People say looking back to your past is your way forward. Some would not agree, but for the Vietnamese people, this is their way of life. I have been a fan of history since I was a child but my mind seems to have no patience remembering about details. Despite of that, I’ve always loved hearing stories and trivia from people around the world. Vietnam is one of the places I truly admire for its preservation not just of its culture but also of its history.

Before I arrive in Hanoi, all I know about its history is the war between Vietnam and USA. I knew about the struggles Vietnamese people had during that time and the endurance they had to push the Americans away from their land. I saw this bit of history as an inspiring story — how countrymen fought hard for the independence of their country. From there, I’ve always been a fan of how strong and patriotic this nation is for their country.

HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM

Visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum first is an experience itself. Walking almost 10 minutes from the entrance just to reach this place prolongs the longing to get inside. Near the entrance of the mausoleum, there are 2 or more soldiers who reminded tourists “No pictures”. Entering the building is like entering a hotel lobby. But once you go up the stairs, you can feel this eeriness where you’ll know something important is on the other side of the wall. The preserved body of Ho Chi Minh resides in a temperature-regulated room. Lights are a bit cooler and there are several guards inside. Four men is inside the barricade that houses Ho Chi Minh’s body. Meanwhile, there are at least 7 soldiers standing on the walls of the room.

The tour lasted just less than 30 seconds. But the chalky and lifeless body of Ho Chi Minh remained in my head — this once strong, viable leader now imprisoned in a glass box for the people to see. After my visit here, I learned that Ho Chi Minh originally requested for his body to be cremated. It made me a little sad but then I could feel how significant he really is, how he has become the heart of Vietnam.

HO CHI MINH MUSEUM

After shaking out the chills from inside the mausoleum, I went straight ahead to the museum. It was a good 50m away from the mausoleum and has an entrance fee of 40,000 VND for adults. The museum was divided into 7 parts, narrating the life of their great leader, Ho Chi Minh. The first one was about his upbringing while the second was his travels to save the country from colonialism. The next three parts was about Ho Chi Minh and the influence of Marxism and Leninism ideals to his leadership. Parts 6 and 7 depicted his political life and his death.

Artifacts, miniatures and native materials gathered throughout the world filled the museum. Everything is in English, Vietnamese and French so locals and tourists alike will be able to understand. There was also a big monument of Ho Chi Minh inside where you can take lots of pictures to send your family back home.

Overall, the experience was incredible. The mausoleum and the museum provided so much insights I can’t help but praise and compare my country to Vietnam. I realized that Philippines and Vietnam were actually the same. Aside from being both colonized by Western countries, there existed a revolutionary outcry in order to shape their nations. In this way, both nations grew stronger by the people’s resilience and the national independence they enjoy all through these years.