When two people from different sides of the world… chat…

8 05 2009

… my first most personal and probably my first (and last!)  “Tagalog-English” Post…

 I had a chance to actually sit down and converse with a friend I met in Amsterdam, he is Mihai, a true-blooded Romanian. (though I can’t seem to remember his last name…)

 Anyway, we had this chit-chat through YM, he’s name appears as “Black Legion” and mine is “ako Balmonte” (it’s so laaaaammee, I know!) … so, our conversation went something like:


Black Legion: my classmates are not alowed to enter

Black Legion: in romania

Black Legion: In spring 1940 Western Europe was overrun by Nazi Germany, with world attention focused on those events. On June 26, 1940, the USSR issued an ultimatum to Romania, demanding immediate cession of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Romania was given four days to evacuate its troops and officials.

Black Legion: On August 2, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established on most of the territory of Bessarabia, merged with the western parts of the former Moldavian ASSR.

Black Legion: because in Moldavia the governemnt is russian

Black Legion: they escaped here

Black Legion: to learn romanian

Black Legion: Moldavia is romanian country

ako Balmonte: i see… so what happened to your classmate? …

ako Balmonte: is it, if i may use the term, chaotic in their place? …

Black Legion: yap

Black Legion: they are not allowed to pass the border

ako Balmonte: that’s so sad…

ako Balmonte: what’s the government doing? …

Black Legion: killing and torturing

Black Legion: and stuff

Black Legion: they banned romanian flags

Black Legion: closed the romanian coonsulate and embassy

ako Balmonte: oh…

ako Balmonte: that’s so cruel…

ako Balmonte: wow, i thought all the while that it’s peaceful there…

Black Legion: they are russian puppets”

 All through-out the short-lived conversation I was saying to myself: “May gulay! Dugong-dugo ilong ko dito… pati utak ko na liquefy na… gusto ko lang naman siya tanungin kungnakuha na niya yung Stranger DVD niya pero hindi ko masingit sa usapan…  (Ayoko mag generalize pero very passionate ang mga Romanians ha, at matalino…  though relative naman yun… imagine, alam nila yung mga nangyari sa history natin about Marcos and all that samantalaang ako walang maisip sa bansa nila!) Nag research pa ako sa internet para lang maintindihan yung pinagsasabi niya… ish… Everytime na magchachat kami, laging na bro-brought up yung mga ganitong sitwasyon… yung war… war?!… kakatakot naman sa place nila… tapos sabi pa niya parang sa atin rin lang na may Abu Sayyaf (hala alam niya to?! WTF!… ang galing! … ) ” and that’s juts a part of the whole conversation!

 Then he keeps talking about military stations, nuclear depo’s, and all the other stuff I sometimes wish I fully understand! … it’s not that I’m stupid or anything, maybe partly… he he he… but hey at least there’s some new learning found in between all those too technical terms.

 “Ang mahirap pa, hindi pwedeng malalim na inglesan kasi hirap din siya mag ingles… hays… pero kahit ganoon, hindi ko siya masisis kasi nga naman mas fluent siya sa language nila at alam naman natin ang mga Europeans na may policy na parang ‘you-come-to-our-country-learn-our-language’ thing… ”

 As I was about to bring up the real reason why I wanted to talk to him, which was the DVD, he said he had to go. Awww, well that’s life. I had a great time anyway and learned a lot, even though it meant a few “nosebleeds” here and there.

 Lesson learned: Research as much as you need to know and be updated of the country of your foreign friend. But most importantly know more about your own country. Nothing beats an ignorant person to the pulp but not knowing his people’s history. It’s a very embarrassing experience for me but at least I learned my lesson.

 I’m still excited to talk to other friends I met there. There’s Karim, from Egypt;

Tavi, also from Romania but in a different province from Miahai’s;

and other young people too. But right now, I need to take in blood-forming vitamins. Oh yeah, here are other friends I’m excited to have some talk with…



Interns Needed… in Amsterdam!

