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Archive for October, 2010

Justin Coveney says

October 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Men, Rugby, Sports besides Tennis, Traveling 4 Comments →

Justin Coveney has been on the Australian TV soap Home and Away. I said, Why were you on Home and Away? He said the modeling agency sent him.

When they checked into the Sutera Harbour one of the first things Justin and Harry did was to take photographs of themselves wearing…how shall I put this…tableware. I think I should consult a lawyer before I post them, but Justin Is a lawyer. Let me think.

The Philippine Volcanoes at the Borneo 7s, Day 2

October 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Men, Rugby, Sports besides Tennis, Traveling 11 Comments →

After a good breakfast, another day of stalking covering the Volcanoes. I’m hoping everyone’s had a good night’s sleep so I can take proper photos and video.

Meanwhile you have homework: the IRB Beginner’s Guide to Rugby. Same rules apply to rugby sevens, just halve (or multiply by 0.466 or .375 everything)—seven players, three-man scrum.

We’ll take your request, just post them in Comments.

This exclusive coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes at the Borneo 7s is brought to you by JessicaRulestheUniverse.com and Globe Telecom.

More information than you need, Day 1 (updated constantly)

October 28, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Men, Rugby, Sports besides Tennis, Traveling 47 Comments →

Today I was reminded of something I discovered four years ago in Paris, when I spent ten straight hours at the Louvre because I felt compelled to see everything.

Beauty Is Exhausting.

After spending the whole day with the best-looking, most ridiculously fit guys I’ve ever met, what I really wanted to do was crash in my room at the Hyatt, take a hot bath, sit around in a fluffy bathrobe, order room service and watch C.S.I. I actually skipped dinner with the team. (There’s no need to slap me, who do you think I’m hanging out with tomorrow.) I do love being alone, what a relief to know it’s by choice.

My room is perfect. Kermit booked it for me on the internet. Kermit knows everything, I’m not kidding.



The guys are billeted for the night at a place called Switz Paradise. I am wary of hotels called “Paradise” because the name is probably ironic. Tomorrow they move to the tournament hotel, the five-star Sutera Harbour. In case you live in KK and want to see them.

* * * * *

Mark Chatting of the Volcanoes is a diving instructor. His last job was at a dive site in Leyte, and now he’s choosing between the Philippines and Australia. Mark attended the International School Makati, then went to college in the UK. “He was classmates with KC Concepcion,” Wolfie announced. “He was her boyfriend.”

“Haha,” said Mark.

“Ipagkakalat ko yan (I’m spreading the news),” I said.

* * * * *

(Photo to follow. Please note that all of today’s photos were taken while subjects were tired and famished and do not do justice to their loveliness.)

Noel Flowers has been on the Volcanoes for years as a player, and in September he was manager of the team that played at the Shanghai 7s. “What happened there?” I asked him. “We didn’t get the combination of players we wanted,” he shrugged. He’s back as a player with the Volcanoes in Borneo.

“Was it hell growing up with the name Flowers?” I asked.

“Yes. And I grew up in Australia, which made it worse,” he laughed. “Now my kids are going to hate me. I have four children, and they’re called Rain Flowers, Sun Flowers. . .”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No.”

“Why don’t you just name them Kick Me?”

“I think that’s what I’ll call my fifth child, thanks.”

* * * * *

You can’t improve on perfection, but I insist that this team needs proper traveling outfits and formal attire in addition to their playing gear. They don’t even have a team jacket! I see blazers, rep ties, the works. Fine, we’re in the tropics, they should be in linen. It’s a crime for such gorgeousness to walk around dressed like schlubs. Sure loose T-shirts and board shorts are comfortable, but they don’t say “We are serious about kicking your ass.” Couldn’t our designers do something?

* * * * *

Until this afternoon, Harry Morris had never eaten hopia in his life. Is this not the saddest thing you’ve ever heard? Fifty percent Pinoy, and alien to hopia. Apparently they don’t have it in Wales.

At Clark Airport we had just enough time for a snack before boarding, so I bought hopia and green tea and sat at a table. Wolfie had just sat down when an old guy yelled, “You can’t bring food into the coffee shop you have to order something here!”

“We’re going to order something po,” Wolfie said. “Nagalit ang lolo ninyo,” he told the giggling waitresses. He bought me a tuna sandwich (BFFs na kami eh. Baket wala kang facebook?!).

I didn’t eat the hopiang munggo so I gave it to Harry. (When we were at the check-in counter he said, “I’m so hungry I’m eating myself.” Even his digestive system is funny.)

“What’s that?” he said.

“It’s Filipino food.”

“I love Filipino food,” he said. “What do you call this, it’s great!” There’s my good deed for the day.

“Why do you have British pounds in your wallet?” he asked. (BFFs na kami, inuusisa na ang laman ng wallet.)

“Cause I went to London in June.”

“I live in London, why didn’t you look me up.”

See, this is proof that he’s Pinoy. Only Pinoys would ask other Pinoys questions to which the answer is, “Because I didn’t know you?” Our previous post was wrong–Harry no longer works for the Environmental Agency in Wales, he’s moved to London where he works for a headhunting firm and plays semi-pro rugby.

“Will you do a live chat with your fans?”

“Sure,” he said.

“And we can do video.”

“After I’ve showered and shaved.”

“And straightened my hair,” Justin added. Justin has agreed to be one of our Jocks With Books. “Can I wear a G-string and read a law book?”

“You could just wear the book.”

* * * * *

Wolfie is reading The One-Minute Manager.

“Why are you reading The One-Minute Manager?”

“Cause I want to be a One-Minute Manager.”

