Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a filipino activist, former legislator, and blogger/analyst of southeast asian affairs. he lives in manila

Mongster’s Nest (Blog Archive 2004-09)

Mongster’s Nest is the name of my first blog which I created in 2004. After five years of using the Motime blog platform, I switched to WordPress in 2009. This page summarizes the content of my old blog.

Why Motime? Friends from the College Editors Guild suggested it. It was much later when I realized that Blogspot and WordPress were more popular blog platforms. By that time, I was already very much comfortable with Motime.

Why Mongster’s Nest? I forgot why I chose this blog title. The original name of the blog was Mongrel Thoughts. I once used a famous Gramscian quote for the blog subheading: “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” For more than two years, the blog subheading was “mundane verses, whispering slogans, definitely mongrel thoughts.” Then I changed it into “disturbing fantasies, traumatic verses, definitely mongrel thoughts” which was inspired by my reading of Slavoj Zizek.

The first post was about my family. Then I wrote some articles on education reform, Hacienda Luisita massacre and a survey of my habits as a rallyist. I rarely bore my readers about my everyday life. Sorry but my blog is not an online diary. (I’m old school; I keep a real diary under my bed). I prefer to rant about my views on various topics like traffic, global competitiveness, sex, and Joma Sison.

In 2005 I wrote several articles on the Hello Garci scandal: CNN interviewed me about the controversial audio recording. Who are the deodorant boys of the Arroyo administration? Who is the “real” Garci? I also wrote about the politics involved in estimating the size of rallies. Curious about the names of various anti-Arroyo formations? Who was the mystery pro-Arroyo bishop who cleverly inserted a “killer phrase” in the CBCP statement? What was our immediate reaction when the first serious impeachment case was defeated in the Lower House? I have a battleplan on how to “invade” Malacanang.

In 2006 I criticized Arroyo’s super regions. I also wrote about deadly typhoons, environmental refugees, and green highways. During the first half of 2007 I focused on the midterm elections. I was a blogger-candidate during this period. After the elections, I made numerous articles on human development topics: women legislative agenda, children welfare, kasambahay bill, affordable medicine, debt swap proposal, coping with AIDS, population bill and adolescent sexual health.

I slightly modified my writing style when I started writing a column for UPI-Asia in mid-2007. I often add a few lines about Philippine politics and culture since many readers of UPI-Asia are not familiar with the local context.

In 2008 I began reading Southeast Asian blogs on a daily basis. This inspired me to write articles about the deadly cyclone in Myanmar, Thailand airport blockade, Malaysia’s sex scandals, Singapore’s organ trading, China poison milk tragedy and the lack of solidarity among Southeast Asian nations.

Categories

There are 20 categories in my old blog. I posted Italian film reviews under the arts category. I also wrote about Francis Ford Coppola, Frasier, and Jet Li. I wrote my reviews of these books: Sartre’s Cuba, Althusser’s Machiavelli, Contend’s Neoliberal na Edukasyon, Trollope’s Barsetshire novels. I wrote short pieces on Howard Zinn, Erich Fromm, Cesar Majul and William McNeill. What is the link between Aguinaldo and Imelda? Where to buy good books in Metro Manila?

Congress is the newest category. I blogged about my first week in Congress, committee memberships, first privilege speech, and interpellation on the Right of Reply bill. East Asia refers to articles about other countries in the region. Under the economy category, I tackled the global financial crisis, BPO sector, poverty indicators, viagra and capitalism, bees and economy, rural development, rice shortage, smuggling, hunger, zero VAT on oil, reforming the aid process, malling and migration, and the oil deregulation law.

Election category does not only refer to my 2007 election notes. Read my articles on election fraud in the US, impact of Obama’s victory, understanding surveys, and history of poll (non) automation in the country. Since I was a candidate in 2007, you might be interested to know about our campaign stories through these articles: Candidate survey, Partylist tales, Surviving the campaign, Cybercampaigning, 2007 elections mysterious events, Political dynasty, and Importance of youth vote.

The Fatherhood and Personal posts are obviously related. I wrote this letter to Renee (my eldest child) on the 1st day of election campaigning in 2007. What are some of the Filipino pamahiin on child rearing? I blogged about my first week as a parent. For personal posts, I enjoyed exposing the untruths about the toilets and libraries of my alma mater. Who are my sports idols? Do you know that I’m a Tarcisian? Aside from being an activist lover, I’m also an activist son.

Greens refers to environmental posts in my blog. Check out the worst typhoon disasters in the country. Important read: People’s Protocol on Climate Change. There are alternative solutions to the oil crisis. I’m a fan of organic farming. I also blogged about water scarcity in the country, the state of fisheries, Petron oil spill in Guimaras and the need for disaster preparedness programs.

