‘UKlympics BARKADA Trip’ for 6 Pinoys
LONDON—They came, they saw, they conquered. (Apologies to Julius Caesar.)
This exuberant, free-spirited “barkada” of six stood out at the crowded entrance to Olympic Park in Stratford a few days ago. Perhaps it’s the paper flag they were waving or their tricolor-topped Olympic six-ring false glasses. Or their pompoms. Or their glowing headbands.
In any case, they were hard to miss among the tens of thousands of fans queuing up to buy tickets or athlete-hunting outside the swank Westfield mall here.
They were unmistakably Filipinos. Mind you, they’re not from London or anywhere near the British Isles. Wearing the same kind of T-shirt with “UKlympics BARKADA Trip” emblazoned at the front, the six came all the way from Dubai.
Diana Marqueses of Tanauan City, Judea de Ocampo of Angeles City, Arlene Lacuesta of Roosevelt, Quezon City, Fe Rizal Huera of Cebu City, Monina Ferrer of Paco, Manila, and Michael Pucio of Lopez, Quezon, were in London to join in the Olympic party.
“The barkada is here to enjoy the sights of the Olympics,” said Pucio, the group’s leader who works in the business reporting section of BMW Group Middle East in Dubai. She said their plan was to visit as a group and share in paying for their hotel.
Pucio organizes for his accountant friends what he calls their “annual pilgrimage.” For the Olympics, they saved cash for months and came up with about P37,000 for the return flight to London. Everything was arranged and paid for through online booking.
“We eat just enough to save money for souvenir,” said a giggling Marqueses, the newest member of the seven-holiday-old barkada.
Chimed in the group’s “mommy,” Huera, “We had a lot of meetings and preparation before we left Dubai.”
Pucio made sure each one had a stack of laminated itinerary cards for their activities, a card for each day in Britain. They watched the “Les Miserables” (“We got six tickets for about P1,500 each”), window-shopped at Harrod’s, and made a long trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.
“We are happy to be in the Olympics,” said Ferrer, a finance manager of a small firm in Dubai. “Like Michael, it’s my dream to travel the world. The Olympics in London is a chance we could not pass.”
The Olympics, as they say, are not to be celebrated by the host city alone. They are also for the world, like Pucio’s ebullient barkada, to enjoy.