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The do-over survey

If you could go back in time, what would you change?


By Joyce Reyes-Aguila


If you could turn back time, return to the house or place you grew up in, what would you do differently? The years have made us wiser in many ways but there certainly are moments when we wish for a do-over. What we thought were a set of tedious house chores that simply took us away from our playmates could have taught us how to manage a kitchen better. The time our grandmother made us watch her crochet a doily could have given us an extra set of skills.

We asked our readers to share what they would change, if given a mulligan on their younger years. From house repair to well-loved family recipes, what do you wish you could relive?


“I wish I had spent more time with my mom Evelyn in the kitchen to learn how to cook. Though I do know how to ‘throw ingredients into a pot’ and make a meal, it’s different knowing how to make your childhood favorites – the comfort food of your childhood. Also, I wish I had watched or asked my dad Sonny how to do little repairs around the house, like fixing a jammed door, unclogging a sink, or how to use basic tools. These are practical stuff that they don’t teach us in high school or college.”

— Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza, writer (in photo are her parents, Evelyn and Sonny)


“If I learned how to turn on the stove without being scared a lot earlier in life, then I would have cooked for my parents and loved ones every opportunity I had. It’s not much, but it could have been my way to show how grateful I am for conveniences like the free accommodation and bottomless pantry I had while growing up. When you live on your own, you realize that the comforts you once knew were privileges given by family out of love for you.”

– Katrina Maceda, production editor


“The house I grew up in inside Camp Aguinaldo had a lot of space: Big lawn up front that my mom made sure was manicured and a smaller side garden that had an assortment of fruit-bearing trees, a huge mango tree, and underneath a swing for two where the neighborhood kids would all congregate. After moving out when my dad died of cancer, my mom turned to alternative medicine – she started growing her own organic medicinal herbs and food supplements. I wish we had discovered alternative medicine and urban gardening sooner and utilized all that space. I wonder sometimes if it could’ve helped my dad and other people as well.”

— JP Tecson, development professional


“To learn my lola’s recipes! No one in the family has learned to cook local kakanin and Kapampangan delicacies the way she does it. Her famous espasol and bico, as well as bringhe and burong isda. It will be my way of honoring her for her love shown every time she cooks for the family.”

— Carina Samaniego, archivist 


“To learn how to fix things. My dad is Mr. MacGyver, the Mr. Fix-It Handyman in the family. Had I watched and paid more attention to how he fixed a broken pipe or the washing machine, for example, things would be a little easier now that I’m living on my own in Norway where getting things repaired costs a lot of money!”

— Dominique Cid-Strand, travel designer


“I grew up in the town of Labo, Camarines Norte. Back in the days when everything was not yet done digitally, kids could freely play in the streets. But my mother wanted me to take piano lessons when I was nine years old. I hated the idea and even cried when my Nanay took me to the class. Recalling that moment makes me wonder, what if I took piano lessons seriously? I could have kept the skills now and be more versatile with an added talent – aside from being a makeup artist!”

— Erwin Oning, celebrity makeup artist


“The two things I wish I could have done were to plant fruit-bearing trees such as mango and mangosteen, and learn how to cook. They’re two of my favorite fruits. I can eat them every day while cooking! As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

– Jerome Lopez, nature lover 

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