What's Up


My memories of Cynthia Barker, Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere in UK by Boy Villasanta (Part 2)

Although Philippine Panorama of the Manila Bulletin came out in one of its Sunday editions in 2015 of an article on Cynthia Barker right after she won a council seat in twin boroughs of Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertsmere district of the county of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, it didn’t follow up on the succeeding political days of the subject which was a little because it had a good number of circulation that more Filipinos can reached her stories if only featured continuously.


 I had to come out with regular updates of Cynthia’s political activities in Great Britain which were so many and proudly Filipino as well as mainstream British.


After Barker, Cynthia Alcantara-Barker in full name, came out in Women’s Journal of Rene Bisquera, I wrote her consistently in my column in Diyaryo Pinoy, a tabloid being published weekly by newsman Jerry Yap. I also wrote about her in the defunct Llamado which was a daily tabloid of Vilma Manzo.


And yes, I often wrote Barker in OpinYon newsmagazine of Ray Junia and edited by Luchie Aclan Arguelles. Aside from the national edition of the paper, Cynthia, time and again, appeared in the Laguna edition of OpinYon which was very near to her heart because she was a native of San Pablo City in Laguna Province. Her success story truly defined what a Lagunense was. Cynthia was indeed a pride not only of the Philippines (because she had made a respectable name in the Western politics and public service) but of Laguna Province and San Pablo City as well.


I took it slowly, though.


Controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel advised me to gather and to file up all the stories that appeared in the dailies and magazines about Cynthia so that she could take a look at them.


Jowee really wanted to do a massive publicity campaign for Cynthia and I also approved of the idea because I considered her a hot copy although the reading public was Philippines and she was on the other side of the globe.


 But no matter because she was a true-blooded Flipino.


So I just managed to write about Cynthia in my entertainment columns in tabloids. She was a stand out in many stories because she represented the Philippines in the political landscape of the diaspora particularly the UK. Once in a while I could ask some people to squeeze a story or two about her even just few column inches.


At first, all the stories about her were compiled and put aside in filing cabinet.


I also hadn’t heard of or talked to her because she was busy I supposed. It was only Jowee who connected me to her. I didn’t even bother to add or suggested her in my Facebook friends list. I was just contended that she was being written about.


I continued with my daily writing activities on entertainment people.


I also wrote about Cynthia in Arriba tabloid if an interesting slant was available especially if Jowee would break out news about her which was very seldom.


People got interested of her whenever they would read something about her in any of my columns and features which came far and between. It was a rare story of a British-Filipina who was able to break through the rigid political world in the West.


 One of my cousins would be proud to say that Cynthia was written even in tabloids (tabloids are also important media outlet especially for the masses to announce to her compatriots her achievements in British politics. “Naku, dapat ang mga Filipino, ipagbunyi ‘yang Cynthia Barker na ‘yan. Malaki ang magagawa n’yan para sa bayan natin kahit na nasa England siya. Magiging malaking impluwensiya siya sa ating mga Filipino sa abroad at kahit na dito sa Pilipinas (Oh! The Filipinos should take pride of that Cynthia Barker. She can do a lot for our country even if she’s in England. She’d be a big influence for Filipinos abroad and even here in the Philippines),” commented my cousin who was an ardent follower of distinguished Filipinos here and abroad.


 At the time, there was a lull period between me and Cynthia.      


At the time, too, www.filcaspro.com wasn’t reinvigorated by Jowee yet. It was just there in cyber, dormant and waited to be revived for his vision of what an online stars directory was. www.filcaspro.com was a trailblazer in the field of arts.


The reception on Cynthia was encouraging. People from the streets were asking about her. They were all impressed by her strength as a woman to be in the thick of things of still a man’s world of politics. And to think, according to them, it was UK.


Although there were a few stories online abut Cynthia, most of them were not a detailed or the current state of her affairs as I ran through them.


Still, they were helpful in disseminating information about her not only among Filipinos but for other nationalities as well for as long as she served many multiracial residents and the whites as well.


I asked myself why was she not written in the mainstream or traditional media when she was a hot copy as well. Overseas Filipinos were already newsmakers in the world especially their labor contributions to their host countries but I rarely find Cynthia in the news.


Until www.filcaspro.com was beefed up by Morel.


It was a database for artists, alright, but it also had a space for stories about human interest angles or entertainment, lifestyle and culture narratives and other interesting reads.

Jowee assigned me to write about Cynthia in the revitalized www.filcaspro.com and the reception was also cool. The likes and reads were high. There were also comments of admiration and appreciation about what Cynthia was doing as a councilor in the UK. (To be continued)

Share this article