The Life and Times of Pasig’s Foremost Educator
Jared Carlo L. Echevarria, Publisher
Augusto M. Morales fondly called as “Sir Tito '' or “Prof. Tito '' to a generation of Pasig residents is an icon. From the humble corridors of Pasig Catholic College to the long kilometric buildings of Rizal High School, Sir Tito is a titan of his time bringing with him his wisdom, his wit, and his very stern but fatherly grin.
Born on August 8, 1940, Tito is the eldest among the seven children of Jose M. Morales and Rosario R. Mayuga of Taal, Batangas. His love for music was instituted to him by his aunt, Professor Marina Diokno of Centro Escolar University who taught him how to play the piano at a very early age. We will never know what kind of music he started to play or the first notes he pressed on the keys, but one thing is for certain, music made a profound impact in his life that his very name became synonymous to “music” itself.
After spending his secondary education at the St. Francis Minor Seminary in Davao City and the Ateneo de Davao, he quickly moved to the San Jose Major Seminary in Quezon City for the fulfillment of his lifelong dream to enter priesthood. However, his poor health became a hindrance for him to continue with this lifelong vocation which is why he was forced to leave the seminary - a frustration he carried for the rest of his life. Come to think of it, Fr. Tito or maybe even Bishop Tito. One would surely wonder how he could have been as part of our clergy. Nevertheless, the world outside the seminary became kinder to him as he would be given a chance to work with the CICM Fathers in Pasig, which would eventually send him for further studies at the St. Louis University in Baguio. Pasig of the 60s and the 70s is obviously different to what it is now. There is less industry and still plenty of idle lands especially behind the Pasig Market where children would play during the rain or in the summer play games at the scorching heat of the sun at the fields. In short, life was simpler back then for the children and for Mr. Morales it was at this time that he discovered another vocation – to be an educator.
He taught Music and Religion in Pasig Catholic College, Rizal High School and Colegio del Buen Consejo and for many years his name echoed on these corridors. He would usually bring with him either a melodion or a portable keyboard to teach his students songs for the Holy Eucharist or anything which would instill to his pupils the love of songs. However, he is not like the fun Fraulein Maria in the Sound of Music but actually more of a Captain Von Trapp for he is strict but very fatherly. When his pupils would hear him enter the room, everyone instantly becomes eerily quiet and frozen to perfection. They are well behaved not because they are afraid but because they know whom to respect. Sir Tito’s impeccable English skills is perhaps a remnant of a bygone generation of Filipinos and if you hear him speak this language, you should wait for him to translate everything in Latin! He is not only a teacher, he is a professor for he professes knowledge and commits everyone to do the same.
His life in Sacred Music is truly unprecedented, he led a lot of Choirs and honed a lot of great singers and Choirmasters one of which is Mr. Norberto Edades whom he treated as a son and apprentice. Sir Tito conducted choirs for competitions but most importantly for the Church. Even in his last years, he would attend masses regularly, play the organ or be so sentimental as to conduct choirs whom he had trained for decades. This is true because the members already brought their children and sometimes nieces and nephews just to have a feel that indeed Sir Tito became a family. It is a reunion of some sort when the choristers would be notified that “Prof Tito” will be coming for the rehearsals.
It is indeed a life shaped by music. For his service to the Church as the Chancery Secretary of the Diocese of Pasig under then Bishop Francisco San Diego and now Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, he reaped important recognitions but maybe his most important award is a life well spent and well lived. There may be a momentary silence on his lips but the songs and his music will forever echo in the memories of the people closest to his heart.
Sir Tito died last June 27, 2020 at the age of 79.