Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for May, 2010

Aesthetic appreciation vs. Objectification

May 31, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Rugby, Sports besides Tennis 11 Comments →

On Saturday I took my gay friends to the rugby matches. We were supposed to be a group of six but one had a photo shoot, one was sewing, and one overslept. At half-past three in the afternoon in the blazing sunshine Bakekang, Torquata and I arrived at the IS Makati football field. A match was in progress between a team in white shorts and team in black shorts. Yeah, we know our rugby.

“We have to behave because we’re not out today, okay?” said Torqy.

“Of course,” I said. “No one can tell.”

“Right,” said Backy. “Do you see any other males in this place wearing pedal pushers?”

Earlier I’d suggested that to prevent vicious in-fighting, if anyone spotted a cute guy he should call out the jersey number and the others would lay off. The minute we sat down we all cried, “11.” We could tell from 25, 30 feet away.

“How many players on each team?” Backy asked. I said 15. 30 seconds later, my friends had learned the essentials of the game and were applauding the tries. Then the game ended, the players dispersed, and Number 11 started walking towards us.

In slow motion. With the wind ruffling his hair. And the amazing thing was, there was no wind.

Nobody breathed.

The vision walked right up to where we were sitting and without so much as a Hello, took off his shirt.

“Hello,” said his six-pack abdominal muscles.

We shrieked. Silently, because Jaime Augusto Zobel was standing behind us and he might have us shot.

The vision formerly wearing Number 11 sat down in front of us and spoke to another guy in rapid Spanish. Suddenly we wished we had paid attention in Spanish 11 class in college.

“Papaano yan,” said Torqy, “Eh Frenchy-Frenchy ka.” (How will you deal when you’re faux-French?)

“Magkalapit naman ang Waray at ang Kastila,” Backy replied. (The Waray and Spanish languages are alike.)

“That better not be Jaime Augusto’s nephew or his uncle will have us shot,” I said.

By the way, we were conversing in tones so low they were audible only to our cats and dogs.

“His waistline is 30 inches,” Backy announced using his mental tape measure.

“What nationality?” I asked.

We decided he was Argentinian. (If we are wrong please accept our humble apologies.)

After a full minute I could not bear the tense silence so I addressed the vision formerly known as Number 11. “Excuse me, what team do you play for?” Even before I heard myself the voice in my head screeched, “Estupida! That’s your question?!”

He told us the name of his team. “Do you play here every week?” I babbled on. He told us where they played. I glanced at my friends, expecting them to pitch the follow-up questions, but they were staring into the distance. End of conversation.

“Why didn’t you speak to him?” I asked.

“We couldn’t look at him directly,” they chorused. “He’ll know.”

“He’ll know what?”

“He’ll just know.”

The vision got up and walked out of our lives forever, unless we start turning up at his games.

Later there was a short ceremony in which Jaime Augusto Zobel presented the official jerseys to the national team headed for the Asian 5 Nations Division 2 championships in New Delhi. Jaime had volunteered recruited me to write about the Philippine team.

On the way to the presentation I saw the belt. “Aaaaaaah!” I covered my eyes. “What is that!”

“It’s Argentinian cool,” the wearer explained. “You just need to understand it in context.”

“What context, the brutal subjugation of the native Americans?”

“Hahaha,” the wearer said. Then he ordered the guards to take us out and shoot us.

My column on the Philippine national men’s rugby team appears in the Star on Friday.

* * * * *

Tuesday, 2100. Because this is a small planet and getting smaller by the day, we have already found Number 11. Only two degrees of separation!

Umm. . .well. . .hmm. . .

May 31, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Design, Tennis No Comments →

This is the first entry we’ve received to the Roger-Rafa playing attire design contest.

Designer: The Kicking Pinoy

Designer’s statement: “The top takes us back to 80s tennis—traditional black and white striped cardigan designed not to grab attention, unlike Andre Agassi’s outfits in the late 80s to early 90s. The boxers are supposed to be a tribute to Marky Mark’s boxer-brief era, but it just occurred to me that Marat Safin could’ve worn this so that if he couldn’t control his anger he could just take the top off and invite the opponent to a six-sided ring for a UFC match.”

