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Consul General Bensurto and Madame Mariza Bensurto with Russian refugees who stayed inTubabao Island in Eastern Samar

The storm did not dampen people’s spirits as the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco hosted the film showing of Tubabao Odyssey, a documentary that recounts the experience of 6,000 White Russians who were exiled to Tubabao, an island in Eastern Samar, Philippines.

The documentary was shown in partnership with the Consulate of the Russian Federation and the Russian-American Congress. The event is the second in a series of three (3) activities celebrating the 65th anniversary of the exodus of Russian refugees from Tubabao Island to the United States, and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of the Philippines and Russia.

The second activity was held to make the Filipino-American Community aware about Tiempo Russo, that part of Philippine history where a young Republic, under President Elpidio Quirino’s leadership, opened its doors to 6,000 Russian refugees.

Apart from the Russian refugees and their families - some of whom traveled from the East Coast, and as far as Australia - Filipino-American professors, teachers and students, as well as members of the media, were invited to the film showing.  Mr. Matthew Davis, Office of Foreign Missions Associate Regional Director of External Relations, and Mr. Elpidio Quirino, grandson of the late President Elpidio Quirino, also attended the event.

Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon welcomed the guests to the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center.  He stressed the importance of commemorating Tiempo Russo as it celebrates the values of cooperation, trust and compassion among nations.  It was at this moment that the world witnessed the Philippines, Russia and the United States working towards the same goal of sheltering Russians at a turbulent time in its history.

Deputy Consul General of the Russian Federation, Mr. Andrey Varlamov, and President of the Russian-American Congress, Ms. Natalie Sabelnik, said that the 6,000 Russians who lived in the Philippines during Tiempo Russo consider it a debt of gratitude to the Philippine Government for opening its doors to them when no other country would.

Guests were able to view the on-going Tiempo Russo Tubabao Island Exhibit that is on display at the Kalayaan Hall until 11 November 2016.  The closing event will be held at the Russian Consulate on 13 November 2016. END

Mr. Elpidio Quirino, Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr., Russian-American Congress President Natalie Sabelnik, Office of Foreign Missions Associate Regional Director of External Relations Matthew Davis and Deputy Consul General Andrey Varlamov before the film showing of “Tubabao Odyssey”