the ground. She was holding on to her frock as it would touch the wet steps while looking around once in a while.

I glanced up at her and saw she looked at me as if confirming I was Boy Villasanta. She smiled at me a bit as I returned her the gesture without us being introduced.

I knew immediately she was Cynthia Barker.

It was time to get ready to tail her as everyone was assigned a car to get in. I was advised by Jowee that we would ride with Mitch who had a car she drove to San Pablo from Las Piñas City where her dress shop was.

Ador got up from his seat to join another car while Cynthia was boarding a car consigned just for her and some who would fit in.

So on we went to the venue—the Laguna Colleges situated in the heart of the city.

It was still drizzling and Mitch had to find a corner to park her car near the school while Cynthia and her entourage were already inside the campus. (To be continued)

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