04 February 2017

The Embarrassing Need to Borrow Money from Brother Crisanto Moreno


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Mom’s stinginess caused me trouble at the cashier’s window that first ever enrolment as well. She had given me the exact amount for tuition contained in the prospectus, having either failed to read or ignored the fine print about the tuition rates being subject to change.

Imagine my shock and disappointment after having spent an hour or so in line and then being told by the cashier that the amount due was about a hundred and twenty pesos more than what I carried with me. That amount is pocket change these days, but not so in 1975. After all, my tuition was roughly just a thousand and two hundred pesos; and it was already among the most expensive in the country.

I told the cashier that I had travelled all the way from Batangas and asked if she could please take the money I had, promising to return the next day with the balance. Instead of being sympathetic, she told me to step aside because I was holding up the queue.

How about that for customer service? The problem with some accounting staff, I would discover years later at De la Salle Lipa when the finance department was under me, is that they can really get stuck within the compartments of their own self-created rules. What was to stop that cashier during my freshman enrolment at Taft to accept the money I had or, if in doubt, refer the matter to somebody up the pecking order? Besides, was it ever possible that DLSC’s operations would come crumbling down because I was short by a hundred and twenty pesos?

I quickly found my Dad but to my dismay, he told me that he had just enough money for our fare back home. I wanted to complete the enrolment process that first day before going home, so I desperately raked my brain for solutions. There didn’t seem to be one until I remembered that Brother Crisanto Moreno, who was formerly Principal in Lipa and who was also among my former teachers, was already at the Taft Campus in charge of the College of Industrial Technology. Perhaps I could borrow the money from him?

Off my Dad and I went to find him. He was in a meeting when we arrived at his office, so we spent an hour there before finally getting to talk to him. It was embarrassing to have to borrow money, but it was a pretty desperate time. Brother Cris was very understanding and loaned me the money without any fuss. Before leaving, my Dad reassured him that he would get the money back the very next day.

I quickly returned back to the Cashier’s Office but had to fall in line all over again. It was almost five in the afternoon when I finally paid my tuition, and what this meant was that I would have to return the next day to complete the enrolment process, after all.

The next day, my Dad didn’t even see any point in accompanying me; and frankly, neither did I. I was happy to travel on my own, and upon arriving at the Taft campus, my first order of business was to pay Brother Cris. Collecting the course cards turned out to be the most troublesome part of the day because there were so many students trying to get theirs in a most disorderly fashion. Shortly after midday, I got all of mine and completed my enrolment.

Finally, I was officially a Green Archer.

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