Mr. Renelito C. Caballo
He loves the way he sings: full-on, holding nothing back, giving it all that he’s got. He gets down to it like a happy king in a royal bash, with a vigor that knows not what it means to be deflected or depleted, inflecting each gesticulation and articulation with meticulous attention to depth, frequency and duration. In short, he loves like no other, especially when it comes to singing and his kids.
But just as well, Rene loves to teach more than anything else. In fact, some of his friends feel that if it comes down to choosing between teaching and singing, if going for one means having to forsake the other forever, he would hands down pick the classroom over the karaoke private room. Such question is as silly as it is a waste of time, knowing full well that the answer is a no-brainer – that only his family is more precious to this son of Tagbilaran than being an English teacher.
Rene always wanted to be a teacher. Being the oldest in a brood of four, he grew up as the natural mentor of his younger siblings who, to this day, still look up to him for inspiration and guidance. And that’s not yet counting their neighbors’ kids who would converge in their house day in and day out to play schoolchildren to his schoolmaster figure. These days, while gleefully assuming his in loco parentis role over his students both in college and high school, he relishes being a doting mentor-dad to his children.
It’s no wonder then that he took up Education as a profession of choice and prefers teacher training as a specialization option. An English teacher for twenty-one years, seven in Silliman, he thinks the classroom is the premier place to mold students into better persons, and language instruction as the best medium to foster understanding among people and among nations – an epiphany that dawned on him when in January 2010 Silliman sent him shuttling between the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Gallaudet University in Washington at the US State Department’s behest to be among the more than 100 teachers from 12 developing countries who took part in its 6-month International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP).
Aside from acting out his usual roles as husband, father, brother, teacher, boys’-night-out buddy and on-call singer, Rene wears a multitude of other hats. He advises the English edition of the Junior Sillimanian, the official student publication of SU High School, co-advises both the English Club and the Praise and Worship team of the High School department, and mentors the student-teachers of the College of Education, where he also teaches part-time Principles and Methods of Teaching II. He also served as High School English coordinator from 2010 to 2012, and was recently appointed by the university as officer-in-charge of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment.
But more than being anything else, Rene is a doting father. And to this his friends can attest, especially the ones he calls whenever he needs company or a helping hand as he watches over his youngest son at the hospital, lugging with him the papers that need to be checked even as he fusses over updates on his son’s medical condition. And his friends will confide that the main reason Rene decided to transfer to Silliman after teaching in another high school for more than a decade is to ensure that his children will get the best education and avail of the benefits that Silliman provides to its faculty, in particular the scholarship and health benefits, without which he would have been neck-deep in debt for the tuition and medical expenses of his four kids.
If Silliman were a song, it would be something that Rene will be singing for as long as he can sing. And all the while he keeps doing what he does best – teach, inspire, and love.
Describe yourself in three words.
Doting. Caring. Giving.
What is your mantra in life?
Carpe diem (“Seize the day”)
What makes you laugh?
Charlie Chaplin. Tom and Jerry. Bitaw, bonding with my kids makes me laugh, as well as thinking about my old antiques.
What makes you cry?
When my children get sick.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Past midnight, because that’s when I get so focused on doing something.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Friday. I always look forward to the long weekend that we now enjoy here in Silliman.
What do you love doing when not working?
Watching TV, mostly documentaries (on Discovery and National Geographic Channel) and old films, especially Charlie Chaplin classics.
What is your favorite hangout in the University?
Poppy Coffee at the Portal West building – the wafting aroma of freshly brewed coffee energizes me.
What makes you blush?
Not exactly blush, but I do feel like sinking in my own skin when I address someone using a wrong name.
If you were an actor, who would you be?
Morgan Freeman, because he’s such a versatile actor.
Could you tell us something amazing about yourself?
When I do Barry Manilow’s “Somewhere Down the Road” on karaoke, too often people think they are hearing the actual record, hahaha.
What was your favorite game growing up?
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
When I have submitted all my grades, or going malling with my wife and kids after church on a Sunday.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I can handle eight straight classes in a day. Unless I’m sick, I tend to be just like the Energizer bunny – I just keep going and going…
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“I Made It Through the Rain” by Barry Manilow.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Tune in to Power 91 for the early morning novelty jokes and the hard-hitting commentaries on “Tug-anan”.
What’s your idea of a family?
Big, happy, and financially secure.