What's Up


My memories of Cynthia Barker, the Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere of UK by Boy Villasanta (Part 4)

Controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel (“Moma,” “Ec2luv,” “Mga Paru-Parong Rosas,” “Mona Singapore Escort,” “When a Gay Man Loves,” “Latak,” “HiStory,” “Strictly Confidential,” “Leona Calderon” etc.) and I would meet up at Starbucks in SM Calamba City one late morning to talk about the finishing touches of the documentary film “The Making of Quezon City,” a  commissioned and also bid project for the Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) of the Quezon City Government. We had to upload a raw edited version of it for graphics and chargen (character generation) and some postscripts about the film.

It was also the day when we could talk online to Cynthia Alcantara-Barker, at the time was still a councilor of twin boroughs Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertsmere district in the county of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Jowee had a very pressing concern to consult with Cynthia so it was the right time.

As for me, I could get an update of her to be written in my tabloid columns, namely Diyaryo Pinoy, Llamado, OpinYon and other outlets.

Jowee and I met up in Calamba City for a halfway conference precisely because he would be coming from Pagsanjan while I from San Pedro City, both in Laguna but from two far opposite directions. SM Calamba City was a fair enough point of meeting for both of us. Morel wouldn’t want to go as far as Alabang in Muntinlupa City because it was already too long ride and traffic for him considering the road congestion even in the outskirts of Manila.

In the morning until the mid-afternoon was devoted to the doc production meeting while at about three o’clock would be an ideal time for an online meeting with Barker as it was an early morning time in the UK. At least, she was ready to face up with us anytime then.

SM Calamba City had also an adequate signal for cyber communications.

After we wrapped up the meeting for the “The Making of Quezon City,” we were ready to call and see Cynthia eyeball to eyeball.

It was convenient call because she was all set for the online talk. She was very prompt about the time. Jowee and Cynthia were trained to be on time in any commitment they agreed on no matter what. If anything cropped up that would hinder the meeting, anyone would advise the other party of the delay, or worst, the postponement of the appointment.

There Cynthia Barker on the other line. Although we only had an audio call, it was clear transmission of sound. There were pleasantries to begin with.

It was Cynthia and Jowee first on board as I just greeted the councilor. They were animatedly talking about the prospects of doing a doc on her as initially planned when Morel was in London during the Fashion Week of Filipino designers with his friend Charles Legaspi in tow. Everything was laid out clearly and honestly about the pre-production of the documentary film which would be a big boost for Cynthia’s political career in the UK. It was also an exercise in creativity and productivity for the British-Filipino filmmaker for he had a long respite in filmmaking after he did “Leona Calderon” in London with award-winning actress Pilar Pilapil in the title role.

Although the doc project for Cynthia was a non-fiction, Jowee was already adjusted in making and distinguishing a fictional project from broadcast journalistic visuals. He was a graduate of Master of Science in Post-Production and Cinematography from the University of Greenwich so he was astute in his field. Besides, he began to like doc filmmaking after he had fielded himself in the challenges and hurdles of doing the documentary film on Quezon City.

At first, Morel was always eyeing for feature films especially when he just finished off writing full-length film scripts when he was still a regular creative staff of Viva Entertainment. He was able to write not only two but a few screenplays, one of them “Eternally” which was supposedly a project for Viva Films’ honcho Vic del Rosario. But nothing came out of all the Viva production plans until Jowee’s resignation from one of the biggest moviemaking companies in the Philippines in near mid-2010s.

After some plans were agreed by Jowee and Cynthia, it was my turn to speak to her.

As usual, she was the soft-spoken lady I first heard during our phone conversation almost a year before this online meeting.

She said she had no enough rest because of hectic schedule in her council work. It was a grueling week for her, she said. But no worries, she clarified because she loved her work. “Right now, we will be having our council meeting again. We will meet up with the rest of the officers and we will tackle important issues and concerns for the community.

“It’s very crucial because there are opposition to the ideas and projects that I want to do but I think I will prevail,” informed Cynthia at the time.

Despite tiresome council work, the prevalence of intrigues also occupied the workload of the councilor but she assured me and Jowee that she would be alright.

There was also a pressing issue on the Brexit and Cynthia as member of the ruling Conservative Party must be firm in her stand about the vision of her mother political party.

She talked confidently about the issue as if she knew the historical implications of the issue from A to Z. “I will be talking about it with my constituents because they need to be familiar with all the sides of the issue. I am very objective about all these controversies and as public servant, the people must be informed rightly so that they are well-rounded,” she opined.

Such a stateswoman at a very young age of her political career.

“I am a patient person. I don’t push people if they aren’t prepared about a certain decision,” she interjected. (To be continued)

Share this article