The Tulfo brothers in the eyes of their children

KAPATID DAY - Peachy Vibal-Guioguio (The Philippine Star) - June 15, 2014 - 12:00am

Media personalities lead public lives; their appearance, demeanor and even idiosyncrasies are exposed under the klieg lights. But there is a private side to showbiz people that they themselves take great effort to protect or hide from public scrutiny, and that is the life of their children/family although from time to time, we do get a glimpse of what this or that celebrity is like as viewed by the people who are close to them.

For this Father’s Day celebration, we take a look at the Tulfo children — the sons and daughters of TV5’s Tulfo brothers whose daily T3 public service show on the Kapatid network has become the staple for thousands of viewers who yearn for straight talk, gritty language and dedicated public service. Here’s how the Tulfo brothers Erwin, Ben and Raffy are seen as fathers.

Erwin Tulfo — Daughters Erika Therese (10 years old) and Erin Guada (five years old)

Erika proudly declares that she is a “daddy’s girl.” The eldest daughter of Erwin and Karen beams, “Dad is really fun and allows us to eat our favorite candy.” It is usually when one is on vacation or relaxed mode that we see the other side of a person. In Erwin’s case, he is funnier and more adventurous with his two daughters. Youngest daughter Erin recounts the time they went to Mystic Point in Disneyland and “he rode in front with Achie (her term of endearment for big sister Erika).” The impressionable five-year-old also shares that she and her dad share the passion for “Fruit by the Foot candy.” In fact, he makes it a point to buy this candy in every country they go to.

Like most fathers, Erwin takes his daughters to the malls as well as engage them in fun activities such as biking, swimming and even walking the dog. But the daughters are elated whenever they travel and Erika shares how one time, both she and her mom wanted to go up the stairs of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “It was pretty tiring and at first Dad did not want to, but we were able to convince him anyway.” Erika also recalls the time when they were riding a gondola in Venice and how “Erin and I made mom and dad kiss under the bridge.”

Erwin’s soft side as a father is put to the test when his daughters misbehave. “Dad always uses the examples of the saints, and lessons and stories from the Bible to teach us the right thing,” Erika discloses. For the two sisters, Dad Erwin is “the best” and he will always be their hero.

Ben Tulfo — Sons Raffy (16 years old), Karl (13 years old) and Bryan (six years old)

Because of his very busy schedule, Ben is not really the hands-on dad he hopes he has the time to be. However, according to his sons — yes, he has a brood of three boys — he is a funny father who loves to clown around.

“He is really good at imitating people,” shares Raffy, his eldest son. But it is the love for shopping that usually bonds Ben and his kids. Being all boys, they usually shop for shoes and Ben tends to spoil them a little as a way of spending more time with his children. At home, the boys spend time with their father by watching DVDs. When it comes to serious discussions such as career, education and the like, the boys seek the advice of their father, who always makes time to talk to them.

Ben also tries to make up for lost time as much as he can, especially when it comes to his boys. In fact, he either sees them before they leave for school in the morning or at night before they go to sleep. Among the three boys, it is the youngest, Karl, who gets to spend more time with his father because Ben takes him to his work in TV5.

Raffy Tulfo — Daughter Maricel (21 years old) and son Ralph (18 years old)

Eldest daughter Maricel describes Raffy as “a very cool father” and stresses that “he is way different from what you see on TV.” According to her, her father is the best buddy with whom she can share everything that is happening in her life, including her love problems. As it is, daughters normally would turn to their mothers for their love problems, but Maricel goes to Raffy to seek advice or even just to tell him about her love life. “He’s very cool about it and I really love him for that,” she enthuses.

Maricel has one sibling, Ralph, who is turning 18 in July. She says that their out-of-the-country family trips are the most memorable and best bonding moments. According to her, it is in those times when the family is together that Raffy (whom she addresses as Papa but also calls Daddy and Dad at times) becomes the good-natured, earnest and loving person that she and her brother look up to. “We have a very good relationship. He is my dad and at the same time, he is my best friend,” Maricel proudly declares.

However, despite their seemingly normal father-and-daughter relationship, Maricel admits that there are some apprehensions that come into play, perhaps due to Raffy’s formidable public persona. “There was a time when I stopped dating guys because I was afraid that if I introduced a guy to my dad he wouldn’t be open to me having a boyfriend,” she recalls. “But he came and talked to me out of nowhere and told me that it’s okay with him if I date guys as long as the suitor courts me at home so he would get to know him, too.”

Given these personal and revealing insights from the Tulfo children themselves, our belief is further proven that no matter how tough and hard-hitting a man can be, he will always have the marshmallow heart of a father when it comes to his kids. To the Tulfo dads Erwin, Ben and Raffy, to the rest of the TV5 dads and all the fathers out there, we would like to say in all sincerity that you are truly the best dad your kids can ever have. And to my dad, Mafeo Vibal, especially, Happy Father’s Day! The world is a lot kinder and gentler because of the caring dads whose hearts and brawns have made it a safer and more wonderful place to live in.

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