Rayla Melchor Santos with Patricia Evans

It was Mom who introduced me to Patricia Evans.  Mom gave me her book, Verbally Abusive Relationship in 2003.  I looked Mom lovingly and told her rather exhausted, “Mom, do you really think I would like to read this now?”.


Unperturbed, she went on to create her Merci Melchor for Battered Women brochures. Her first brochure, “Abuse is More Than Hitting”,  had “Basic Rights in a Relationship by Patricia Evans”. This was my first encounter with Ms. Evans.  It blew my mind and wished I read it much earlier. I instructed the mentors in my school to adopt and teach it to the children.  The earlier, the best!


Fast forward 2010.
I finally picked up the book in September 2010 as I needed to work on the conceptual framework of the I AM SAM Prevention Protocol. I typed the whole book, 180 pages in a Word file to be able to read and importantly, finish it. It was only then that I truly understood what I went through. It was so helpful for my healing and recovery.


I could not get enough of Patricia. Checking out her website, I found out that she hosts an annual Clarity Weekend in May in Northern California.  I so set my heart to go but the wedding of the son of a dear friend in Djakarta was on the same weekend. I searched the site looking for another weekend date perhaps later in the year.  Not finding anything, I started dialing the number on the website.  OMG! after 7 or 8 rings, ready to put down the receiver, someone answers and it was … Patricia Evans. I was expectedly tongue-tied but very swiftly, the conversation was warm and accepting.  What generosity of spirit! She asked for my address and sent all her 4 books!


I did not make the Clarity Weekend but in July 8, 2011, I was able to meet Patricia, in San Francisco and spent a glorious whole day with her. The Lord indeed has been gracious.


Patricia Evans is now a partner of foundation. I have still to attend her Clarity Weekend. It is something I would like to give myself sooner than later. Also, I would love to bring Patricia to Asia. Part of my bucket list!




About My Books, By Patricia Evans
Each of my books covers different information and all are essential to building a complete understanding of Verbal
Best recommendation: read them in sequence!


The FIRST, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” shows that verbal abuse is a lot more than name-calling and that there are a dozen main categories of verbal abuse, from the silent treatment and discounting, to threatening and name-calling.


The SECOND book, “Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out,” explains other forms of control, addresses coping and suggest that readers be sure that any therapist they go to is aware of the dynamics of verbally abusive relationships.


The THIRD, “Controlling People,” clearly lays out what goes on in the mind of the person who uses verbal abuse to control someone, or some group. There is nothing else like it. Dr. David L. Quinby, Professor, Emeritus, Dept. of Psychology, Youngstown State University says, “Human kind urgently needs this, both on an individual and a collective level. Nothing else seems to be working very effectively.”


The FOURTH book, “The Verbally Abusive Man – Can He Change?” shows the reader exactly what to do to wake up a person who indulges in verbal abuse, but thinks that either they don’t indulge in verbal abuse or think that they are provoked to be abusive when no one has abused them. Some people respond to verbal abuse, such as: “You’re too sensitive”, with a comment like “You’re being a jerk.” They don’t know how to respond in a non abusive way. This book helps to sort it all out and is ideal for partners of people who indulge in verbal abuse, and likewise is ideal for people who want to stop being verbally abusive.


The FIFTH Book, “Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life,” is designed to empower you to create the life you want, far from senseless accusations, wounding words, and confusing comments. And, there is an affirmation and message for every week of the year.


​From www.verbalabuse.com:
POWERFUL VIDEO ON VERBAL ABUSE http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/dec/02/advertising-domestic-violence

Rayla Melchor Santos File

Rayla Melchor Santos with Ellen Firestone


Co-convenor of United for Human RIghts: Phillypine Initiative and
Board Trustee, Global Education Motivators, Philadelphia, US


I met Ellen through Youth for Human RIghts International (YHRI). Both Ellen and I were using their educational material and one of the directors said we had to meet each other since we both had such passion for what each of us was doing. After an exchange of emails and across the seas, we put together United for Human RIghts Phillypines Initiative with the tagline: making human rights a fact from Philadelphia to the Philippines.


We did meet in Philadelphia and participated in the Declare Peace Fair  in July 2011 right next to the Liberty Bell. Since, we have gotten together & have spoken yearly for the 7-9th UN Teachers Conference for Teaching Human Rights and Peace (UNTCHRP) in New York.

We are unstoppable because the sun never sets on human rights and the sisters!

Rayla Melchor Santos File

Rayla Melchor Santos with Bisi Adebayo

Dr. BISI ADEBAYO has been appointed as I AM SAM Director for AFRICA and EUROPE.  I met Bisi at a talk organised at the UN in Geneva last Oct 2013 where I spoke about the I AM SAM Prevent-to-Empower Protocol (PEP), its flagship program. BISI, one of the attendees from the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices, has sInce stayed in close contact with I AM SAM embracing PEP as a solution to the traditional harmful practices in her beloved Africa.

