Augusto L. Toledo, II is a retired CEO of a privately held insurance brokerage, and has worked with finance companies, commercial banks and other insurance broking firms in the past. An Economics graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, he continues to be interested in investments, trust management and personal financial planning. He is an inveterate collector of antiquities, memorabilia, and anything nostalgic, and has a somewhat prodigious collection of vintage Philippine glass bottles, Batman action figures and graphic novels, fountain pens and ink wells, old insurance policies and fire extinguishers, and pre-war office equipment and desk accessories. Probably a filing clerk in his previous life, he is reluctant to consign anything to the dustbin, except for a few items which he deems unlikely to serve any future purpose, and he has occasionally regretted even that.
As a young lad with only a few toys, he spent his childhood years perusing his father’s books and Classics Illustrated comics, and observing life in general in 1950’s and 1960’s locales – Escolta, Binondo, Avenida Rizal, Ermita, Dewey Boulevard and La Loma. He wrote with an inexpensive Wearever fountain pen, developed a flirtation with Chase & Sanborn coffee at an early age, joined story-telling contests at Lourdes School, and regularly watched movies in the Art Deco theatres of Manila like Avenue, Capitol, Ever, State and Ideal. Now widowed and having bid farewell to the regimen of office life, he spends most of his time sipping espresso, rediscovering literature, reading up on history, mixing cocktails, travelling with his daughter and trying mightily to remember the last 60 years or so.
Past is Prologue, adopted from a line in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” is an attempt to recollect memories of his youth through the ephemera he has gathered for most of his life, and to see how history has often set the context for the present (or maybe even the future), be it with the banal and inconsequential, or with the profound and life-changing. Whether it is David in “Psalms”, Santayana in “The Life of Reason”, or Hamlisch in “The Way We Were”, kings, philosophers and songwriters have always held the past with the highest reverence and estimation, and the notion that even the simplest artifacts from bygone days can define today’s mood or spirit or temper provides the underpinning for this blog site.
May you delight in yesterday’s memories, even as you live in today’s moments.