Teacher and learner: High school teacher follows in the footsteps of his farmer parents
Photos courtesy of Raffy Capalaran
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
TEACHER AND LEARNER AT THE SAME TIME Farming not only provides him and his family with chemicalfree food, but also a side hustle in the form of vlogging. “I never thought that I’d join the vlogging industry. It started when I documented myself making a DIY pot made from cement.” Capalaran adds that he used to make tutorials and upload them on his personal Facebook account so his students can also learn from his videos. It was in 2019 when he created separate social media accounts to keep a record of his farm experiences and progress. A year later, his YouTube channel, Raffy’s Green Thumb, started to get monetized. He has more than 35,000 subscribers as of this writing. He makes money from paid ads on both his YouTube and Facebook pages. Capalaran, like any other farmer, navigates farming through the trial and error method. “I always do research for new techniques and try them myself. When I know it is working on my end, I share it with my viewers through my vlog.” How the farm is faring today Unfortunately, Typhoon Rai, locally named Odette, wreaked havoc on Capalaran’s farm. The farm is still recovering from the damage it has brought about. Ornamental plants that survived are rubber trees, philodendrons, calatheas, orchids, to name a few. Capalaran replanted vegetables such as bell pepper, squash, eggplant (which are planted in sacks), tomato, ampalaya, string beans, and ube. Fruit trees that thrive on it include rambutan, lemon, and avocado. The majority of his vegetables are seed-grown. “I sow the seeds using my DIY individual seed boxes made of PVC for easier transplanting,” said the burgeoning farmer. “I always go with all organic methods, especially for edible plants. I [create] my own organic liquid fertilizers [that] I use to fertilize my plants, and for foliar feeding as well.” Capalaran also uses cow and chicken manure, vermicast, sawdust, and carbonized weeds as his alternative to rice hull. He particularly loves practicing marcotting (a propagation method that involves rooting a part of the stem that is still attached to the parent plant) as this helps his plants bear fruits faster and ensures to keep the plant variety. The farm has been a big part of his life that, when Capalaran and his partner entered another milestone in their lives, they made sure to incorporate it by having their prenuptial photoshoot in their lemon garden. Their wedding giveaways are also lemon seedlings that Capalaran personally grew. This has made their farm more special. For Capalaran, taking the same path as his father has given him a chance to farm food, earn a living, and explore new roles that he never imagined himself in, such as agricultural vlogger.