On May 21, 2014, after the unspeakable and horrific kidnapping of the 270 girls in Nigeria, I received an email from Bisi inviting me to share the I AM SAM PEP as a “solution” to the many challenges besetting children, girls and women,  in 2 UN Panels during the 26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The 1st UN Panel: “Protecting and Safeguarding the Human Rights of Children was held on June 11 and the 2nd UN Panel: “Harmful Traditional Practices Based on Religion, Superstition, Tradition and Culture was held on June 17.
The partnership between BISI and SAM is built on mutual love, respect,  gratitude and the deepest desire to Shake And Move the world to END FGM and Child Marriage, among others. BISI brings into I AM SAM her expertise and forte par excellence in advocacy work. ​



Rayla Melchor Santos with Bisi Adebayo (middle)  with the IAMSAM African Mentor banners of Archbishop Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandela at The Serpentine,  Palais des Nations, UN Geneva on June 10, 2014.

The partnership has addressed two pressing issues for women and children in Africa: Child Marriage and FGM.

Rayla Melchor Santos with Navi Pillay

UN High Commissioner, Human Rights Council


I had a chance to meet, greet and exchange pleasantries with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during  the Ethical Fashion Show as part of “The Power of the Empowered Women 2014”, put together by the UN Women Ambassadors and  (World Trade Organization) last June 12, 2014 at the WTO grounds, UN Geneva.


I was “starstruck” by her simplicity and down right humbleness and am in absolute awe with her sterling accomplishments.  A must read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navi_Pillay)!


​Please note the I AM SAM brochure in the hands of Ms. Pillay. Looking back, It wasn’t only pleasantries we exchanged, I was able to share with her briefly why I was at the UN in Geneva and the work of the foundation. For this, I received appreciation and encouragement “to continue the good work”!


Rayla Melchor Santos with Maricar Gustilo – de Ocampo

Rayla Melchor Santos with Maricar Gustilo – De Ocampo, sought after speaker on Children, Parent and Teacher Training and Education


I met Maricar in New York many, many moons ago. I had just got to Manhattan after studying in London and Maricar had just finished her Masters in Education at Bank Street College of Education in NY. When I returned to Manila after teaching preschool in New York, our paths more than crossed. We shared too many things in common, amongst which were: a passion for children and the talent for teaching children and CISV (Children’s International Summer Villages). We were adult leaders roundabout the same time. I had gone to Norway and Car, as I most fondly call her, went to Japan. Eventually, we lived in the same subdivision and would meet up particularly when we needed to borrow strength from each other.  Our bond was further cemented as I got her to be the godmother in baptism of my second baby, Rafael AKA Buffy.
We will both not ever forget that one time I brought a batch of my Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies , freshly baked to delirious perfection. We sat at the back of her car munching away in total bliss and abandon with both our feet up talking about anything and everything. We were as serious about cookies as we were about our shared profession. Maricar was the editor of the Beginning Reader Books Mom and I wrote in the 90s. I got her too to sit on the board of a school I established in 1996. It was no surprise that she was the favourite and most requested guest speaker in our Parent Nights.


​​When I became a single mom, there was not a week that she did not call to check on me, Mom and my sons. Oftentimes, she would send us boxes of Go Nuts Donuts, her husband’s latest brainchild.
I shall be forever grateful to ‘Car.  She is my she-ro! I love her dearly and salute the heroic and selfless choices she has made despite.
God bless you, ‘Car with strength and favour, and please, Lord, abundantly.

Rayla Melchor Santos with Erin Gruwell

I met ERIN GRUWELL, Founder of Freedom Writers Foundation at the 3rd Stephen Covey’s The Leader In ME Global Education Summit in California, Pennsylvania (outside of Pittsburgh) on August 3, 2011. I have heard many motivation speakers but have not been moved as much as I have been by Erin.  We were 700 + educators with a handful of us from outside of the US in the auditorium. Not one of these co-educators, not Sean nor Joshua Covey and the team from Franklin Covey had his/her eyes dry listening to Erin. I had the opportunity to speak with her after the talk, during the book signing. I told her that I would need to have as many teachers in the Far East hear her too.  We exchanged contact details for this purpose.


In April of 2012, I received an email from her.  It was to invite me to participate in and speak at the Freedom  Writers Institute educator-training program called The August Institute, in Long Beach, California on August 2nd through the 7th, 2012. The August Institute was to be filmed by the film crew that collaborated on Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List,Teachers’ Edition. The finished project will be distributed worldwide for remote training purposes.


