Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for August, 2013

Confirmed: Tom Rodriguez is a nerd. (His answers to your questions—Updated)

August 30, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Famous People, Movies, Television 18 Comments →

Tom Rodriguez photo from the Inquirer.

A few weeks ago, we asked you to post your questions for Tom Rodriguez. We compiled your questions and sent them to him care of Helen Rose Sese, production manager of the monster hit TV show My Husband’s Lover. Yesterday we received Tom’s handwritten and illustrated answers to our virtual grilling.

Thanks to Tom Rodriguez for taking our impertinent questions seriously, Helen Rose Sese for facilitating this “interview”, and Rikki Escudero for making this work.

* * * * *


You’ve been in show business for a few years, doing fine but not spectacularly, and then you play a gay man and your career blows up. How does this make you feel? Would you have preferred to become famous for straight roles?

Tom: First of all, thanks for even saying that I am “famous” (not sure how true it is) but it’s certainly not the goal. I want to grow more as an actor and in my chosen craft and support myself and my family financially. Whichever role can give me both, I’ll gladly take. Although the warm reception I’ve been getting from everyone has been a welcome bonus. Parang icing sa cake.

Noel: What is the gayest thing about you? What is the straightest thing about you?

Tom: Siguro the gayest thing about me is being Vincent when I’m in front of the cameras at tapings for MHL haha. The straightest is everything else.

Your dad is in the military, the land of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” How does he feel about your TV career at present?

Tom: My dad has always supported whatever vocation I wanted to pursue. Especially when it comes to the arts. He says he is really proud of me for taking on the challenge.

Noel: What is the most risque photo shoot you have ever done and where can we see it?

Tom: My pictures siguro for Belo Medical Group. Don’t know if those exact pictures will ever be released, but in a few my pants were accidentally pulled down way lower than expected.

(Cue: Mad googling for aforementioned photos.)

Ricky: If you were a gay man, which guy would you prefer? A. Dennis Trillo. B. Victor Basa. C. Roi Vinzon.

Tom: If I were a gay man, I would choose whoever I was attracted to regardless of age or body build. It’s hard to imagine who I would pick since I can’t picture them in that way. If it comes down to personality, they’re all great people.

Who are your favorite graphic artists? Which comic book character would you like to draw? Would you make major changes to his/her costume?

Tom: My all-time favorite artist is none other than Frank Frazetta. Given the chance, I’d like to do a one-shot of a Superman origin story—I’ve had one in mind as far back as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to address how Clark Kent and Superman can coexist without everyone finding out that they are the same person. The glasses kasi is not enough of an excuse for me.


Ricky: Did you know that your fabulous co-star Chanda Romero had an affair with the openly gay actor Bernardo Bernardo? Has she given you any advice on your portrayal of Vincent?

Tom: She has told me the story and it opened my eyes regarding Vincent as well. It confirmed that it is possible for a gay man and a woman to share something romantically or have a relationship.

wangbumaximus21: If you were offered the role of Daken son of Wolverine, would you accept?

Tom: Of course I would. But in my head I’d rather be Logan. Hehe.

Algernon: Your thoughts on having a gay son of your own. How would you deal?

Tom: I’ve thought about that for a while. My initial reaction was of course to wish for a straight son, but on further reflection, if I were to have a gay son I would still love him and raise him to make a positive contribution to society.

jules: Who is your favorite female comic book character?

Tom: Barbara Gordon. She is just an ordinary girl with no superpowers, yet she is brave enough to fight for what’s right. Hang on, I forgot, she has a superpower. Batgirl has a photographic memory.


allancarreon: DC or Marvel? Which comic book character would you like to portray?

Tom: I can’t pick!!! Please, please don’t make me pick! I love both DC and Marvel. I’d love to play Batman though. I know it’s cliche, but I’m a Batfan. Bruce is such a multifaceted character. I especially love how extremely polar-opposite his code is. He could easily be the most violent of all the DC heroes, yet he has a strict No Guns policy.

allancarreon: You are rapidly becoming a gay icon. Does that make you uncomfortable?

