Mendiola Street and Avelino Hall, Centro Escolar University
San Miguel, Manila

The last entry was about the abbey church of San Beda College. Last month I have also posted something about Centro Escolar University. SBC and CEU are neighbors across Mendiola Street, a famous venue for street protests.

2 other colleges along Mendiola Street- College of the Holy Spirit and La Consolacion College Manila complete the list of the 4-member academic group named The Mendiola Consortium, a group that advocates academic cooperation by combining their manpower and resources for better education and public service. The consortium has been around since 1974.

These 4 form the Mendiola block of the core University Belt in Manila. Manila’s traditional University Belt is the subdistrict where the districts of San Miguel, Quiapo, Santa Cruz and Sampaloc meet. If combined with the Intramuros cluster and the Taft Avenue stretch within Manila, the wider University Belt will have University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Sampaloc on the northernmost end, Arellano University (AU) on the easternmost end, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (CSB) in Malate on the southernmost end and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) in Intramuros on the westernmost end. That area is huge, stretches to almost 2/3s of Manila’s length, and that’s a lot of students, angry and energetic youth.

Malacañan Palace, the official residence of the Philippine President, sitting on the other end of Mendiola Street may be the sorry recepient of the student’s awareness in national issues. But the apathetic youth today may be harassed more when the angry mob take Mendiola to let the President hear their issues.

Out of the last 5 presidents that stayed in Malacañan, Mendiola was only protest-free during Fidel Ramos’ term. When I think of student protests, I always remember the image of that student in Tiananmen Square courageously facing the battle tank. I was surprised, in a really good emo way, that Mendiola had similar heroes.  Four student demonstrators died in the so-called Battle of Mendiola Bridge in January 1970, under Ferdinand Marcos.

Corazon Aquino’s slate isn’t exactly clean. In 1987, 10000 peasant farmers stormed Mendiola demanding an efficient land reform program. The injury of around a hundred and the death of 13 earned this encounter the title Mendiola Massacre. To know more on this tragic event, click on this Wikipedia article.

Because of this tragic event, demonstrations in Mendiola have been banned (so they have Ayala Avenue,  Mabuhay Rotonda, etc now?). But the power struggle at the sudden end of Estrada’s reign and the immediate rule of Arroyo in 2001 caused a rampage in Mendiola of supporters, fans, and like the EDSA 2 concert, normally apathetic people who feel the need to be part of history. Casualties are high among the mob, the police and the military. Aside from this, the street itself and properties within the vicinity have been severely damaged.

In 2007, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Movement of Philippine Peasants) installed a granite marker in Quezon City’s Bantayog ng mga Bayani. The southern half of Mendiola is still with gates and heavily guarded. Protests have been allowed by Manila mayor Alfredo Lim as of January 2008 but they should be limited to the area surrounding Mendiola landmark and on weekends and holidays only. So student’s won’t miss their classes?

This entry is draining. Ice cream, neone?