I was honored to read : “because of the similar focus between our organizations, we believe it would be mutually beneficial if you shared her experiences, visions, and goals with I Am SAM Foundation for children’s rights”.  How can you say anything other than YES to be with Erin, meet her students from Wilson High and other educators from all over the US and the world and be filmed too by the Stephen Spielberg crew.


The five-day intensive training program for educators across the world was held at the Hotel Maya, a beachside destination resort. Erin was the gracious host and main facilitator . There are no words to express what a wonderful experience it was. We had our Welcome and Despedida Dinners at the Foundation headquarters in Long Beach. Made a visit to the Museum of Tolerance in Downtown Los Angeles where I had the opportunity to meet 3 of the 150 remaining survivors of the Holocaust and was treated to a tour at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and special viewing of Freedom Writers Diary by Stephen Spielberg.


The purpose of Freedom Writers Foundation is to engage, empower, and enlighten educators across the world to foster children’s rights, teach equitably, promote tolerance, and encourage children to make the best of their lives.

Rayla Melchor Santos with Cicilia Seleyian

​I met Cicilia at the 9th UN Teachers Conference on Human Rights and Peace on April 4, 2014 at the UN HQ in New York. I sat beside her and she was beautiful in her traditional costume and those gorgeous beads I could not take my eyes off. It was her very first trip outside of her village, the Olmaroroi Village in Kenya and her first time on a plane. Your first trip ever and to the United Nations no less! We were all happiest for her!


Cicilia struck me as a very strong and resolute woman who sat proudly speaking her mind and heart for women. This got me to tease Chief Joseph, her better half that Cicilia spoke so well implying she was the better “speaker of the (their) house”! A photo candidly taken by Sam Reiser, from across the room captured this exact moment. The women of her tribe, the Maasai Tribe of the Olmaroroi Village in Kenya are definitely better off in every way because of Cicilia.



​I get chills now recalling how Cicilia after hearing me speak about the I AM SAM Prevent-to-Empower Protocol (PEP), gripped my arm firmly and with those searing eyes that touched my soul said, “you must do something about FGM!”.
Then FGM was not in my purview as it is today. I owe this consciousness to the African women in my life, Cicilia included.
Today, Cicilia, we have I AM SAM FOR AFRICA with the very able Dr. Bisi Adebayo of Nigeria and Geneva, Switzerland at the helm. Together, we are teaching girls to embrace their own self-worth and to say “I AM Special, Unique and Precious and I say “NO” to FGM! Because I AM Special, Unique and Precious, no one can abuse my body and spirit!


Cicilia, you are a Shaker And Mover who makes things happen! You are indeed Special, Unique and Precious!


This is Cicilia and Chief Joseph’s organization:

Rayla Melchor Santos with Angie Conti-Martinez

Rayla Melchor Santos with ANGIE CONTI-MARTINEZ, Owner & CEO of Conti’s,
The 1st SAM L.E.A.P.S. (Love and Embrace A/All Public Schools) STAR Awardee


One fine early night, over two years ago, I went walking around my neighborhood and I literally met an angel, Angela Martinez, on the street where we both live. She had a very warm and sweet smile, and was quite friendly. We exchanged numbers and eventually emails.  I shared my passion which is the foundation and I got to know and was thrilled to meet one of the persons behind a favorite of mine and many, Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant!


Angie responded to one of my emails which was an invitation to the first ever I AM S.A.M. Foundation Educators Forum in San Beda College Alabang on July 14, 2012. She came at the very end and was met by a trove of 450 happiest educators from the public schools of Muntinlupa on their way out after a fun, significant and meaningful day. I hurriedly introduced her and her son, Gabriel to Mom, the founder of  I AM SAM.


THEN, ….  ANGIE GOT INVOLVED! She became one of the judges in the finals of the Build-up Activities in the celebration of the 21st National Children’s Month in October 2013. With the biggest of hearts, she provided the snacks and water for the 800 attendees during SAM WALK and the Awarding Ceremony last November 21, 2013.  Having paid forward, I wholeheartedly accepted to give an inspirational talk using the I AM SAM PEP (Prevent-to-Empower Protocol) during her company’s annual team building  workshop for top management and part of middle management in Tagaytay last May 5, 2014. The Conti’s gift certificates have become a part of our celebrations during the  Extra Special Partners (Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao) monthly meetings and get-togethers! Angie also has dropped in and graced activities like the Special Mother’s Day Treat for the ESP Team with her children and their friends in tow for much moral support! And again, this year, on November 29 for SAM WALK and the Awarding Ceremony in celebration of the 22nd National Children’s Month and 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), Conti’s provided snacks and water for the 1,100+ children and other stakeholders of the 28 public schools of Muntinlupa! Oh, I almost forgot! Angie texts or we/I text her when we need something and yes, on two occasions, we did need to feed 100 HS students each, from Pedro E Diaz HS and Muntinlupa Science HS! Lo and behold, an answered prayer, she texted back that she would share her grocery money. We had juice and snacks and she had her cook make delicious fried chicken which the students so appreciated and devoured with much gusto!