Tom: Ha! Really? I guess I should be flattered, di ba? It means effective yung preparation na ginawa ko for the role.

allancarreon: What cologne or perfume do you use?

Tom: Recently I’ve been using French Connection. The smell is not overwhelming, tama lang.

allancarreon: Will you do more musical theatre after Aladdin?

Tom: I would really love to. They feel like my family! And I have found myself falling in love with the theatre, especially musical theatre. It’s a different feeling performing onstage. The adrenaline rush is like none other. Plus the people in theatre are all genuine.

In what ways are you similar to your character Vincent?

Tom: The way he loves his children is the way I am with my nephews and nieces. We are all like Vincent in a way. We are all trying to do what we think is best for us and the people around us, even if that way may not actually be the truth.

kracle: How has My Husband’s Lover changed your life? Do you get mobbed when you go out?

Tom: I guess you can say people are taking notice of me more than they used to. It’s nice to feel the love from so many people. I am forever thankful and humbled.

kracle: Has the show changed your perspective on gays? How did your mom/girlfriend react to your role?

Tom: It has showed me that gay men are people who go through the same things as everyone else.

kracle: What are your upcoming projects?

Tom: A movie for Viva, Bekikang, and Just The Way You Are for Regal Films. Also Addams Family.

Women, including old ladies, love MHL even if it’s about a man who cheats on his wife with his gay lover. They’re actually rooting for Vincent and Eric to end up together. How weird is that?

Tom: Really shocking. If you’d told me this would happen months ago, I would’ve told you, sternly, “Hey…hey! No…no.” Hehehe. But it just proves that the Filipino viewers are maturing in their tastes.

tom quote

You’ve described yourself as a nerd. Were you popular in school? Were you a jock?

Tom: Well I played sports in high school, but I was also in the computer club. I guess somewhere in between, just a little bit closer to the nerd side.

You’re also a singer. Who are your favorite singers and musicians?

Tom: Eric Clapton, Jeff Buckley, John Mayer, Michael Buble, Jack Johnson, The Beatles.

silentfollower: Would you agree to do a gay sex scene in a film, like Brokeback Mountain or Happy Together?

Tom: Only if the material is really good. An amazing story and the scene is really really necessary for the story to be told faithfully. Brokeback Mountain is the best example of that.

What is the question you are asked all the time? We’re guessing “Have you ever been in a gay relationship?” and “Would you be open to a gay relationship?”

Tom: Those two exactly, and a few others like, “Are you gay? Because you play a gay on the show.” Have I ever been in a gay relationship? No. Am I open to one? No. At least it’s never crossed my mind. Am I gay? No.

You must get hit on by a lot of gay guys. How do you respond to these overtures?

Tom: As long as they can respect the fact that I am a heterosexual male and I am not attracted to other men. Then I thank them politely for the compliment.

Do you also get hit on by women? How do you respond?

Tom: Yes. I blush. Really really blush. Because it’s flattering—siempre that’s every guy’s dream, di ba? Pero you can’t let it get to your head kasi baka in love sila with the idea of you lang instead of who you really are. So hindi pala ikaw ang type nila talaga.

Do you cry at the movies? What are some of the movies that made you cry?

Tom: Di naman talagang iyak na iyak, pero naluha na ako while watching movies. The last time was when I watched Les Miserables.


Do you watch Game of Thrones? What would be the sigil of House Mott? And who do you think will win in the end?

Tom: Ang hirap! Kasi wolf sana kaso naunahan na ako! Hehe. Sana House Stark na lang manalo ng lahat. Sila na lang sa Iron Throne.

You are assigned to man a space station by yourself for a year. You may bring 10 books, comics, videogames, movies or music albums. What are those ten? (Note: He exceeded the limit and we will overlook that.)