I also wrote several articles on health issues. Before the spread of A(H1N1), there was a virus scare in the region. Organ trade victimizes the poor in the Philippines. Bakit ba may Jollibee sa loob ng Heart Center? Introducing, the country’s practical nurses and the nursing medics. Politicians propose to tax beauty operations. A critique of the Cheaper Medicines Law, and understanding the high drug prices in stores. The importance of breastfeeding. Remembering the Sports for All program of the Ramos administration. Impact of E-VAT on my eating habits. I love watercress.

Media refers both to traditional and new media posts. For mainstream media, I wrote about the role of journalists in defending human rights. The government-media feud and the de facto all-out war versus media point to the sad state of press freedom in the country. ABS-CBN is still the network to beat. Nag-aaway pa ba ang Iglesia at Ang Dating Daan? Palaban pa ba ang DZRH? I support the ‘turn-off the TV’ campaign. I’m a former radio host.

New media posts refer to my views on Text activism and the practice of blogging. A summary of Txtpower initiatives and the issue of vanishing load. As a former news editor of an online portal, I discussed the impact of blogging on how we consume and produce news stories. The relationship of internet and elections. The potential and limit of social media and activism. In defense of blogging: Blogismo and Blog me if you can. I have been skeptical about the uses of new media tools in promoting change. The Right of Reply bill also affects bloggers. Check out my blog habits.

Nation category

This is the principal category of my blog. Topics are mostly about the presidency, congress and other major government institutions and political events.

Here are my essays comparing Pres. Arroyo with her predecessors – Gloria and Fidel, Marcos and Arroyo, Cory and Gloria, Erap and Gloria. And judgment on her nine-year rule: Reviewing Arroyo’s promises, Seven years of Arroyo, Opposition and Gloria, Velvet Revolution and Gloria.

On former presidents – Marcos-Japan (or the similarity between comfort women and martial law human rights victims), Marcos as scapegoat, Erap guilty verdict, and Erap’s beauty queen.

SONA articles – Sona in numbers 2007, Sona through the years, Sona 2006, and Sona preview.

I wrote these posts about the legislative branch of government before I became a member of Congress – Brokeback politics (fall of De Venecia), Politics of Pork, Reformist speaker? (Nograles), Bombastic (bombing of Batasan), 13-14 (2007), Congress back to work (2005), Interview with the vampires, Deodorant boys (spice boys), and Barangay politics,

Yearend posts – Newsmakers of 2007, Political words of 2007, and Naughty and Nice persons of 2006.

About the Hello Garci episode and the political crisis it generated – Imonitor (impeachment), CBCP code, Transition council, Hello Edgar, Grand old man (Guingona), Dovie Beams and Garci, Gameplan (attacking the Malacanang Palace), To the streets (post-impeachment), PGH Ward 7 (for Raul Gonzales), Dodong Nemenzo, Hello Garci again (2006).

On Charter Change – Con-Ass (2006), Plebiscite question, and Raul Pangalanan on ChaCha.

On the NBN-ZTE scandal – Corrupt nation, Neri and Karina, Jun Lozada, and Corruption and the presidency

On population development – RH bill, Abortionists, and Population debate.

On the human rights situation – Rights and wrongs, Universal Periodic Review, We are no different from Myanmar.

Language and politics – In other words, Impunity, Super republika, and Supernation

Other articles – War and dissent (Philippine-American war), Filipino Obama, Sentimental Nationalists (MOA-AD), More hatred needed in Mindanao, Ideal victims, Nuclear experience, Festivals and politics, Spratlys dispute, Divine interventions (church and politics), Other Filipinos (IP community), Human Security Act, Manny Messiah (Pacquiao), ASEAN summit in Cebu, Sons and politicians, Cebu hospitality, Numbers and politics, 9/16 (VFA), Politics as spectacle, Vanity politics, Real meddlers (USA), Open the gates (of Forbes Park), Landlords of Hacienda Luista.

Spaces of resistance

Place is my favorite category. Re-reading the posts in this category made me realize that I seem to be an ardent student of geography and politics. Or maybe it is the effect of reading the books of David Harvey.

I wrote several articles about Metro Manila and the dynamics of space and politics: Ebolusyon ng Metro Manila, Loob-Labas, Metro Manila and deregulation, His manila, Their Manila, Our Manila (review of Nick Joaquin’s book), Imperial Manila, Urban facelift, and National Roads.

There are also posts on specific places: Recto-Doroteo Jose LRT, ARMM in the time of Ampatuans, Malling Republic, Tulay Lupa (inspired by Jose Saramago’s novel: The Stone Raft), Towers of desolation (billboard suicides), Super Cities, Freedom parks, unlikely neighbors, The cry of Bonifacio, Fake Capital (Recto-Mendiola), Vortex of evil (oil depot-Makati-Malakanyang), New u-belt, North Triangle, and Pantranco bus station.

