By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN

A father is the rock and the provider of the family. He has the biggest responsibility of raising a child while providing for the family’s daily needs. But what if he’s not just the man of his household, but also a father to hundreds of children and numerous teachers? This is the story of Raffy Caballes, a loving father and husband, and the principal of Claro M. Recto High School and Senior High School. 

In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Raffy shares how he juggles his responsibilities with his family and as the head to two institutions—Junior and Senior High Schools.

Raffy Caballes

Raffy Caballes

Family man

One might think that Raffy, with his successful career and wonderful family, is living his dream. He is happily married to his beautiful wife Sandra and they are blessed with an adorable daughter named Rafa Samantha. He openly admitted, however, that living a balanced life is not as easy as it sounds. It requires more than just time management skills, but also hard work and patience. “It’s really challenging in terms of time management,” he says. “There are weekends I have to report to school for training and seminars, sometimes even out of town. My family and my role in school are competing for my time.”

Realizing that, he thought of ways to fulfill his duties effectively, without sacrificing any of them. “I looked for the common activities that are essential for my family and also for the school,” he continues. His wife works with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and her job requires her to travel to various parts of the country, leaving Raffy alone with his daughter to look after. This inspired him to bring his baby girl to school whenever his wife was not around.

 Raffy with his wife Sandra and daughter Rafa

Raffy with his wife Sandra and daughter Rafa

“As early as when she was two years old, Rafa had been introduced to my profession. I would bring her to school. We traveled together going to work. There were times I had visitors or I was in a call and Rafa was there doing her antics as a kid—she ran around, touched things, and asked for milk,” he recalls. “But it’s all worth it. Now, when she sees me with my stuff, she knows I’ll be working.”

Raffy says that this is the biggest challenge he had to face as a father and as a husband, and it has pushed him to be proactive. “Analyze the situation and transform challenges into opportunities,” he says.

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ON DUTY WITH RAFA With his wife usually traveling for work, Raffy goes to school together with his

School principal

After conquering his fatherly duties, the 41-year-old principal faces the challenge of finding ways to provide a better education setup for his students and teachers, especially now that the country is in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Based on last school year’s data, we have 1,081 students in junior high, 279 in senior high. It’s really challenging for me because I am handling two campuses in separate locations,” he says.

“Here, I saw my role not just as a school head but really as a father, a father to all teachers and school personnel. I am accountable to everybody. I am accountable for everything. And when I get home, it’s also the same.”

As the education sector faces the difficulties brought about by the pandemic, Raffy is making sure that the health of the students and teachers is the priority. “As the school head, I know in my mind and in my heart the primary concern is the health and wellbeing of the school personnel,” he shares. “When I drafted the Learning Continuity Plan for our school, the most important aspect that we focused on is getting the data of the teachers, where they are now, what their health status is, and how their family is.”

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From this, their school is planning to roll out psychological debriefing for their teachers. For educators who have important things to do at school that cannot be done at home, the school discourages them to use public transport. The institution provides shuttle services that pick teachers from their homes going to school and vice versa. “It’s true that we have to plan for learning modalities, on how we can teach the students, but for me, it’s all useless if we don’t have teachers,” he says.

All these challenges he is going through as a father and as a principal have taught Raffy an important lesson—and that’s the power of love not just for his family but also for his vocation. “When you really love your work, your family, you will spend time with them and make way to balance everything,” he says. “When you’re happy with your profession, it’s fulfilling. And I also realize that when I am happy, my family is happy as well.”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/06/19/fatherhood-is-a-way-of-life/)