​It is no wonder that ANGELA “Angie” CONTI- MARTINEZ is the 1st I AM SAM L.E.A.P.S (Love and Embrace A/ All Public Schools) STAR Awardee. I choked as I read to her and to all, the Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition. It reads:


Is lovingly and proudly presented to
For taking the Leap of Faith and Focus with us
to Love and Embrace All Public Schools
in the School District of Muntinlupa


and for knowing and in knowing, doing …….
For “to whom much is given, much will be required and demanded,
more will be asked of him to whom more has been entrusted”. (Luke 12:48)


You are a Shaker And Mover! You are a S.T.A.R (Someone To Admire and Recognize) !


NOT THE LEAST,  Angie is one of my prayer warriors who I text unashamedly with general and specific prayer requests. I wear a ring she gave me from her recent spiritual pilgrimage as a symbol to stay courageous and focused on Him.  We have been blessed to spend quality time together.  On Angie’s initiative despite her horrendous schedule where every minute counts,  it has been either an afternoon tea or a brief but wonder-full lunch on Saturdays! Such special, unique and precious moments for two friends in our respective and parallel journeys with one heart.


Angie lives up to her name! She is heaven sent! Though, Mom did not live long enough to get to know Angie more, I am certain she smiles from Heaven knowing and comforted that yes, I have an angel on earth in the person of Angie who loves and embraces the foundation she founded ……  and a sister I never had!


Doris Magsaysay Ho

Rayla Melchor Santos with DORIS MAGSAYSAY – HO,  Chair, ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) 2015 in Shangri-La, Boracay, Aklan, May 17, 2015 at APEC 2015


I know Doris as the daughter of my mom’s dear friend and fellow artist, Anita Magsaysay – Ho*. Doris and I share a beautiful and blessed gift: the unconditional and empowering love of a mother.  It is thus this tremendous grace that needs no words. Whenever we bump into each other in social and professional functions, and hug each other, our hugs have an extra, unspoken and common message: “I miss Mom and thank you, Mom!”


Doris is a person to admire and recognize.  As an advocate for women empowerment, she shortens the gender parity gap of 81 years.  I can say this because …
Ms. Doris Magsaysay Ho is the CEO of the Magsaysay Group of Companies which is involved in shipping, logistics, human resources, marine travel and tourism. She is also the President and CEO of Magsaysay Transport & Logistics Group, the shipping arm of the Magsaysay Group of Companies.  She serves as a Director or Trustee of Batangas Bay Carriers, Inc. Creatives Asia Company, Inc. & Filipinas Maritime Transport Corporation. She was a Member of the Business Advisory Board at Healthpoint Capital, LLC. She serves as a Trustee at The Asia Society.


Ms. Ho was recognized as the Global Filipino Executive of the Year at the Asia CEO Awards in 2012. In 2011, Ms. Ho also received the Lloyd’s List Asia 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution in the shipping industry. In 2010, she ranked 94th in the Lloyd’s List of 100 Most Influential People in the Shipping Industry. Ms. Ho also received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Social Responsibility in 2004.
(http://www.magsaysay-logistics.com/about/page/23/74/Doris_Magsaysay_Ho & http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=7421613&ticker=LSC:PM)


I hug Doris today as the Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council … but I will always know and hug her as the daughter of Anita Magsaysay – Ho, Mom’s dear friend and fellow artist.


* Tita Anita would have been a National Artist for Visual Arts had it not been for a nationality issue.  In Mom’s invitation, on the back, to a solo exhibit, “Impressions by Merci Melchor” in 1996,  Tita Anita is quoted as saying: “Merci is a fine, dedicated artist … paints mostly in pastel and oil.  Her paintings have a lot of movement, and her colors are pleasing. She is a very promising artist, and I think she would reach greater heights. “ She also cut the ribbon at the opening Mom’s exhibit “Fascination”.
Mom and Tita Anita would paint, dance (Makarena) and travel together. Tita Anita was also the classmate of Mom’s aunt at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

Rayla Melchor Santos with Leni Robredo


– Rayla Melchor Santos


I shared this sometime early April 2016 in Fb in unqualified and full support for the only national candidate I campaigned for in  2016, Leni Robredo. Much, if not all of it was from an introduction I used in August 8, 2015 during the IAMSAM Very Soft Launch of the Shaker And Mover Award:


Rayla Melchor Santos Fb Files