London revisited
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2019 - 12:00am

LONDON: Yes we left Cebu last Saturday morning to fly to Manila to take my PAL PR 2824 direct for a 13-hour flight to London. It was to be the second time for me to fly PAL’s newest Airbus A-350-900 (the first one was last July when we flew the first A-350-900 from Toulouse, France to Manila) and as expected the flight did not disappoint! I didn’t waste time sleeping (this was my way to fight jet lag) by watching five movies. Arriving at night in London, we got stuck in the immigration in Heathrow Terminal 2 for nearly an hour and a half.  There must have been some 6,000 passengers lining up to get into the immigration booths and that took more than an hour.

I’ve been to London three times already. The last time was last year when we flew there and on the next day we flew to Toulouse to secure the first Airbus A-350-900 last July. But in all my London trips they were all business meetings. One of them was upon the invitation of the British Air Authorities (BAA) when I was a director of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA). It was to be the first among many meetings that ended up with the GMA-Megawide getting a 25-year contract for the airport.

In the end this trip is my first with my family and my first time to truly come to London as a tourist. In fact it was the first time for me to take the “Tube” or the London Underground subway system. So last Sunday our style of seeing the city as a tourist was to take a hop-on, hop-off bus. This is a great way to go around the city.

One of the major stops of the hop-on cruise was right under Big Ben of the Palace of Westminster which is under renovation. The whole tower housing the Big Ben clock is wrapped with construction materials. Incidentally, it was also a first for me to pass through the famous Tower Bridge on our way to see the Queen’s crown jewels. Since I’ve been there already, I didn’t join them due to the huge crowd and signs that say “No Cameras allowed.” So in the end, I just sat and rested in the benches just across where Henry VIII beheaded his two wives. By afternoon we took a boat ride to the Thames River.

I have been to the Tower of London before, a long time ago… but at that time, films inside a camera were expensive. Today, we are only using a cellular camera, which makes it all the more easy to use. How technology has truly changed. Tourists today can use their credit or debit cards to pay for water, which in the past needed coins.

We know that the mid-term elections happened yesterday, but however since I’m out of the country, I could not get the latest reports… although London has many outlets with free wi-fi. But news like this travel fast and I’m positive it would have great results in the gubernatorial elections. But I will just wait until results of the election become public.

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 This piece of news supposedly came out last Friday, and I’m positive that it would certainly tip the balance between the two political rivals in yesterday’s electoral process. Our good friend, Rep. Gwen Garcia was formally cleared by the Appellate Court (CA). In an 18-page decision penned by Associate Justice Gabriel Ingles, the five Capitol officials who were charged with Garcia were also cleared.

The others who were cleared with the Govenor are former Provincial Board member Juan Bolo, provincial assessor Anthony Sususco, provincial treasurer Roy Salubre and provincial engineer Eulogio Pelayre, who were all members of the Provincial Appraisal Committee; and former provincial budget officer Emme Gingoyon. I’m sure that the impact of this news has the potential to change the politics in Cebu Province. Kudos to Gov. Gwen, for this issue has hounded her because she has become a political ping pong to unscrupulous politicians who simply want to continue with their political power. Elections are there to bring a fresh hope to the Filipino people. Let’s hope the people would win.

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