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My memories of Cynthia Barker, Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere in UK (Part 10)

Actress and beauty queen Azenith Briones was always calling me about her lunch invitation with Cynthia Alcantara-Barker and her brother Ador Alcantara. Azenith was excited to see in person Cynthia and Ador as the three San Pabloeños were long lost friends in San Pablo City.

 

Azenith was the one who booked the lunch date and she told me we must do it in Makati City or in her neighborhood in Parañaque City where there were many restaurants lined-up in the main thoroughfares of BF Homes. But it was all tentative. Makati City was called off while the Parañaque rendezvous was already a far-fetched idea since she wanted it outside their village this time.

 

“Sa ano na lang tayo magkita, sa SM Sucat. From there, maghanap na lang tayo ng makakainan. Siguro, d’yan na lang sa SM, marami r’yan (Let’s just see each other in SM Sucat. Let’s just look for somewhere to eat there. I hope in SM there would be many choices),” advised Briones who I just took the lead because she was the host of the meal.

 

Fil-Brit filmmaker Jowee Morel would come from Pagsanjan, Laguna but he had an appointment with Cynthia and Ador who would come straight from San Pablo City to pass by a place in Manila for some appointments. Together with Jowee, I was coordinating with them through the film director.

 

Meanwhile, I would be coming from San Pedro, Laguna and take a jeepney ride to Sucat South Luzon Expressway and again, take another ride to SM.

 

At about eleven in the morning, I was already in SM Sucat. I called Azenith and she said she’s fixing herself. Anytime, she would board a Grab taxi because no one would drive for her.

 

Waiting for these four people, I wandered around the pavements of SM and taking notes mentally of what to do in case they appeared. One was to look for a possible dine-in place.

 

After a few minutes, I saw Jowee coming to my direction. I asked where must be Cynthia and Ador. “Ador is looking for a parking lot for his car and Cynthia is just around,” informed Jowee who made a gesture that Cynthia was walking, pulling her suitcase in a trolley towards us.

 

In no time at all, Azenith’s car was already at the ramp entrance of the mall. Even when she was still inside the car she was already murmuring something. She was complaining of something the time of meeting I had decided but it just a momentary complaint. Shortly afterwards, she was already appeased and got down the car in her casual brown batik-inspired dress and a colored hair.

 

In other words, we all come together and of course, Cynthia was already familiar with Azenith so I just introduced Cynthia to her. I was a whirlwind intro as Jowee and Briones had already met in the past when we got her on cam regarding her rift with fellow actress Elizabeth Oropesa over a missing piece of jewelry.

 

Briones looked around and quipped: “Saan kaya tayo (Where can we eat?).”

 

“Let’s go in the mall,” she suggested.

 

The four of us went in and settled immediately at Mary Grace Restaurant near the entrance door.

 

We found good seats. And while we were waiting for Ador, Azenith broke the ice by talking to Cynthia, reminiscing about the past in San Pablo. Knowing how reserved and quiet Cynthia was, she was just listening to the gift of glib of the actress-beauty queen. But once in a while, if she had something very important and memorable to share about San Pablo, she would bat in politely and with candor. Jowee and I were just listening to Azenith’s anecdotes.

 

Until Ador finally got off the hook. “Doon ako nag-park sa malayo (I parked far somewhere at the back of the mall),” volunteered Ador smiling to Azenith.

 

“Naku, Ador, ang dami nating pag-uusapan. Di ba, kilala mo si ano (Oh! Ador we have so many things to talk about. Of course, you know this and that, right?”), Zenith blurted out while Ador was about to take his seat.

 

“Kami kasi, sa Our Lady of Fatima School, do’n ako nag-high school. Itong sina Ador, sa Ateneo de San Pablo. Naku, lahat kami magkakakilala talaga (We were in Our Lady of Fatima School, I took my high school there. Meanwhile, Ador and his group were in Ateneo de San Pablo),” the beauty queen-actress recalled excitedly.

 

Ador was all the while smiling and excited to hear stories of the past. He and Azenith had many common friends, some of them abroad, some of them in town but in other places.

 

While Cynthia was looking at the menu, Azenith and Ador had the field day of reminiscing their high school days.

 

“I am proud we have someone from San Pablo who is now a public servant in the UK,” said Briones referring to Cynthia who was busy running through the food choices.

 

Azenith suggested a favorite dish in the restaurant so Cynthia took note of it. When the waitress attended to us, it was Barker who chose the menu.

 

It was hearty meal and a sincere talk among the four of us with Azenith mostly as the initiator of the topic unless Ador would remember a particular name or place that would also trigger a shared thoughts with her.

 

“Gusto kong pumunta sa London (I want to go to London),” volunteered Briones who was still euphoric about meeting Cynthia.

 

“Walang problema (No problem),” said Barker who meant a warm accommodation for Azenith in London if ever she would come to the city.

 

There were photo-ops among us and especially Briones and Barker in one frame.

 

“Ganda ng pagkikita natin ngayon (Our meeting today is lovely),” commented the loquacious Azenith.

 

We really wanted to extend our talk but Cynthia had still a commitment with Mitch Desunia in her dress shop in Las Piñas City.

 

After we settled the bill, we were on our way to Mitch. (To be continued)

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