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My memories of Cynthia Barker, the Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere in UK by Boy Villasanta (Part 5)

And so British-Flipino filmmaker Jowee Morel had already reactivated and revitalized his brainchild, www.filcaspro.com and he had assigned me to write practically about anything under the sun but in as much as I was identified with show business, lifestyle, culture and entertainment, I might as well start with stories about the local showbiz industry.

I submitted to Jowee instead many stories on varied topics from the guava tree and the love affair of a couple in Lopez, Quezon to the activities of the Cultural Center of the Philippines to the projects of Brillante Ma. Mendoza to the international film festivals such as the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival or BiFan and other human interest narratives.

And of course, with Jowee’s reminder of a story on Cynthia Alcantara-Barker, the councilor then of twin boroughs Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertsmere district in the county of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

Yes, we wouldn’t forget about it.

A profile of Cynthia was written with important available story accompanying it.

We recalled our first meeting on the phone and the other things that transpired after that which gave color and dimension to Cynthia’s character. Jowee liked it so much that he asked me to do a follow-up which I did.

It was indeed a smooth publishing about Barker in an outlet that found her a real pride of the Philippines, without forcing through and sans pressure from the outside just to get her published.

I consulted also Jowee about his impressions of Cynthia since he had hobnobbed with her for the longest time. Morel said Barker was a younger sister of Gene Alcantara, a social entrepreneur in London who was very supportive of his sibling. Gene was also one of the hospitable hosts of many Filipinos who went to the UK, particularly in London where he would accommodate our compatriots warmly regardless of the purpose of their visits in the city.

Cynthia, Jowee added, was close to Gene although they lived miles away from each other. Whenever the gentleman had a Filipino traveler guest, he would introduce her to Cynthia so that they could get along very well. Be it Lito Lapid or Antonio Trillanes or Gary Alejano, Gene brought them to her so that she would also be familiar with her Filipino brothers. Anyway, Lito was her favorite action hero since she was still in the Philippines. Barker admitted that she had been watching the actor’s films way back in San Pablo City and Manila. It was the time Lapid was in the pinnacle of his success in the acting career.

Jowee also told me that Gene was married to Carmen Legarda, a sister of the controversial lawyer Katrina Legarda. That’s why the people Cynthia ran around with were famous and influential that also made her introspective about life and people in society. It’s Barker’s trait to be analytical of people. She was discerning of the real, inner person of an individual. This she also was able to bring in her political journey in the UK.

I wrote a very long and in a way, probing story on her that made her also get through her own personality. An article served as Cynthia’s looking glass self as if to compare her own perception of herself and the other people’s knowledge of her.

I included that wisdom of Cynthia in my many stories about her. She looked at other people to reflect on her. That’s how unselfish Cynthia was. She was open to criticisms from all directions. She welcomed other people’s impressions of her however not palatable. According to Jowee, that was Cynthia and I got to strike a chord in her that also made a mark on her.

Cynthia was also very fond of Filipino entertainers especially the ones who would go to London personally. I managed to get familiar with this when I checked on her social media accounts like her Facebook.

Oh! In her FB account, you would know all the popular Filipino public figures she had rubbed elbows with abroad in her photo gallery. Gary Ariola of the singing group Boyfriends was one of them. When Gary went to London, she and Cynthia had a nice time talking and reminiscing the group’s pop tunes which she admitted she knew the lyrics by heart. It was during her teenage days when the songs of Boyfriends were hitting the music charts and she would buy their records.

Unfortunately, when Gary went to perform in London, there wasn’t a live musical accompaniment but instead a karaoke and a minus one were on the background. Still, the concert was a hit and Cynthia liked it so much.

I also wrote about Cynthia gaga over Alden Richards. Jowee told me about her being an AlDub avid follower because the global fame of the duo was indeed phenomenal. Many of the Filipinos in the UK or Fil-Britons were agog with the love team created by the GMA Network noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga” in its kalye-serye portion.

As a matter of fact, I heard Jowee teasing Cynthia about the selfie photo-op she got with Alden. She was indeed a fan with a heart. Even as a politician in her stature as a fanatic without qualms and prejudice only great love for the Filipino talents. “Cynthia was very proud of her fellow Filipinos especially the talented ones in the entertainment field,” said the Fil-Brit filmmaker.

Cynthia didn’t care about being labelled bakya or baduy since she was lavishing these celebrities with genuine love and pride. She wouldn’t care less about being tagged as a cheap or vulgar just because she admired local talents. It was the way of the commoners and she represented the common men in the Philippines and even in Great Britain although she could be within the ranks of the royalty.

I also wrote about Cynthia as a social butterfly among the Filipinos in the UK. Whenever there were gatherings among Filipinos she would be around to give her own skin the pride and association. She was an active social participant of any Philippine-organized event that made her fellowmen not excluding the British nationals and other nationalities in the UK proud and happy about her as a leader.

They said Cynthia didn’t dissociate herself with any kind of people in society anywhere in the world. (To be continued)

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