Overcoming adversity, embracing innovation: Filipino entrepreneur “flips” her business

The Flip Your Biz program of the International Labor Organization (ILO) taught a Filipina entrepreneur to go beyond her passion and evaluate the financial viability of her business, which she nearly lost during the pandemic.

Cathy Turvill is a woman entrepreneur who decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey 21 years ago after a challenging phase in her personal life.

Wanting to be surrounded by nature for peace and prayer, but also needing to generate an income, Cathy decided to start her own business in the health and wellness industry by establishing the Nature Wellness Village.

Based in Barangay Maitim, Amadeo, Cavite, what began as an 1800 sq-meter spa with four employees grew into a thriving enterprise occupying more than one hectare, and encompassing two additional businesses, with Cathy as CEO.


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business had 130 staff members. COVID-19 forced Cathy to lay-off many of her staff. She had to shut down her services completely.

Cathy recalled: “Income dropped almost 100%, and there were still loans to pay and food to put on the table. Pre-pandemic everything was looking very positive with projected growth, until one day it all seemed to be lost.”

She further related: “I felt terrified, anxious, depressed, and so worried. We actually thought we were going to close the business. The worst aspect was having to let go of staff, many of whom were deeply involved in the business and had been there for years. The pandemic was earthshaking, we had to put up a brave front. Everyone was looking to us.”


In 2021, Cathy was invited by a friend to attend the “Flip Your Biz” program, delivered by GREAT Women in partnership with J.P. Morgan Philippines under the Rebuilding Better Project of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Cathy said that from the start of the program, she really felt like she was a part of a community of business owners. “I realized I was not alone and that there is hope.”

She was able to expand her technical knowledge of finance, digital marketing and resilience strategies, while also building a network of supportive, like-minded women across the country.

Overall, Cathy appreciated the emphasis that was placed on innovation and technology. She was inspired to embrace the post-COVID ‘new normal’ and think outside of the box. The session on mental health also played a big role in shifting her mindset. She learned some simple coping techniques that she believes will support her in focusing on her business goals and help her develop the fortitude necessary to face future entrepreneurial challenges.

Cathy joined the ILO-Great Women Flip your Biz Peer Program in January 2022.


Along with 30 other women entrepreneurs, Cathy participated in online technical learning sessions and peer sessions on finance, marketing, business communication, and strategic networking for women entrepreneurs.

After attending the Flip Your Biz programme, Cathy worked to develop a new strategy for her business with a broader approach to wellness.

To diversify income streams, she switched her focus from the wellness center to expanding her food branch: Nature Farmacy.

This part of the business sells healthier products such as juices, vegetable chips and organic produce. The expansion required her to build the capacity of her current team, who now work for both sides of the business. She has also expanded the team’s age diversity, and is actively learning from younger employees about the power of digital marketing and social media.

Turvill is now cultivating more land and choosing what food to grow based on market demand. She has also won some new contracts with hotels in the area.

Excited to embrace challenges and opportunities, and armed with new tools from the Flip Your Biz program, she is optimistic about the future.


Today, Cathy describes her business as a passion project embracing the values of Proudly Filipino, Health & Wellness, Inclusive Growth, and Sustainability. They are now back on track, with about 60 employees and growing.

She has expanded her business vision beyond just a spa and into a greater range of holistic wellness activities. Guests visiting the Nature Wellness Village will enter an expansive garden and choose a specific eco-therapy package, which includes meals, massages, activities, spa treatments and more.



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