AGRIBUSINESSFEATURED FARMER

High school teacher follows in the footsteps of his farmer parents 

Capalaran’s first batch of rambutan harvest in 2021.

Many people who come from farming households engage in agriculture at some point in their lives.

One person who is following in his father’s footsteps in farming is Raffa “Raffy” Capalaran, a TLE teacher at Talamban National High School in Cebu City. 

 

Capalaran posing with a basket of eggplants.

Capalaran has been cultivating plants since elementary. He has fond memories of tending to his own vegetable garden with his father in their backyard. 

Even though he chose to be an educator later in life, his passion for farming never faded.

His attachment to his roots eventually drew him back to agriculture. Now 31, Capalaran is developing his parents’ farm in Sitio Baugo, Barangay Budla-an, Cebu City where he already planted a variety of fruit trees and ornamental plants. 

However, since the property is nestled on a hillside, some parts of it are not ideal for crop production. Eager to raise crops, Capalaran managed to build terraces in selected areas of the farm and grow crops on them.

A portion of the farm where lemon seedlings are grown in cups.

Teacher and learner at the same time

Farming not only provides him and his family with chemical-free 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. 

A lush collection of Capalaran’s ornamental plants that he sells.

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.

A lemon variety that thrives on Capalaran’s farm is ponderosa lemon. According to him, they are bigger and have thicker skin than the market-bought lemons.

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.

Photos courtesy of Raffy Capalaran

For more information, visit Raffy’s Green Thumb

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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