From Russia, France and Benguet

Sometime this month, White Russian refugees and their descendants, who temporarily settled in the Samar island of Tubabao from 1948-51 after the Communist takeover of China, will gather in the Philippines to celebrate the anniversary of their escape. The White Russians were the supporters of the czar who fled Russia after the Revolution of 1918 and settled in China. Their moving to the Philippines is an episode in our homeland's history that is not well known, but the noble humanitarian gesture of the Elpidio Quirino administration in accepting the refugees is something we can be proud of. Positively Filipino Correspondent Myles Garcia tells the compelling story in "When Russians Came to Tubabao," a timely one because coincidentally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, was supposed to attend the APEC Summit in Manila almost at the same time, until he cancelled.

As the tragedy in Paris makes our hearts bleed, let's join Positively Filipino Correspondent Criselda Yabes as she takes us on a virtual tour of the peaceful, soothing village of Haybes in France's Les Ardennes region which shares a border with Belgium (where the terrorists seemed to have originated). "My French Village" introduces us to another side of France, away from the chaos, grief and danger in Paris.

Meanwhile, in Manila, two lady entrepreneurs embark on an online venture selling Benguet coffee to the world. "Kalsada Coffee's Long and Winding Road" by first-time contributor Rexy Josh Dorado, relates how a Filipino American scholar, Carmel Laurino, unearthed a 1909 photo of Filipino coffee being sold in Seattle, which led to her partnering with coffee specialist Lacy Wood to set up Kalsada, an ambitious undertaking that aims to put Benguet on the world's coffee map.

It's 37 days before Christmas, and I'm sure many of you are already thinking about culinary gifts and special treats for the family. Thus, in the next weeks, we'll be posting recipes of goodies that you might want to bake. This week, we have Calamansi-Lemon Muffins from Positively Filipino Correspondent and food expert Elizabeth Ann Quirino.

Our Video of the Week focuses on artist Peter De Vera who built an art museum called Bale-Balayan for the underprivileged. Another feature from CNN Philippines: The Story of the Filipino.

I hope you enjoy my blog this week on Backyards.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino