Reminiscing the Past, Living the Present

A few months ago, I found myself in our local national museum. The first time I had seen the advert for free admission I immediately knew that I wanted to go. My companion, who I’ve asked to come with me, asked me why I wanted to go.

“I like old things.”

Rice Exhibit and Gallery, National Museum of the Philippines.
Sometimes, it’s the old things, sometimes it’s from cultures most obscure, or almost obsolete.

Without realizing it, I have grown to appreciate artifacts. They are (well, literally) remnants of the stories of the past. All the while in our visit we saw the heritage of native culture, discussed the prospects of different lives, in between more silly, “look at that” moments. Paintings, sculptures, real life replicas of stones and pottery, ancient writing languages, traditional weaving and ancient clothing traditions. Entire cultures are packed into a small building, years and years of accumulation of items deemed worthless in the past, now displayed as the rarities of the present.

If you think about it, there really is no point. Or there is, I don’t know. Old things and old times are the subject of popular sayings such as “History repeats itself.” or “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” These quotations have been around for sometime and has been quoted and re-quoted it’s confusing to tell which person is the actual source of them, or they actually mean what they mean today. I like to think that it’s because of the relevance they put on an everyday basis, where history, regardless of where it is from or its nature of movement, affects our indefinite future.

Doctrina Christiana facsimile copy, National Museum of the Philippines
A good remembering of the past propels the future.

Visiting historical places are not only a remembrance of the past, but also a rethinking of the present. Walking through a room of extinct and endangered species models is a reminder of what should be preserved in the present. Perusing ancient writings are a reminder that a civilization has existed before a colonization era, and there is a personal identity tied to a country.

Some might see the preservation of old things pointless, but even the best of us keep photographs of the happy past, or still have memorabilia of our own histories. These steps back propel us forward into an unknown future as if guiding us from what was, and what we will be.


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