Monday, 30 May 2016 Brussels Belgium

Las Damas de Rizal Convention in Brussels
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 08:00    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail


Brussels, 23 May 2016. --- Ambassador Victoria Bataclan, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union, was guest of honor at the 2nd European Convention of the Las Damas De Rizal which was held at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel in Brussels, Belgium, on 21 May 2016.

Ambassador Bataclan enjoined members of the Las Damas de Rizal to continue educating themselves in the teachings and works of Dr. Jose Rizal so that they will be able to discern how best to serve each other and the entire society. She reminded everyone that our National Hero would always have guiding words for everyone and for every circumstances.

The Convention, which featured the theme “Commitment of the Past, Believer of the Future”  was attended by Las Damas de Rizal chapters of the following:  (1) Paris led by Lady Lina Brosas, its Founder and head; (2) Prague led by Lady Jeanette Cueto, President;  (3) Monaco led by Lady Alice Reyes, President,  (4) Heidelberg led by Lady Charlote Lovenich, President and (5) Belgium led by its President, Lady MaryAnn Ballesteros and its Vice-President, Lady Elena Caronongan.

The afternoon session featured Dr. Carmela Caballero speaking about Portraits of Women’s Success.   Dr. Caballero is a Filipina surgeon doing cancer research in Belgium.   It also had Ms. Therese Ann Villanueva, a Management Consultant of the KBC Group of Companies speaking about Women’s Journey in the 3rd Millenium and Lady Jeanette Cueto of Prague tackling Dr. Rizal’s Letter to the Women of Malolos.  Brief messages were also delivered by Lady Alice of Monaco, Lady Charlote of Heidelberg, Sir Leo of Paris, Sir Hantjie Garcia of KOR Aalst and Cultural Officer  Faith Bautista of the Philippine Embassy.   Fr. Carmelo Horlador, MSP, was another guest of the event.

An evening gala capped the Convention and showcased a Search for Maria Clara, a popular character in Dr. Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere”.  The contestants responded to questions epitomizing Maria Clara and her relevance to the modern world.   Lady Carmelita Organo of Belgium won the title.

The Convention also featured the investiture of a new member, Lady Juliette Dulnuan of Belgium.

The Las Damas de Rizal chapters also commemorated the 125th Anniversary of the printing of the novel El Filibusterismo in Ghent by having a visit to the Rue Philippe de Champagne where Dr. Rizal lived from 28 March 1890 to 23 July 1891 and to the F. Meyer Van Loo Press at 66 Vlaanderen Street in Ghent where the El Filibusterismo was printed in 1891 on 22 May 2016.


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Laboratory Bohol Visits Embassy
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 08:03    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail



Ambassador Victoria Bataclan, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, received architects  Charlotte Lao Schmidt of Germany and Dieter Leyssens of Belgium when they visited the Philippine Embassy on 19 May 2016 to present their project called "Laboratory Bohol" or Lab Bohol in the Philippines.

Laboratory Bohol is a group of young architects; Charlotte Lao-Schmidt of Germany, Dieter Leyssens of Belgium, Sebastian Latz of Germany and Georgios Eftaxiopoulos of Greece who pooled together their talents in order to assist specific areas in Bohol such as the municipality of Jagna, Barangay Larapan, Balicasag Island Resort etc. by way of architectural inventions, urban studies and socio-economic events.

At present, Laboratory Bohol has the following projects in different areas of Bohol:

1.      Larapan Spring

2.      Bulilis Book Bakery

3.      Reservoir School

4.      Purok Prize

5.      Balicasag Island

6.      Tourist Office Port

7.      Alf house

8.      Seaside Restaurant

Laboratory Bohol aims to utilize the talents and expertise of young European architects/designers/artists for targeted projects on specific locations/regions in the context of a globalized world.   It is about creating synergies and developing relations.  It is about lessening inequality.   This group of architects believes in the opportunities present in the Philippines and cites the country's robust growth as well as its (the Philippines) involvement in the climate change 'movement' as strong motivators of their involvement in this Project/s.

Ambassador Bataclan presented the visitors with numerous possible opportunities to widen their scope and with relevant contacts to expand their network.

Laboratory Bohol is in close collaboration with the Habitat Unit of the Technical University of Berlin which is the official partner in the Habitat Partner Universities Initiative of the UN Centre for Human Settlements.


‘SINULOG’ in Kortrijk
Friday, 20 May 2016 07:37    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail

Brussels, 17 May 2016. --- Brussels PE personnel shared a proud moment with other Filipinos in the Flanders area when residents of the City of Kortrijk, Belgium were treated to a “Sinulog” experience during the closing day of the “Sinksen Festival” in Kortrijk on 16 May 2016.

Ninety (90) residents of Kortrijk and the surrounding towns, including three (3) Filipinos participated in the revelry which featured Sinulog music, Sinulog moves and Sinulog-inspired costumes of different varieties.   The groups roamed the streets of Kortrijk and delighted both onlookers and passers-by.   A large audience, who could probably be seeing the ‘Sinulog’ for the first time, filled the streets of Kortrijk and the Grote Markt (Big Market) where the groups joined together for a culminating performance.

