In a sunny afternoon last March 22, Russians and Filipinos alike trooped to the lobby of the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City to witness the unveiling of the bronze portrait of a man whose kindness reverberated thousands of miles away from home.
"St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco represents the Russian people who are forever thankful to the kindness of Quirino. I am very grateful to the Philippines. I would like to show how indebted the Russians are to Filipinos who gave shelter to our elders decades ago," Pototsky told Sun.Star.
But how did the so-called "White Russians" or those who went against the tide of the communist Red, make it to Philippine shores?
MANILA. The bronze portrait shows the Russians' long-time gratitude to the late President Elpidio Quirino, who allowed them to relocate from communist China in 1949. (Virgil Lopez)
Braving the cold waters of Shanghai, the Russians led by a Cossack Grigory Bologoff traveled in droves to reach the small island of Tubabao, which is part of the Pacific town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Pototsky related that he fell in love with the Philippines due to its unquestionable hospitality, as he donated "monuments of kindness" of Russian playwright Alexander Pushkin and Leo Tolstoy in Manila and Cebu, respectively.