Tom: Books: A Song of Ice and Fire series, Dragon Lance, The Illustrated Man, Fragile Things (or any Neil Gaiman book)

Comics: The whole Hellboy series (Mignola is awesome), Batman: The Killing Joke, Sandman series, The Ultimates I and II

Movies: Somewhere in Time, Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element

Videogames: Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid series, Far Cry 3

Music: John Mayer, Where the Light Is

Last question. Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?

Tom: Yes. It’s mathematics. How many planets revolve around our sun, how many stars are in our galaxy, how many galaxies in our universe. Dami di ba? So if there can be one planet inhabited by intelligent beings, then probability tells us that there must be another one like ours somewhere out there.

The End

2 pilosopo watch OTJ

August 29, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 30 Comments →

– Good opening set piece. Exciting.
– Not to mention expensive. Texture, texture, texture!
– It’s Vivian Velez! Ang taroush, sunglasses at kalingkingan lang ang nakikita sa kanya.
– Maybe she’s playing the Maggie Cheung Brigitte Lin character in Chungking Express.
– Yung na-in love si Takeshi Kaneshiro na pulis na kumakain ng expired canned pineapple?
– Yun. Joel Torre is doing the FPJ voice. (rasps) “Isang bala ka lang.”
– Gigil na gigil (overeager) si Gerald Anderson.
– His hitman-in-training character is gigil, so it kind of works.
– Too nice to be a criminal. Ang ganda namang preso niyan. Di kaya siya gawing girlfriend ng buong bilibid?
– Speaking of maganda, here’s Piolo Pascual.
– Why is he wearing a leather jacket?
– It’s an action star tradition. And there’s Rayver Cruz in a matching jacket.
– Piolo’s make-up is too matte.
– Cause he’s the most beautiful agent in the history of the NBI.
– As always, bongga si Angel Aquino.
– Good score.
– The soundtrack makes me feel like I’m in a club. I’d buy the album, but I wish there were less music in the film.
– Every scene is big and loud so it feels like a super highlights reel.
– Uy, Joey Marquez is perfectly cast as a parak. He’s a natural.
– Yeah, casting can be more important than acting. There should be awards for Best Casting Director.
– Apparently in the Cannes version Joey Marquez’s policeman’s family was not onscreen.
– (Agent Piolo chases hitman Gerald through the MRT.) That’s a thrilling chase sequence.
– Ganyan din ang itsura ko after chasing a gunman through the MRT for half an hour.
– That hotel looks very In the Mood for Love.
– Heyyy where did that sex scene come from? It looks like it was grafted on.
– In the Pinoy tradition of inserts.
– Why do I think Leo Martinez’s general-turned-senatorial candidate is a comic role?
(Everyone gasps.)
– I did not see that coming!
– Neither did I!
– I did not see that coming!
– Me neither!

Verdict: Watch.

How do I disentangle myself from the web of corruption without getting eaten by the spiders?

August 28, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 5 Comments →

This letter was posted in Comments by reader wangbumaximus21.

Please bear with this rant. Having worked in a state university for almost 10 years, I can say this for sure: corruption takes so many forms, and it even has a jargon of its own.

Undeserving students get passing grades via “palakasan” or “pakiusap”. If one has connections within the system, she get whatever she wants, with a price to be collected in future dealings. “Mandatory” tickets and even books that are substandard are sold to generate income, but most of the sales go to the “promotor”. The higher-ups implicitly support these crooks, being part of the web of institutional corruption.

I believe corruption is linked to our failure to transcend our “family-oriented” social programming. The painful fact is, our society is moved by families, not individuals. Look at politics, where dynasties dominate. These families treat the public money as their own.

Personally, I don’t want to be part of that web. But it is difficult to challenge the spider if I don’t want to be eaten. So my only relief is to write a journal or a website like this, or to keep silent and hope that change will come. And the prevailing mentality is that insisting on keeping your honor is stupid.

You are lucky to have the means to express your thoughts fully. I make choices, often with bitter results, but I am still part of the web. Choice is a dizzying experience. Eso es todo.