Mr. Stijn Van Dierdonck,  Kortrijk’s officer in charge of North-South Cooperation and the Directorate for Peoples and Society said that he drew his inspiration from the ‘Sinulog’ Festival of Cebu which he first came to visit in 2011.

In February of this year, the City of Kortrijk invited two (2) choreographers from the Philippines to teach choreographers about the principles, history, moves, music, costumes etc of the Sinulog Festival.   The local choreographers trained their own ‘cell’ and taught them their adapted version of the Sinulog music and dance.   The cells merged together and came up with a Sinulog-inspired parade as they end the Sinksen Festival in Kortrijk on 16 May.

The Festival, which ran from 13 to 16 May 2016 is being organized during the Pentecost weekend to provide the residents of Kortrijk and its visitors with an opportunity to relax and enjoy while sharing their talents in music, songs, dances, arts, etc. to other members of the City.

Kortrijk has  a ‘sister-city’ agreement with the Province of Cebu.

Filipinos who joined the Sinulog performance were proud to have shown a bit of the Philippines in this European capital.


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MASAYA Choir performs at Poperinge
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 15:46    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail


MASAYA Choir of Virlanie Foundation performs at Poperinge

Brussels, 14 May 2016. ---    Philippine Embassy personnel representing Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, H.E. Victoria Bataclan, joined around a hundred Belgian benefactors and sponsors in an exclusive concert of the Masaya Choir of the Virlanie Foundation at the "Trefhuis" hall at De Lovie in Poperinge, Belgium on 14 May 2016.

Twenty-three (23) children and young adults, aged 10 to 23, from the different Virlanie Homes delighted the audience with their refreshing renditions of inspirational songs as well as Filipino folk and ethnic songs from Luzon (Manang Biday, Pen pen di sarapen, Kalesa), Visayas (Ang alibangbang, Ili-ili tulog anay, Waray-waray) and Mindanao (Pong-pong piyangaw).

Ms. Ma. Lourdes V. Hermo, Choirmaster, skillfully steered the children throughout the concert and displayed the children's passion for music as they sang, danced and even imitate animal sounds.  Ms. Hermo, an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, is a professor of music at St. Scholastica's College and is a former Choirmaster of the Ateneo College Glee Club. Ms. Hermo is being assisted by Margarette Kean Villarin, a Bachelor of Music, Cum Laude graduate of St. Scholastica's College, Manila.

Ms. Najee Chua, Choir coordinator, said that the Choir was created in August 2004 when they had to perform at a benefit dinner in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Hanover.  Since then, the Choir had sung at more than seventy (70) events.   This year's tour, their third in Europe, would cover thirteen (13) cities in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.

Mr. Albert Barroo, President and Ms. Johanna Vandamme, Secretary General of Enfance Tiers Monde, respectively, and organizers of the concert in Belgium are happy that the reactions to the Choir's performances are all overwhelming.  They see the concerts as another way to develop the children's self-esteem, assertiveness and confidence.  These children are either street children who now live in Virlanie Homes or children from urban poor communities.

Among the Choir's achievements are a Spring Tour in 2013 in France, a Spring Tour in 2015 in Belgium and France, singing for French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault and his wife when they've visited the Philippines in 2012,  being one of the Filipino Choir representatives at the World Choral Day 2012, and a performance at a reception to honor Andrea Casiraghi, member of the Royal Monegasque family in 2006.

The Virlanie Foundation is a non-government organization helping street children in Metro Manila.  It was founded in 1992 by Dominique Lemay, a French social worker who was, in April 2014, awarded Knighthood in the French Legion d'honneur for his twenty-six (26) years of work with the street children of the Philippines.


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St. Josse Dinner Event for Binalonan
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 15:33    Bookmark and Share PDF Print E-mail

Ambassador Bataclan Calls for Solidarity at St Josse Dinner Event for Binalonan

Brussels, 25 April 2016. ---    Ambassador Victoria  Bataclan,  Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union attended the event "Repas de Solidarite pour les Philippines" (Meals of Solidarity for the Philippines) which was organized by the Commune of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode for Binalonan, Pangasinan on 23 April 2016 at the Crowne Plaza in Brussels, Belgium.

Speaking before 200 Belgian and Filipino friends and benefactors of the commune  including the Association  of Pangasinense in Belgium, Ambassador Bataclan expressed her appreciation to the organizers led by Deputy Mayor for International Relations and Cooperation Mr Eric Jassin Ramdani.  She also thanked the attendees and rallied everyone to ascribe to solidarity for a better world.   She urged the Commune of Saint-Josse and the people of Pangasinan to keep the friendship going and to serve each other and the world.

The dinner-event 'with a mission' featured Asian food and Filipino entertainers John Florencio, pianist and Dennis Astorga, tenor, both based in Paris.

Since 2014, the Commune of Saint-Josse and Binalonan has a 'sister -city agreement' (a cooperation protocol). Officials from both places exchange visits ever year.  Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, with Deputy Mayor Jassin,  supports such projects as Provision of Mobile Stores and the Creation of an Activity Centre/Central Municipal Library in Binalonan.  The two communities continue to explore possible areas of cooperation.


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Philippine Embassy in Brussels


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