Stranded circus finds friends to fly it home
From JOHN DIKKENBERG in Manila
THE remaining members of a Russian circus, crippled by a litany of bad luck since it entered the Philippines more than a year ago, are to finally fly home on Sunday on a chartered airliner.
The All-Star Russian Circus, whittled down to three members who have been stranded in Davao City on northern Mindanao for seven months, are expected to take with them the remaining circus animals: an elephant, two camels, a python and a boxing kangaroo, the subject of an intensive animal rights campaign in Australia.
Boris Fedotov, the group's leader, said friends of the circus in Russia had chartered a plane for US$133,000 (HK$1.03 million), bringing to an end an odyssey that started in Japan, passed through Taiwan and Cebu, and ended up in a small provincial town in the tropics, half a world away from Moscow, the circus' hometown.
The All-Star Russian Circus' woes began last year when the original circus split into two factions in the southern Philippine town of Cebu after a fight with the project's Taiwanese promoter.
Half the performers went home, taking their animals with them, but the remaining half were taken to Davao by a Filipino promoter, who also abandoned them, allegedly owing US$40,000 in gate receipts and expenses.
Mr Fedotov said nine members of the circus went home last month, and the remnants of the once great circus had to turn to handouts, impromptu performances and zoo exhibits in order to survive.