We wish we could give you an answer that isn’t full of platitudes and superficial sound bites, but that would leave us with nothing. We do not have the right to tell you to fight the system at the cost of your career.

The only smidgen of comfort we can offer you is this: You’re not the only one. There are people everywhere who want to do the right thing, only to be told that “This is the way things are” and advised to “grow up”. If being an adult is so repulsive, we choose immaturity.

Don’t stop teaching. Continue to do your work to the best of your ability. Write everything down, but tell no one.

P.S. Bibliotherapy might help. We prescribe Crime and Punishment.


We’ve had C & P on the brain since last night’s private screening of Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan by Lavrentiy Diaztoevsky. It’s brilliant, a movie you feel privileged to have seen. At the same time you sort of wish you hadn’t seen it—it’s so harrowing, we needed two drinks afterwards. Talk about plumbing the depths of despair: old Fyodor would’ve approved (and maybe told him to lighten up). When it opens in cinemas, alcohol should be sold in the snack bar.

Norte asks the questions we’ve been turning over in our minds, including, Why do the good suffer while the bad roam free? Is life a curse? Is freedom a prison? There’s nothing like raking over your soul to make you feel that you have one.

On the podcast: Instant Mommy’s Yuki Matsuzaki on being a street performer, moving to Hollywood, and making a Tagalog movie

August 27, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Podcast 2 Comments →



Eugene Domingo and Yuki Matsuzaki star in Leo Abaya’s romantic comedy Instant Mommy, which opens in theatres tomorrow, August 28.

Yuki is learning Tagalog by taking notes on his phone, and consulting dictionaries.


Yuki: “Pajulit-julit” is like “ulit-ulit”.
Chus: Correct. You add a “j” to make it gay.
Us: You can make words gay by changing the first letter to “j” or “sh”.
Chus: “Pagod” becomes “jogod” and “pangit” becomes “shonget”.
Leo: Then you add “skaya” at the end to make it sound Russian.
Yuki: What does “skaya” mean?
Us: Nothing, it just sounds Russian.
Chus: For example. Pagod na ako. Shogod na ako.
Leo: And you turn “ako” into “akesh” or “aketch”.
Yuki: Shogodskaya na akesh.
Everyone: Very good!

Our podcast with Yuki Matsuzaki is here.

We were right, and it sucks.

August 26, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 22 Comments →


For many years we’ve been saying that people run for office in order to steal. We say it half-jokingly, suspect it to be true, but hope that we are wrong.

Now we’ve confirmed that a massive chunk of our national budget is stolen via the pork barrel. Our taxes, money that should have gone to creating jobs, feeding the hungry, educating the young, building roads, schools and public infrastructure that won’t fall down when it rains, paying our teachers decent wages, supporting our soldiers and funding arts and culture programs, are plundered by the very people we count on to look after our interests, in cahoots with our so-called moral guardians.

It turns out that we were right, and it sucks. Worse, we put many of those thieves in their positions, which means that we have screwed ourselves.


How do we eliminate or even reduce corruption in a culture that enables and rewards it? First, we must reject it. Our silence in the face of recent revelations means that we condone corruption and accept it as a fact of life. That guarantees nothing will change. We may as well give medals to those who have robbed us.

The rally at Quirino Grandstand this morning is not a solution, but a message. The citizens are standing—in the most literal sense—against corruption. Pork barrel, PDAF, whatever you choose to call it, the enemy is corruption. No leaders are necessary because everyone agrees that corruption is foul and must be eradicated. Having no leaders may actually be an advantage—no one should be allowed to use our rage to further their political ambitions.

This is a simple show of numbers. The bigger the crowd, the louder the message: No More Corruption. Make This Happen.

no more

Perhaps it is naive, but Lit majors never underestimate the power of the symbolic gesture. It’s a beginning. See where it goes.

* * * * *
P.S. Our title for today’s rally:


Manila in the 1930s

August 26, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Places 1 Comment →

Thanks to Kevin for the link.