Let me think. Maybe it’s just a problem of proportion? Hmm. No. Next.


May 31, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Money, World Domination Update 3 Comments →

In the 90s the Philippine government proclaimed our overseas foreign workers ‘Bagong Bayani’ (New Heroes).

In this photo essay by Dulce Pinzon in Foreign Policy, Mexican migrant workers in the US are presented as superheroes.

Spiderman. BERNABE MENDEZ from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends home $500 a month.

The Human Torch. OSCAR GONZALEZ from the State of Oaxaca works as a cook in New York. He sends home $350 a week.

The Philippine rugby team and my theory of world domination

May 30, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Rugby, Sports besides Tennis, World Domination Update 3 Comments →

How we spent our Saturday afternoon: watching a rugby match at International School Manila, followed by a training session of the Philippine Men’s 15’s National Team.

Everyone needs a change of scenery now and then, and this was ours.

We met national team captain Michael Letts (L) and Austin Dacanay (R), the oldest member of the team at an ancient 33.

Our national rugby team is living proof of my Theory of World Domination: It is composed of Filipino heritage players, nearly all of them children of Filipinos living abroad. They’re half-Pinoy, half-English/Australian/Welsh/Canadian and so on.

The team is coached by Expo Mejia (center), a Filipino whose family migrated to Australia when he was 5. Mejia worked with the Australian team the Waratahs, and now coaches the New York Lions.

Despite our near-total ignorance of Philippine rugby union, we recognized one national team player: the model slash actor Andrew Wolff.

The Philippine Men’s 15’s National Team flies to New Delhi on Monday to compete in the Asian Five Nations Division 2 Championships from June 1 to 6. Mejia says they have a seriously good chance of winning the tournament. I don’t know what kind of television coverage they’ll have, but we can follow their progress on the internet. Now that we know we have a team.

Visit the Philippine Rugby Football Union website.

Where to get signed copies of Twisted 8 1/2

May 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 8 Comments →

At Nella Sarabia’s shop Sarabia Optical, UP Shopping Center, Diliman, QC. Php100. Call 435.5685 to check if the store is open.

Might as well get a pair of glasses/sunglasses while you’re there. I found these sunglasses on sale in Australia and Nella is changing the lenses to my prescription.

’80 percent off’ is my definition of ‘Sale’.

’20 percent off’ is ‘You call that a sale?’

’10 percent off’ is ‘I’m supposed to be grateful that you’re giving me a discount on the stuff that won’t move?’


May 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 1 Comment →


When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions.

When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.

Case 1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street
Case 2: Rules of the Race
Case 3: The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos
Case 4: Our Secret Constellation

Black-and-white, 104 pages
Php 140.00.


When dusk arrives in the city of Manila, that’s when you become the most likely prey of the criminal underworld. Kidnappers and thieves will be the least of your worries.

Beware the criminals that can’t be bound with handcuffs nor harmed with bullets. Beware the ones that crave your blood, those who hold your heart for ransom, and the ones that come to steal your soul.

When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.

Case 5: A Little Known Murder in Studio 4
Case 6: The Outpost on Kalayaan Street
Case 7: Embrace of the Unwanted
Case 8: The Association Dues of Livewell Village

Black-and-white, 104 pages
Php 140.00.


12 midnight in Metro Manila.

Try to remain calm if you suddenly spot a tikbalang speeding down EDSA or a manananggal swooping across the Makati skyline. While partying at the Fort, never ever let the engkanto at the bar buy you a drink.

Yet, there are deadlier things than walk the streets of this city.

One of them now demands blood and sacrifice.

When crime takes a turn for a weird, the police call Trese.

Case 9: A Private Retaliation
Case 10: Patient 414 in Mandaluyong
Case 11: The Fort Bonifacio Massacre
Case 12: The Baptism of Alexandra Trese
Case 13: An Act of War

Black-and-white, 160 pages
Php 200.00.

Stories by Budjette Tan, art by Kajo Baldisimo. TRESE is available at Powerbooks.

Where’s the movie?