Tuesday, July 3, 2012

London Trip and Barrio Fiesta 2012

We've been to London over the weekend. We left Thursday morning when our place was so dark and rainy. A few minutes after, I was updated through Facebook that our town had been flooded!
It was a heavy downpour with constant thundering. I can only shudder with the thought.
Thunder and lightning always scare me. I would close the windows and cover the mirrors right away.
I am glad we were away but I was also worried with our house although Dearest Husband assured me it is very unlikely we would be flooded.
And he is right of course!

Dearest Husband was auditing one of their London depots so we decided to go with him as I also needed to go to the French visa centre Friday morning.We are going to Paris end of the month, that is why.
Schengen visa application is not new to me.
My old passport contains several Schengen visas due to my previous work -  from the outrageous 1 week multiple entry to 1 year, ironically both from Germany. All business visas actually. In fact my first Schengen visa was from France.
(Update: And I've got my passport back, wow! That is the quickest visa application I ever  have had, lodged on Friday mailed back to me on Tuesday!)

In the afternoon we went to Westfield London.
Sale was the word of the day. I ended up buying several items from L'Occitane and a few swim wears for Little Girl at  GAP.
I also decided to visit Louis Vuitton to inquire about the heat stamping of my initials on my handbags.
I also wanted to know if it is possible to put a shoulder strap on my Speedy 35.
We did not know we were in for a very disgusting customer service. The sales ladies were rude.
No one seems to know their products and they don't seem interested with their customers.
Dearest Husband was furious and so was I.
The humid condition was also of no help either. As it was 27C outside and with no air conditioners inside the mall, it was just pure torture.
I hope the London staff will come to their senses and manners soon or else they will be out of work before they would even realize it as I also heard a story of a lady who was also ignored.
She was so angry she stormed off to the Gucci shop across and purchased the biggest handbag then paraded it back at Louis Vuitton to let them know they just  lost a sale and a client to Gucci.

Friday afternoon and we went to Old Spitalfields Market.
I have always wanted to come here and I was very glad we did.
It was fantastic especially as they have Friday Fashion Market. Array of stalls of independent retailers and artists were around.
I was lusting after some silk scarves but unfortunately it was for wholesale so I did not stand a chance on that.
In the end I settled for a sleeveless summery top.
Restaurants were also abundant and I enjoyed my Thai lunch as Dearest Husband with his Indian meal.
steamed rice, green chicken curry. spring rolls, salad and apples, what more can one ask for a hearty lunch!

A stage was also set for ballroom dancing participated mostly by the elderly. It was a beautiful sight to watch.

The nearby streets of Old Spitalfields Market is a haven for vintage enthusiasts.
Shops selling vintage sunglasses, boots/shoes, dresses, denim shorts/jeans, bags, belts, scarves and even fashion jewellery are just everywhere.
One shop was also into auction.
The neighbouring Brick Lane is a must for Indian food lovers as it is famous for curry houses.

We also had a drive around Central London particularly  Tower Bridge  so that I can snap a photo of the Olympic Rings.

Saturday came and we went to the biggest Barrio Fiesta in the Filipino International Community.
It is organized by the Philippine Centre in partnership with ABS CBN so Philippine celebrities were flown over to entertain the UK based Filipinos.
I was not particularly into the celebrities, I was more into the spirit of the Barrio Fiesta.
Fiesta or festival is a cultural event in any Filipino lives and we have different reasons for this celebration like showing gratitude for good harvest, commemorating significant events in local history but mostly it is to celebrate the feast day of saints. The Philippines is a  predominantly Catholic country after all.
Philippine fiestas are characterized by overflowing food, joyous music, games and contests.
And this what perfectly describes Barrio Fiesta.
There was a stage for entertainment.
Various Filipino restaurants that offers Filipino dishes originating from the various regions of the Philippines. Assorted stallls for exhibitors showcasing varied products and services to the Filipinos away from their native homeland.
It was such a joyous gathering for all Filipinos not just from London but all over the UK.
Some came in coaches as far as Wales.
Sunday was the culmination day as understandably most are still working on a Saturday so it was no surprise to see the number of people trebled on Day 2 and we were among those.
The weather was also on our side because although there was a thunderstorm and flash floods in the midlands and some parts of the north but the capital was basking in the sunshine.
21C  of lovely weather with  hardly no rain nor wind.
Just fantastic.

Filipino ice cream on the road or home made ice cream made of coconut milk peddled from the street carts.

A true Filipino best - Ube (purple yam) ice cream. Perfect for the day's sunshiny weather.

Day 1 crowd with the exhibitors stall on the background
Day 1 crowd with exhibitors stall behind

Just among the many known home grown Filipino restaurants

Filipino food we grew up with and love

Assorted Filipino delicacies

Day 2 crowd

There was also an area for fun fairs were Little Girl had so much fun in the bouncy castle.

Day 1

Day 2

And Mummy and Little Girl must of course pose for the camera!

Over all we had good fun in this year's Barrio Fiesta especially because the weather was good to us.
My tummy was definitely happy with all the lechon paksiw, sisig, crispy pata, dinuguan  and Filipino hotdogs that I had.
Little Girl was obviously enjoying the fun fair and Dearest Husband with another experience  of Filipino culture.
We came home on Sunday at almost 11pm because the Wimbledon traffic jam delayed us for an hour but still we were in good spirits.
Until then Barrio Fiesta 2013!


  1. What a beautiful weather. The festivities looks like a lot of fun. It's funny how you can find most pinoys under the shade,lol. And I want some of those ube ice cream..in a double cone serving! :P

  2. lol to that. I think it is not just the Pinoys but Asians in general who shies away from the sunshine. I always tell people here that our umbrella is not just for the rain but for sunshine too, they find it strange!