The Opium Team

The Daily Opium is not the work of one person. What began as an idea in social media of an outlet for intelligent and informed conversation was quickly picked up by a number of people who volunteered their time and energy to make this blog a reality.

The current TDO Editorial Board


Mark Sherwin Castronuevo Bayanito (@maaarrko) is a multitasker who can do many things, yet a master of none. He loves the urban life, the bustle and hustle of the city, and its mysteries. He is also fascinated by the complexities of identity, language, and discourse.

He is a pure-blooded yet non-speaking Ilocano who grew up in General Santos City (and happens to not speak its dominant languages: Hiligaynon and Cebuano). You can speak to him in English or Filipino, or help him practice conversing in French, Italian, and Bahasa Indonesia.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman. While awaiting his next academic adventure, he currently is an accidental peace advocate and government employee at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.


Jaconiah Shelumiel T. Manalaysay (@jayczster) is your resident social scientist. A frustrated debater since high school, he loves to question everything handed to him, such as his belief that there maybe a possibility for aliens to exist, but there has to be undeniable evidence. Crop circles and Greek gods do not even come close. And a hit show ain’t enough.

His research interests include international relations, transnational organizations, foreign policy, global civil movements, and the enigma that is John F. Kennedy, among others. When not staring blankly into space debating with himself on topics of politics, you may find him geeking out over your weird topic of avoidance: game shows. He can spend a whole weekend watching old game shows and analyzing the most minute, yet salient, details; and he can spend a longer time talking about it. Do not provoke.

A graduate of Political Science from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, he is currently a Masters Candidate in Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he is finishing his thesis on Philippine Foreign Policy on the Sabah claim. Your resident politologist at heart, he is currently affiliated as a Research Fellow in the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) in the National University.


Credit: DepEd Region IV-B

Michael Julian V. Manangu (@michaelmanangu) was a self-described brain-for-hire when he started out in the professional world, but after growing weary of the contract researcher’s life, he put down roots in the Department of Education (DepEd). His current role in DepEd has him crafting, managing, and advocating for policies that promote evidence-based decision making from DepEd Central Office down to the remotest schools.

Partly by circumstance and by choice, he is an ideological outsider who alternates between diving into his digital stash of Gramsci, Freire, and Polanyi – and then devouring articles from “radical center” media outlets such as Vox and the The Atlantic. Though rooted in political science and progressive politics, he has always advocated a pragmatic multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving, drawing insights from all the social sciences. His current academic interests include social movements, political participation, social protection, and education reform.

Michael graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of the Philippines – Diliman, and is currently taking up an MA in the same discipline from the same university.


Yvan Ysmael Yonaha (+YvanYsmaelYonaha) regularly suffers from existential dread and epistemological confusion making erratic behavior a regular in the drama which is his life. He is engaged in writing because of a genuine curiosity for everything ‘sciency’ (social and natural), the desire to inform and converse but usually because of burning wrath for those who over-simplify, misrepresent or lie about complex realities in his social media feeds.

He is a graduate from the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of the Philippines – Diliman and is currently writing his Master’s Thesis for an MA Philippine Studies (Major in Development Studies) degree from the same university. He is an avid fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, Pierre Bourdieu,  and Michel Foucault while enjoying a love-hate relationships with Hegel, Marx, Lenin and Mao. As a petty bourgeois, in the typical Sison fashion, he usually vacillates among viewpoints. For some this is a class sin, but for him it is an intellectual wandering.

He is currently a member of the faculty in the Department of Social Sciences in the University of the Philippines – Los Baños. Fancying himself to be flourish in different environments, he has also worked in the Ateneo de Manila University, the National Anti-Poverty Commission and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina. His research interests include religion, democracy, decentralization, and international studies.