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On heritage and our sense of history

Artwork by Kat Eloriaga

“A people’s relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to its mother.” — John Henrik Clark, historian

Our sense of heritage defines our past. It is our constant reminder of what we endured to achieve whatever it is we experience today. It is an aide-mémoire of the battles we fought, our victories and defeats, and our shared identity. They aren’t just built to occupy a land; they are built to retell our nation’s stories. 

The preservation of our cultural heritage is a necessary step to connect the present to our past. In this day and age of technology when history can easily be bent, proof of what transpired before we were even born can give our generation (and future generations to come) a full grasp of history. 

The sad part about our sense of history is that we don’t have it. We favor the destruction of our heritage sites to pave way for skyscrapers and commercial spaces. While development is not wrong, the obliteration of our heritage sites, built before we set foot on this world, is not right. 

We need more heritage conservation warriors who are not only ardent about our heritage and history but also passionate about fighting for it. Through a collective voice, even a minority can withstand the majority. 

While heritage takes the backseat in every national conversation (there is a notion that heritage is a first-world country concern), it is about time that we bring the discussion back to the table, because as we neglect it as a national concern, establishment after establishment is being demolished. 

It is about time that millennials took part in the conversation. It is important for young voices to be heard especially in this issue, as heritage is our bridge to the history. 

Technology and social media sites are very important to send the message across, and when we use the wired world to spread advocacy that matter, it creates a global conversation.

We can never progress without looking back. Sure there is a future that we have to think about, but we can only prepare for the future if we have a sense of shared history. 

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