Dad is truly admirable. Long before the computers came, he was already multitasking. Not only is he the man of the house, he also has to don the other caps – breadwinner, loving husband, doting father, wise parent, guru, mentor, adviser, dependable friend and confidante, and the list goes on. Each entry of the list deserves praise and applause is in order as well.

It’s just right that he gets a day-off from wearing these hats and sport a special one fit for a king. Today, he is “the man” with the crown, sit on a throne (a La-Z-boy recliner in leather, perhaps) and to be pampered by his loyal subjects- the rest of the household. Father’s Day is one of two days in the year, the other is his birthday, when roles shift and the rest of the family take the lead.

A couple of days out of 365 seem too little yet we never hear him asking for a day more. So it’s really up to the children to keep him feeling he is THE King 24/7, and not Elvis (not unless he is a big fan of Mr. Blue Suede Shoes).

Does he ever favor wearing one particular hat over the others? Maybe no. But I am sure the hat change happens with a snap of the fingers when it’s called for. There are those times that the kids tend to go overboard, dad just have to make sure they stay on the path of propriety. Or, he turns from acting coach to the president of the fan club on his kid’s soccer game.

How dissimilar are the modern dads from those of yesteryears? Maybe dads are more career-oriented, if not driven, now mainly because economy dictates them to be. Rearing a family has to adapt to the changing times. Dads from the Age of Aquarius had a different style dealing with kids from dad in the Computer Age. I think it’s more difficult to handle the young today. 

Patrick Tan is a young dad to two lovely kids, Alec, 7 and Paige, 3, and one of the city’s popular architects. Two hats he wears with pride, plus more - padre de familia and husband to a lovely wife. Let’s get to know him as a father.

Any clues on what your wife and kids have in store for you today? 

My children like to create with their hands for gift-giving- a card, a paper flower, something they made in the kitchen, so I’m guessing I’ll receive another cute example of their handiwork. Lyn never fails to gift me with something special.

What’s on your Father’s Day wish list? 

That my family remains healthy and happy, and I continue to be able to provide for our needs and treats.

How is raising your family now different from how you were raised by your father then?

Our modern world now presents us with so many options and so much (sometimes contradictory) information, that it’s so easy to become distracted. There’s so much parenting advice out there. Though all these are helpful, I believe it still pays to stick to the basics: know and love your children, develop your own moral compass and teach it to the kids by example, develop your faith, nurture your marriage, work hard and do good. I don’t think parenting now is harder that it was during our parents’ time, it just have different challenges, the biggest of which is that with the internet, cellphones and other media, it’s become more difficult to protect our children from the harmful and dangerous elements of society so we have to be more vigilant. Growing up in today’s world is definitely more difficult for our children though.

Name three men you admire most and want to emulate as a father. 

My father-in-law, Engr. Alex Buyco, has great patience and wisdom, something I hope to acquire more of as I grow older. My father, Mr. Prudencio Tan, came to Mindanao from Cabanatuan alone as a young man and, with my mom Ms. Elsa Tan, managed to raise a family and send 6 kids to universities in Manila. There are plenty of good men I know who are striving to do their best as fathers. One is my friend Mr. Gene Arcena, who takes a leave from work when his son, Lean, vacations here from college in Manila, to be able to spend that time with him. Often, they just stay at home, talking and relishing the time when the family’s complete.

You are one of the most sought after architects in Davao today. What’s your distinct architectural style that made you popular? 

I don’t think that it’s any distinct style that has made most of my clients happy. For me, Architecture is not about my style but about what the clients and the site need. My job entails listening and paying attention well to the clients and the lay of the land and designing aesthetically pleasing built structures that function well. I keep learning by regularly attending conferences and seminars here and abroad. My wife says that I excel in space planning, but she’s biased.

And what’s your style in rearing your kids? How do you describe yourself as a father, are you/will you be more of a buddy or a daddy?

Definitely a Daddy. With the barrage of confusing messages our children get everyday from a variety of media, I believe that fathers who provide clear guidance, a steady supporting hand, and a consistent moral compass are needed more than ever.

Like planning your career path, what is your plan and goal that can make you say you have been successful as a father? 

When the time comes when I see my children making their way in the world, with respect for other people’s paths but with clarity of their own values and strengths, pursuing their chosen career paths with passion, perhaps raising their own families with a lot of love and happiness, then I can say that I have done my job well as a father.

How do you juggle your time between home and work? 

Bringing my son to school gives us that extra time in the day to be alone. We also enjoy being in the golf course together immensely. My wife and I have date nights. We also try to have lunch, not just dinner, together everyday. My daughter likes to come to the office now and then. As a family, we strive to take at least 2 vacations every year, something we’ve done since our eldest was 2 yrs old. Last but not least, we all still sleep in the same room. It’s not easy, but the relaxed moments before bedtime allow us plenty of bonding opportunities, reading books and telling stories. And it allows Lyn and me to comfort the kids when they have nightmares. 

  Bonding time is travel time for Pat & his kids.

What transpires during family bonding time? 

A lot of talking, sharing, hugging and kissing.

You have another hat, the businessman hat. Tell us about it? 

That was because of our son! Five years ago, Mama Emie, my mother-in-law, came home from a trip abroad with a pair of soft clog-like shoes for him (the original Crocs Cayman). When Lyn put it on him, he started running around the house and didn’t want to take them off, which prompted Lyn to do some research on it. Apparently, they were causing a footwear storm abroad because of how comfortable they were. The rest is history. 

The businessman hat runs their retail shops- Oak & Acorn & the two Crocs concept stores at SM Davao & the newly-opened Abreeza Mall.

I’m sure you wear your products daily. How many are in your shoe rack? You favor any of them?

Hmmm, a lot! I still like the original clog-like models the best, like the Crocband. 

How does it fit your lifestyle as dad and architect? 

I’m very mobile because I have to go around visiting the project sites and meeting with clients most days, so I do need very comfortable shoes. Crocs are very easy to clean after the dirt and mud from the project sites so they’re just very convenient also.

What’s the best thing you heard your kids say to you?

It’s a tie between “I love you, Papa” and “I miss you, Papa.”

Published in SunStar Davao Weekend on June 19, 2011.