BERNADETTE CASAS-CRISTOBAL Class 64
A Servant of the Lord
I was born on May 27, 1948, in Manila, second to the eldest of four girls and two boys. We lived in Felina Street. Sta. Cruz, Manila. I studied at the Juan Sumulong Elementary School on Aragon. In 1960, we moved to Valenzuela, Metro Manila. I was then in Grade six. My parents were +Angel Casas, an electrician, and +Maria Bayani-Casas, a government employee. My siblings are Adelwina Casas-Wee, AHS -1962, a retired public school teacher, +Marilou Casas-Chua, AHS-1966, +Marilyn Casas, AHS-1968, Ramon, and Frederick Casas. My father was the silent type, but once he opened his mouth, "tupi" kaming lahat (we all fold up). My mother was the disciplinarian in the family. We all had household chores. Before we did our thing or even our school assignments, we had to complete our chores first. I did marketing and food preparation in Grade 5 whenever we had no help for my parents were both out working. When I reached high school, I was promoted to take charge of our laundry since among us children, I was the one always in good health, with God’s mercy. We always brought baon (food) -- rice/ulam (viand) and pandesal (bun)-- to school, for we had only money for pamasahe (fare money), nothing for soft drinks, even though Coke was only 10 cents. If I wanted to drink Coke, luxury na yun (it’s already a luxury), I had to save 10 cents by walking from Arellano to Espiritu Santo Church in Tayuman Street. Jeepney fare from Arellano to our place in Valenzuela was 25 cents, while from Espiritu Santo to Valenzuela was 10 cents cheaper.
My siblings and I did not have any extra-curricular activities in or outside school. I never experienced going out with classmates or even with barkadas (close friends), like eating out or going to the movies. Our baon (allowance) was just eksaktong pamasahe (just enough for jeepney fare). At home, I was a member of Confraternity of Our Lady of Lourdes in our Parish. Every weekend, starting on Friday night, my cousins and I would join the Block Rosary, transferring the image of Mama Mary in our neighborhood. My maternal grandmother had a great influence on my spiritual life. Every time I stayed with them, she would bring me to church to attend mass. After mass, she would pray all her novenas for about an hour and me naman just sat beside her staring at the image of Jesus Christ. With the limited salary of my parents and six children going to school at the same time -- two in grade school, two in high school and two in college – I witnessed their sacrifices in sending all of us to school. Walang na-stop ng pag-aaral sa amin (nobody stopped going to school among us), and we did not miss any meal at all, thanks be to God. If one of my mother’s siblings needed a helper, I would offer to do some of their household chores, so I would earn extra money for baon (allowance). Despite such hardships, I still considered our family blessed because we had peace, joy, understanding, patience to one another’s shortcomings, and love was always in the air. We may have been lacking in material things, but we were happy as a family.
My favorite subjects in high school were Mathematics, Algebra, Science, Physics, Biology, Philippine History, Spanish and Pilipino. I can still remember some of our teachers like Ms. Parto, Miss Madarang in Trigonometry, Miss Nicasio in Economics and Miss Natividad Samia in Literature. I truly enjoyed my high school days, for I had good friends (BFF) like Corazon Batac and Violeta Conge in third year and Erlinda Sotto and Anita Dee in the senior year. Unfortunately, I don’t have contact with them now, except for Linda Sotto who is with the group preparing for the forthcoming Golden Jubilee of Batch 1964.Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher, yet I ended taking up commerce at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (formerly Philippine College of Commerce in Lepanto, Manila) dahil madali daw makahanap ng trabaho (It is easy to find a job). During my first two years at PUP, we mastered typing and stenography, so I landed a job in a law office on December 1966 as a secretary with a salary of P160/month. In June of 1967, I transferred to Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Binondo branch, after passing its entrance exam. I stayed there until retiring in July, 1998, as manager, head of the international department. I started as clerk-typist and rose from the ranks and was a working student until I obtained my four-year of Bachelors of Science in Commerce degree in 1969. I loved my job and enjoyed performing my duties and responsibilities for 31 years (the best years of my life.)
I met the love of life at PUP, my first and only boyfriend. I have been married to the same guy, Reynaldo Cristobal of Tondo, Manila, for 42 happy years. I met him in 1967 when we were working students in our Accounting class taught by a professor named Mr. Galvez. I was impressed by his intelligence, not to mention his good looks, muy guapito. I did not know that he was already eyeing me because; according to him, I had all the qualifications he was looking for a good wife material. I could not forget what our professor told us during the first day of our first year at PUP. Sabi nya "kung kami’y mag-aasawa, dapat pumili kami ng matalino para marunong din ang mga anak namin (He said that if we were to get married, we should pick an intelligent partner so that our children will be intelligent too). We were married at Malate Church on December 26, 1970, using our own savings. We moved to a rented apartment right after our wedding where we had our honeymoon too (no more budget for honeymoon) -- he he he. We were blessed with five beautiful and God-loving children, three girls and two boys, all graduates of De La Salle High School-Zobel:Claire is a pharmacist, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, Manila, married with one son, and is a consultant at Kimberly-Clark;Rey Bernard, MEM-DLSU, Master of Business Administration, Asian Institute of Management, married with two daughters, working in Zespri, New Zealand;Anna Blesilda, CPA-DLSU, single, working in Credit Agricole, Singapore;Mary Anne, dentist-Centro Escolar University, single, working in United Arab Emirates;Rey Joseph, fourth year physical therapy, University of Santo Tomas.
My husband Rey is now semi-retired and a consultant at Tyan Ming Development Corp., a real estate company. As a working student, he worked for FilInvest Corp. and was also employed at State Invest House, Inc. and ASB Realty Inc.Since my retirement in 1998 after 31 years of corporate life, I am now focused on my volunteer works in Our Lady of the Pillar Parish, in Pilar Village, Las Pinas City. I am a member of the finance committee, scholarship team, bible study group, Caritas Paranaque Secretariat, Diocese of Paranaque, Basic Ecclesial community (BEC) Zone Coordinator and a Street Chairman of Mahogany Road, Pilar Village.My husband and I are members of Couples for Christ in Las Pinas since 1988. He used to be a chapter servant leader, cluster servant leader, and a member of the sector governance team until 2003.I serve in the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), a ministry of Couples for Christ, as the cluster coordinator. The group is composed of women who are single, widow, separated, single mothers, and wife of overseas foreign workers. My area of responsibility is DBP Village, BF Almanza, Pilar Village and Moonwalk in Las Pinas City.My life now is more fulfilled and I am busier than ever. Every day is blessed, for I am serving the Lord in my own little way in different capacities. I have a great family, a faithful and loving husband, caring and generous children, and wonderful and beautiful grandchildren. I could not thank God enough for all the blessings and graces he is bestowing upon my family, especially how He is always giving us the opportunity to bond together as family thru out of town and out of country vacations . I am thankful for the great life we enjoy, good jobs of our children and good health of the whole family. Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Not a hindrance
Being poor is not a hindrance to succeed in life. Dapat laging masikap, masipag, matiyaga, huwag maging mareklamo, kritical, madaing kahit konting hirap lang (One should have initiative, be industrious, patient and critical). Always think positive. Masaya kahit may problema or challenges sa buhay dahil naniniwala mayroon Diyos na buhay na lagi natin kasama at hindi tayo pababayaan (We should be happy even if we have problems and accept that challenges in life are natural. We have a God that will always take care of us). Don’t forget, nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa. Walang impossible sa Diyos (Work is for mankind, pity for God). Pray, pray, pray. Pray without ceasing and be happy and thankful in all circumstances.