“If it’s called One-Minute Manager, how come it takes more than one minute to read?”

“Usually I read Mills and Boon, Sweet Valley High…”

The counter girl at the siopao and hopia stand yelled at him from practically the other end of the airport. “Alam ko kung sino ang girlfriend mo, si Quinn! Kayo na!” (I know who your girlfriend is, it’s Quinn, you’re a couple!) Wolfie got up and walked over to the counter girl so she wouldn’t have to yell. Inevitably phone cameras were produced.

* * * * *
This exclusive coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes at the Borneo 7s is brought to you by Globe Telecom.

The Philippine Volcanoes in Borneo: Coverage begins Now. (updated constantly)

October 28, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Rugby, Traveling 68 Comments →


Team manager Phil Gittus, Justin Coveney (with earbuds), and players who were asleep because they’ve been training almost continuously since Tuesday afternoon. Justin is a lawyer in Sydney. He does civil suits; mostly they represent insurance companies. Does that mean you’re evil? I asked. He said they had to deal with a lot of ambulance chasers.

Dispatch from moving bus. We’re on the way to Clark airport to catch the flight to Kota Kinabalu. On board: 11 members of the national men’s rugby team, Coach Matt Cullen, Manager Phil Gittus, and trainer Damian Raper. The 12th member we pick up at the gas station after SM North. More on him later.

The team will compete at the Borneo 7s, where they placed sixth overall last year. This year they’re ranked tenth after the disappointment of the Shanghai 7s. The Volcanoes are hoping to qualify for the 2011 Hong Kong 7s, the biggest most prestigious sevens tournament on earth.

The captain of the Borneo 7s team is Harry Morris, who is already known to readers of this website. (The first thing he said: “Are you prepared to see some skin on this tour?” I said, “We’re not used to seeing you clothed.”)

According to Coach Matt Cullen, this is a bigger, stronger team than the one sent to Shanghai. Many of the members are playing for the Philippines for the first time: there’s Patrice Olivier, 20, who’s Filipino-French. He says he doesn’t speak much English, so my 12 units of French and many Eric Rohmer movies may come in handy (I know two horrible cusswords).


Say Bonjour to Patrice, one of the newest members of the Philippine Volcanoes. He’s from the south of France. I noted that there are lots of Filipinos in France. I’ve never seen a Filipino in France, he said. Except my sister. To his right is team trainer Damian Raper. He’s not Filipino, and he has no emotional/cultural and especially no financial reason to be working with the Volcanoes. He just believes in the cause and wants to help. People like that do exist.

The team bus made a pit stop in QC to pick up the 12th player, who is probably known to you. His name is Andrew Wolff. “Do we have to pick him up because he’s a celebrity?” I asked. No, it’s because he lost his wallet at their office building the other night. This morning he checked his facebook account and saw a message: a security guard had found his wallet. So he went to retrieve his wallet, and we retrieved him.


Andrew Wolff has nerd cred. He got his A levels in Math and Latin.

Digression. Andrew Wolff is even more beautiful from three inches away than on a billboard thirty feet high. I know this because I am sitting next to Andrew Wolff. To be more exact, we are scrunched into a two-person seat and his muscles take up a lot of room. Oh the horror and tedium of my life, that I have to squeeze into a seat with Andrew Wolff.

By the way we will refer to him as Wolfie as there are three Andrews on the team: Wolff who is half-Brit and speaks pretty good Tagalog, having lived here five years; and Everingham and Farrar, both half-Australian.

This exclusive coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes at the Borneo 7s is brought to you by JessicaRulestheUniverse.com through a sponsorship from Globe Telecom.

Homage to Kubrick

October 28, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Movies 1 Comment →

Today’s vision of surpassing beauty is a painting by Geraldine Javier, one of the stars of contemporary Asian art.

“Red is the Color of Life, and So is Black” is based on that scene in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. For a week after I saw The Shining I had a fear of long hallways.

Geraldine’s painting won’t be exhibited in Manila—it’s going straight to Seoul. The artist has given us her permission to post this photo. Good luck lining up for an actual Geraldine Javier painting, I hear it takes years.

The winner of LitWit Challenge 3.10: Manila’s Finest…

October 27, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 7 Comments →

Will be announced after we take you through the judging process. To refresh your memory, here are the entries.


Photo: Sari-sari store we spotted one afternoon on our way to the Quiapo cinematheque. Marx and Engels?

Our guest judge for this LitWit Challenge is Butch Perez, who’s read every detective series we can think of.

“I gave 3 points for characterization, 3 points for Manila local color, 2 points for style and, unfortunately for them, no one could have scored higher than 8 because I kept remembering the opening scene in James Hamilton-Paterson’s Ghosts of Manila. Most scored low in the Manila-ness criterion.

The scores for each detective:
Dorian Angeles 5
Jamila Bond 7
Bennie Arrienda 6
Turo Lucero 6
Mangtorney 7
Jane de la Cruz 5
J. D. 5
James Bello 6
Pitik 6
Sister Yla 6
Kap & Goliat 7
Lakay (Sergio Rumbawa) 7
Cristina Rivera 6
Ernesto Villegas 6

The winner is Cacs for his creation, Lakay. Runnerup is ruth (Mangtorney) because of the line “Nawawala ang Nazareno.”

Thanks to our guest judge, and to everyone who responded to this assignment. Cacs, you can pick up your prize, Blood’s A Rover by James Ellroy, starting tomorrow at National Bookstore in Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati. Something to read during the long weekend!

The Weekly LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our lovely friends at National Bookstore. The next Challenge goes online soon.