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My memories of the late Cynthia Barker, Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere in UK by Boy Villasanta (Part 3)

It was timely upon the revival and reinvigoration of www.filcaspro.com by its founder, controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel, Cynthia Alcantara-Barker—the late Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere district in the county of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom—had signed on her interest to be publicized officially by us.

While she was in the UK, we could write about her.

There were a lot of stories to be written about her and Jowee was the first one to share them with me. Once he told me stories about Cynthia I would inspiringly write them with gusto.

I would write them in my columns, again in Diyaryo Pinoy, OpinYon, Arriba, Llamado etc., most of the tabloids.

I wouldn’t care less.

At least, the significant information about Cynthia was disseminated to the Filipino public—the readers who should be familiar with her and her illustrious achievements as a councilor of twin boroughs Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertsmere. Being a councilor, she had accomplished a lot like working for the betterment of her community which was peopled not only by whites or the British nationals but also the multiracial ethnicities as well as equally important fellow Filipinos.

Tabloids are also vital info disseminator especially the relevant ones for the development and growth of the readers.

Jowee would always update me about my deadlines on Cynthia although he would also like written in broadsheets. I told him we would come to that as I would want an easier access to my outlets first because they would be my platforms. 

I started with the basic info about Cynthia. That she was born in San Pablo City in Laguna Province in 1962. That she was schooled there until she went to Manila to study her college.

I also had the exclusive story about Cynthia meeting Jowee and fashion writer Charles Legaspi in London.

Charles was in the UK because of Fashion Week that presented Filipino designers who paraded their creations and he was the one assigned to cover the event.

It was also the first time that Legaspi would meet Cynthia through Morel.

In the meeting, according to Jowee, they also discussed the possibility of awarding famous and influential Filipino women in line with Cynthia’s advocacy on female emancipation from the chains of colonialism and male chauvinism. It was also a cause to free women from domestic violence and sexual discrimination.

“Cynthia is a fighter for women’s rights. She may not be the noisy one to take to the streets to rally for the welfare of her fellow women but she is a silent and hard working person to uphold women’s rights,” said Jowee during that time.

Morel assigned me to get in touch with Vilma Santos and Charo Santos-Concio for monitoring and coordination as they were name dropped if not nominated by the group (at the time, it was in its organizing phase that included the pioneering spirit of Jowee, Cynthia and Charles). The search was supposed to be an affiliate of Cynthia’s global connection with women’s organizations.

So I readied myself with the job of calling Vilma and Charo so I could update the group about my consolidation in the process of nomination for Filipino women and their achievements in their respective fields.

According to Jowee, it was a very interesting and exciting project that would be a mutual preparation for the Philippines and the UK. He was indeed thrilled about the search.

During the meeting, there was also a topic on the side.

The issue of Brexit was very hot at the time and a free-flowing discussion also ensued among the three.

Jowee, he told me, was passionate about the exit of the UK from the European Union (EU). He had a point in the discourse.

“She listened but you would love her by being realistic and her feet buried on the ground. I was impressed when she said ‘you can only do so much in this world.’ She was a sharp preceptor of things. I loved that. But she worked hard to eliminate what she thought weren’t necessary. That was a virtue,” Jowee recalled Cynthia’s stand about their discussion.

I wanted to write them but it was hard news in the light arena of entertainment news.

Jowee was just readying up the revival of www.filcaspro.com that would easily accommodate such slant of a story so I just kept it deeply in my mind.            

There would be an ideal time to express them in the local media outlets, not unless hard news reporters or columnists would be willing to adapt and tackle the discussion.

Or so I thought.

Until www.filcaspro.com was given an impetus by Jowee to come out with hard stuff or human interest angles written in his cyberspace.

The irony of it was I forgot to share this story of their meeting in London until now.

Never too late.

This particular episode in Cynthia, Jowee, and Charles’ lives was one for the books because the freewheeling exchange of ideas came from a woman who is always seen as a second class citizen or a wallflower, a filmmaker who is always treated as an entertainer and a fashion writer who is mostly regarded as a purveyor of escapist glitz and glam gigs. (To be continued)

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