Among the hundreds of fathers I know, he is one of those I admire the most. Successful in his practice as a top ophthalmologist with ACES (Associated Cebu Eye Specialists), he is even more successful in his role as husband to his wife, Stephanie, and as a father.
Dr. Ronald Anthony Medalle, when I asked him how he finds time, despite his full load, to be with his children, said, “For important things in life, you MUST find time. I strive to be there for them in every important event. I ‘tutor’ Santi weekly on his piano lessons. Otherwise, through a simple board game or with a fun “Wii game” you can get that moment. But every so often I pull them out just to have a one-on-one chat.”
I’ve known Ronnie for several years now ever since I joined the Rotary Club of Cebu West (he was a former president) and can attest to the love and adulation he showers on his children and, yes, to their “sports bonding.”
Eldest son Stevee, 20, is in fourth year college at the Ateneo (ADMU). I recall, back in the 1990s, organizing a tennis camp at the Cebu Tennis Club. One of my youngest students was Stevee. The person who accompanied him often to watch the youngster? His dad.
Robee, 15, is the second child. “He plays tennis, too, but his main sport is soccer playing mid-field,” said Ronnie. “In Grade 5, his team (Springdale) won the National Adidas 4-on-4. Last year, they won the POF title and last Feb. represented Cebu for the CIVIRAA.” The person I see often cheering on his son? His dad.
Third son Santi is the most energetic. Two years ago, both our families (together with Jourdan and Jingle Polotan) trekked to Cagayan de Oro for White Water Rafting. With me were Jasmin and Jana. The Medalles were represented by Ronnie, Steph and guess who? Santi. Imagine him—all of six years old—sitting in the middle of the raft, smiling, screaming, with water splashing all over as we braved the turbulent waters.
Santi (right) enjoying the water with Jourdan Polotan (left) and the rest of the group at the back
Finally, after three boys and just when the family grew contented with an all-male squadron, in 2005, Steph gave birth to a beautiful girl named Simone. And, last year, would you believe that, Simone joined the Butch Bacani Tennis Camp—at three years old!
Stevee, Robee, Santi, Dr. Ronnie, Steph and Simone in Davao
Why such a sporty family? Here’s why: Visit their home. Residing at the top-most levels of the Medalle Bldg. (near Fuente Osmeña), in their home you’ll find a billiard table, a ping-pong table, tennis racquets, soccer balls, golf clubs and the Nintendo Wii that plays bowling. And, during nights when Ronnie doesn’t play his M-W-F tennis schedule at the Cebu Country Club, he exercises at the home gym that’s complete with Kettler-branded weights and elliptical equipment.
“At a very early age,” said Ronnie, “we get the kids in sports programs and strive to maintain at least one major sport for the child. We slowly make them understand the value of creating a balanced mind and body… performing well in academics as well as in sports, or at least to be physically fit.”
As to why he looks younger than his age of 47, the top eye doctor says, “I set an example to the little ones by making them know how obsessive I am with trying to keep fit. One reason being for me to be able to walk my daughter down the isle 20 years from now!”
Another R.M. secret? Take vacations often. “At least once a year around summer time, our family goes to Palawan, Negros, Mindanao or Boracay. We enjoy the long drives together. Last summer we spent a few days enjoying Sumilon Island, then made a side trip to Raul Arambulo’s rest house in Oslob for lunch where we relaxed, did some kite-flying and adventurous ATV riding.”
Advice to his fellow fathers? “Never lose your ‘inner child’ so you can enjoy your kids to the fullest. Every child is different. Get to know each one’s character first so you might know how to communicate with him/her. Find time to talk to each one that you might impart bits of wisdom as they grow. Try to be their safety net when things go wrong. A great dad needs a great mom by his side. Above all, it’s tough to be a dad without HIS help.”
The Medalle Gang: Robee, Ronnie, Santi, Buzz Lightyear and Stevee