30 01 2009

Got this from the newsletter that was sent to me through e-mail …

Basically, the organizers form Strangers Festival are looking for new interns, of which, are described below…

The description of what Stranger Festival is and what’s going to happen are also stated in detail…


Stranger is looking for a new intern

“StrangerFestival is Europe’s biggest event for young video makers and their fans. StrangerFestival empowers young people in Europe to explore themselves and others through making and sharing videos. The highlight is the international festival in Amsterdam gathering over 300 foreign video makers and media professionals together with a large Dutch audience.”

The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) would like to invite a student of cultural, communications or media studies to join our team as an intern for three days a week for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 9 months, starting 16 February 2009 (starting date is negotianable). Applicants must be registered students in a higher education institution throughout the course of the internship. Studies of an international character or international experience are seen as an asset. Important: the intern must have a valid work permit for the Netherlands, according to Dutch Labour Law.

The European Cultural Foundation (ECF, www.eurocult.org) is an independent foundation supporting cultural cooperation and advocating strong cultural policies for Europe. The ECF believes in the enriching experience of diversity, and in the power of culture to promote mutual understanding and respect. The ECF was founded in 1954 and is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The internship will take place in Amsterdam, within the StrangerFestival team at the ECF. StrangerFestival builds on the ECF´s 6-year experience from the international youth video project TheOneMinutesJr www.theoneminutesjr.org.

StrangerFestival believes in young people’s democratic rights for self-expression now — not only as citizens of tomorrow. Videos made by young people have a groundbreaking potential to show unique worlds and views and therefore build a more exciting image of Europe today. As more and more young people gain affordable access to the Internet, strangers are only a click away.

For more information: http://www.strangerfestival.com


As an intern, you will be involved in helping to develop and coordinate the StrangerFestival. After the first edition the project focuses on consolidating existing partnerships, integrating the analyzed results and building new partnerships, the touring exhibition and the focus group. At the end of February the educational DVD of the StrangerFestival will be released (10.000 copies) and being distributed to partners, school and other professionals in the field of media and audiovisual work.

The internship offers the potential to acquire new insights into the world of the media and skills for working in an international and intercultural setting. The internship involves the following working areas:

a. Gaining experience from producing events (video workshops, Stranger Festival)
b. Assisting in the daily coordination of the StrangerFestival
c. Mapping of European youth and media organisations and platforms which ECF could work with and creating a database of contacts
d. Assisting in the communications of StrangerFestival and theoneminutesjr
e. Participating in ECF’s activities related to developing the youth and media programme

The internship also includes research on a topic related to youth expression. The intern will receive a gross fee of 375 Euros per month, based on 3 days per week, from which the internship provider will pay the social security premiums and wage tax and national insurance contributions that are due .The intern will ensure that he/she is covered by third-party and health insurance during the internship.

Profile of the intern

We are looking for an intern who:
– is interested in and has first-hand experience of youth and popular cultures
– is fluent in English and at least one other language
– has good and proven communication and organisational skills
– has a genuine interest in cultural diversity and Europe
– is computer-literate (Word, Excel, Power Point, preferably experience with CMS and HTML)

Application procedure

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter (in English) before 31 January 2009 via e-mail or mail to:

Raya Ribbius
Jan van Goyenkade 5
1075 HN Amsterdam
The Netherlands

The letter should explain your motivation for applying for the internship. The interviews will take place during the first two weeks of February in Amsterdam. For further information, please contact Ms Raya Ribbius raya@eurocult.org or Giusy Chierchia giusy@eurocult.org

NB: living in Amsterdam is expensive and accommodation can be hard to find. Please consider this when applying.


Yup folks, it’s open to any one who meets their requirements … and for those who have the “resources” in this economically-challenging times, it’s always a blessing to share… he he he … 😉

Amsterdam Diary

8 10 2008

ha ha ha! …

well, here’s the edited diary I have when I went to Amsterdam…

Thank goodness it was edited…

the actual text really looked and sounded crap…

Well, folks here it is …

(hope we finish the report! … 😉 )

from the KNN WEBSITE:

Kirk’s Amsterdam Diary

An account of Kirk Anthony Balmonte’s trip to Amsterdam to attend the Stranger Festival last July 3-5, 2008.

