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.