Paano Ba ‘To?!: How to Survive Growing Up

I’m living in Europe alone and it takes time to get real friends. Most of my friends and family are also busy in the Philippines ,aside from the fact that we are also dealing with different timezones, so I ask myself how can I cope with all the challenges and difficulties that I encounter here?

I really need help!

Last semester, we discussed about self-help or guide books. These are categorized as a form of literature that tells us what to do and empower us to rise among the difficulties, problems, or norms that we need to face.

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I ask a friend to bring Bianca Gonzalez-Intal’s book, Paano Ba ‘To?!, from the Philippines because I believe that this is the closest self-help book that will address our current Filipino generation.

At first, I was really bothered by all the doodles in the book because it’s not really typical to have that in a new “normal” book. On the contrary when I was at the middle, I have this sudden realization that this book is so personal.

The doodles make it more realistic, open, and relatable. It’s like Bianca’s invitation for us to take part and discuss some issues because we want to, need to or because it has been a long time that we’ve tried to forget or deny to face them. I appreciate how she opens and shares her life in the book because in our society today, where in everyone has something to say, being that open is indeed commendable. I really also like how she gets various perspectives about a certain issue: there are a lot of people who also share their experiences and experts who share their professional knowledge for more “objectivity”.

I’m a “quote-collector” and I really like the idea that she incorporates a quote after each chapter. Maybe it’s better if it is perforated so we can just simply tear and post it on our bedroom’s wall. In terms of style, it’s easy to read and resembles like a magazine. However, I prefer the content to be succinct because there are some recurring statements that I feel should belong and should be already settled from the previous chapter.

Nonetheless, reading this book gives a lot of refreshing insights to reflect upon.

“Living abroad is a conscious decision. So if you move abroad and continue to ‘live in Manila’ in your mind, you will always get homesick.”

“If you, for example, keep thinking about the things or friends you don’t have in your new city, you’ll never see what it can offer you.”

“You can’t exactly plan how your life will pan out. You can focus on a direction, but sometimes, doors you never expected will open for you and it is up to you to take the risk.”

“You cannot please everyone. And you shouldn’t want to please anyone, or else you will drive yourself crazy. Listen, take what might be constructive criticism, then let it go. Don’t let it get the best of you. And most of all, learn to laugh at yourself!”

“Count your blessings, not your problems.”

“And the most important lesson, is that as long as you keep working for it, what is truly for you will not pass you by.”

“Try staying present in each day.”

“If you hinder yourself, if you are the one stopping yourself, if you are the one judging yourself, then what is left for you? How can you expect others to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?”