July 2, 2008

I’m already here in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and guess what, even at 10 in the evening, it’s still looks like the sun’s not yet ready to call it a day! The Dutch must really have LONG days, literally.

The flight from Manila to Amsterdam took more than 13 hours, and my butt really hurts. But the ride was exciting, and for someone who rode a plane for the first time it was also nerve-racking. When I finally arrived at the Schiphol Airport, I kind of got lost. Fortunately, a young man from the Stranger Festival staff saw me and led me to a nice group of Swedish teens.

July 3, 2008

My roommates were two Romanians who are also teenagers, a Lebanese and a Belgian adult. Most of the time, I hanged out with the Egyptian, whose name by the way is Karim. We’re the only guys who are with UNICEF who did the OneMinutes workshop in our home countries.

After having a big Dutch breakfast, we headed out to explore the festival area and a bit of Amsterdam. Karim and I walked along the city’s main thoroughfares. Amsterdam is a beautiful city for many reasons. For one, it’s clean. There isn’t really much pollution because they mostly use bicycles instead of cars. Their public transportation are trams and buses, adding to a clean environment. Second, is because of the preservation of its traditional buildings. In almost every corner, you will see buildings in their natural yet stunning appeal, reflecting beauty that comes with old age. We also saw coffee shops selling marijuana, and prostitution shops were prominent in a section of Amsterdam.\

At dinner time we headed out to Westergasfabriek, where the Strangers Festival’s main events took place. The opening program was held in an arena with video projections all around. Dutch artist “Ego-man”, who can edit music and videos with just the use of his joints and techno-suit, showed some of this work that added to the night’s flair of teenage-techno-party. After the program, we all headed back to our hotels, excited for what the following days still had to offer.

July 4, 2008

Fun-filled activities, here we come!

After our usual morning routines, Karim and I headed to Westergasfabriek via 2 trams, which took one hour from our hotel. We visited the Gashouder building, where the Strangers Exhibition was. This is an area where all the videos nominated and cited were shown for the public to watch. Then all of a sudden, our video “Breath of Freedom” which was nominated in the Inside-out category, was being played as the background of a Wii game.

For dinner, we travelled to Rotterdam, a city beside Amsterdam, to dine in a Japanese restaurant. This is immediately followed by a party featuring famous Dutch rappers.

July 5, 2008

The final day of the Strangers Festival was loaded with workshops. Prior to flying to The Netherlands, UNICEF enlisted me to two of the numerous workshops in the festival. One was “Reality Check” – a workshop where a panel of video professionals view and critique films, and another was “Making the Video, Making the Money” – a workshop focusing on how creative videos earn revenue.

The first workshop was, in a way, terrifying. It’s not always easy to be in front of a lot of people with comments incessantly being thrown at you. It made me feel like a reality show contestant. But thank God, aside from some minor flaws they noticed, they were impressed by the video. A judge from the Netherlands’ MTV awards seven said that “Breath of Freedom” was also short listed in the top 10 of the MTV awards.

In the afternoon, I hurried to “Making the Video, Making the Money” workshop spearheaded by John Nota of Zideo.com. Popular videos uploaded online or Viral Videos were shown, together with analysis of how these videos became so famous. He even discussed marketing your own personal videos as well as the revenue-generating potential of these videos.

Evening came, and as we settled in our seats, loud music filled the air. I was very uneasy, partly due to whether “Breath of Freedom” will or not. The short movie, which Guill (fellow Baguio reporter and friend) and I co-created, was nominate in the Inside-Out Category, which is about the fine line between being included or excluded. It’s about stereotypes and prejudices and ways to overcome these. After names of the winners were announced from the other categories and winners paraded the stage one-by-one, I was so cold and petrified that the camera I was holding was taking really shaky shots. And before I knew it, they were already flashing the nominees for the Inside-Out category.

Round of applause… Judges explaining why the winner won … Hosts declaring “And he winner is” … Zarina Pashtova with her movie “Unitled”!

Awww … well congratulations Zarina! After some new acquaintances and farewells, the night comes to an end.

There are still a lot of things I needed to do, like packing my bags for it will be a long trip for me tomorrow afternoon. But for now, the night is still young and all we have to do is have fun and enjoy our youth.