On geo-politics: Is the Philippines part of South East Asia?, Sometimes the world is flat, and Symbolic fences in a borderless world.

Speeches

I discussed my experience as election candidate in 2007 at De La Salle Greenhills and PUP Sta Mesa. I gave my tribute speech to Ka Bel in 2008. I gave a talk on the youth and education situation at Ateneo Naga and UP Los Banos. I explained my opposition to the proposed Charter Change at the QC Hall. My perspectives on the national situation delivered at the University of Makati, CARAGA, St Scholastica Marikina, and Miriam College. I addressed our members for the 2010 elections in Davao and Manila. I’m a proud ‘member’ of Anakbayan.

Rallies and Reds

I wrote two articles about Joma Sison: Red-One and Joma@70. The Philippine revolution is already Southeast Asia’s longest insurgency. On tactics: Bundok, Dagat, Pulitika; Labanan sa Tubigan, and Losing the War.

The ‘war on terror’ discourse was used by the state to intensify repression in the countryside: I see terrorist people, War and Piss, Terror in the City, Killing Fields, Who’s Afraid of the Left?, Total war and killing fields.

The MMDA is a brutal arm of the state. Meanwhile, the prospect of a rice revolution. What happened in 20th century Philippines? Resistance in the ‘looban’. People Power in 1986 and 2001.

Asserting human rights. Who are the ‘other’ radicals? Who are the militants? Seeing red

I joined these rallies in San Francisco, California: End wars, Obama’s 1st day, Gaza attack, LGBT discrimination, immigration reform.

Mendiola should remain a freedom park. What are the memorable rallies of 2005? Street tactics and battle of the streets. Different names for different groups in the Anti-Arroyo campaign. The politics of estimating crowds.

Travel

Trips made more memorable because of these travelogues: Bicol, Butuan, Cebu, Pililla, Southern Mindanao, Dumaguete, and Iloilo. Bloggers trip in Pampanga hosted by Governor Among Ed. The mysterious balikbayan box of overseas workers. I was able to visit many provinces during the 2007 elections: From Laoag to Laoang, On the rough road, Up up and away. In 2004, I stayed in a remote village in the north.

Workers

Stories of the working classes and marginalized groups in society. I wrote about the Carper law voting, history of peasant revolts in the Philippines, and land reform during the incumbency of Gloria Arroyo.

There were several articles on the 2008 financial crisis and its impact of the poor: US Chapter 11 bankruptcy law and Marx’s Thesis 11, war vs depression, and global unemployment.

I argued in favor of P125 wage hike. I blogged about the various celebrations during the month of May, especially Labor Day. I listed several labor education conventions. I featured the proposed Kasambahay Bill. Teachers are the real and original ‘Philippine Idols’.

What is the impact of exporting our working class? I met many nannies in Hong Kong. I interviewed workers and bus drivers in Cavite EPZA.

Some objects are mysterious. Beware of shoes as a political weapon. Why are veterans important? Prison conditions are appalling. The ship of state is sinking. Excess and lack in economics and poverty system losses. Anger displaced. And the lonely scenes at the airport’s departure and arrival gates

Review of women legislation, women agenda, and what exactly is gender neutral language? Speaking of outstanding women personalities, meet the ‘queen of the house’?

Fastfood outlets inside the Philippine Heart Center? What’s the meaning of practical nurses?
Analyzing the ‘alien immigration bill’ in the US. Workers exist. And do you know ‘win natong buwang’?

Youth

In 2005, I wrote a Filipino youth situationer which was discussed in an international conference. I researched the history of the UP Student Council from its early years (1913-50), the transfer to Diliman (1951-68), the First Quarter Storm era, the anti-Martial Law struggle, and up to the mid-1980s.

There are many ways to define the Filipino youth: the Generation Peace, the committed generations, and Txtpower.

I wrote about youth leaders and role models like Amirah Lidasan, the Maco 4, Albior and Biwang, Roco, and the anti-Arroyo student heckler.

I featured the Penshoppe campaign, the Jollibee kid promo, the ban on street basketball, and promotion of child friendly governments.

Who won: the Bright Boys or the Spice Boys?

What are some of the children issues during the Arroyo years? How did I become an activist?

Format

During the early years of my blogging career, my self-imposed minimum words per article was 500; then I increased it to at least 800. To encourage readers to visit my past articles, I linked about 2-3 related posts below every blog essay. There were link formats which I was not able to sustain: “A year ago in Mongster’s Nest” directs readers to articles I wrote during the previous year. I tried integrating pictures in posts but I found it tiresome. “GV links” highlight the interesting topics that I have been posting on Global Voices. I have rarely changed the design, theme, template and sidebar widgets of my blog.

Thank you for the patience in reading this long introduction of my old blog.