Her Journey: Not just another pretty face.
Catherine was born in Jolo, Sulu, Philippines. Her ethnicity is a mix of Visayan, Spanish, and Irish. Visayan also called Bisayan belongs to the Filipino ethnic group. Her parents both speak Hiligaynon/Tagalog but the language never stuck with her as she moved to the USA when she was five years old and her parents didn’t speak the language as frequently. As a child, she was very shy and tiny which made bullying evident.
Catherine was introduced to the Bodybuilding and Fitness world when she was eighteen years old. She joined Golds Gym in Salinas, California because she had a desire to want to be tone, fit, healthy, and strong. Upon joining the gym, she was immediately put through an APEX Nutritional Program and circuit routine. Catherine learned how to prepare lean meals, make healthy food choices/alternatives, and how to use the weightlifting equipment. Inner willpower, healthy food knowledge and the right exercise intensities helped her achieve her fitness goals.
Catherine’s body transformed within weeks of the nutritional program and she loved the way she felt and looked. She quickly became friends with the local bodybuilders who took her under their guidance and showed her how to effectively train to get her body to the next level. Her body responded quickly. She loved exercising so much that she decided to get certified as fitness trainer to help other people get in shape. Her first fitness certification was achieved through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Years later, she got her Personal Training certification with ACE (American Council of Exercise).
Catherine eventually took her fitness levels to a point where she decided to compete.
Her first competition was in Monterey, California where she was sponsored by Baseball Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson.
During her early years of competitions, she was also studying to become a nurse. Catherine became a Licensed Vocational Nurse (L.V.N.) and then continued her education to become a Registered Nurse.
In the beginning of her nursing career she specialized in emergency and intensive care. The emergency room allowed her to provide care to many different people with a range of ages and health ailments. That unpredictability kept her challenged and stimulated. Catherine has also worked with the Visiting Nurses Association and conducted flu clinics, worked in behavioral health with schizophrenic and bipolar patients, and at an Alzheimer’s daycare where she initiated a fitness program. It was very rewarding for her to be in a position to not only save lives but having been able to touch many lives in a positive way but she really enjoyed being outside of the hospital and helping “well” people prevent illness and live a healthier lifestyle. She decided to incorporate her knowledge and love of fitness with her Registered nursing skills. Which eventually led her to enhance her skills in Aesthetics Medicine. Its really an art in itself sculpting the body and enhancing one’s features using the latest skin rejuvenation technology such as with laser treatments (photofacials), microdermabrasions, chemical peels, fillers and neurotoxins such as botox. Incorporating daily exercise and nutrition you really can transform the human body to a fit and healthy machine both inside and out.
Aside from being passionate about health and fitness, Catherine is also a devoted mother.
“I believe if a child has the basics of living met early in life, shown continuous love, guidance and support, then nothing in his/her life is impossible to achieve. By doing so, we will enhance not only their success in life but our society as a whole. Children are our future of tomorrows.”
Although early in her own childhood having lived in Asia exposed her to lots of exotic fruits from mangos, mangosteens, papayas, and snake skin fruit, and fresh fish, she also ate alot of unhealthy foods such as Ramen Noodle Soups, Lumpias, salty fried fish and over-cooked stir frys, fried liver and onions, white rice, hot dogs and spam, Wonder Bread, soy sauce, coca-cola, and her mom seemed to fry everything in lard and bacon. Her mom was a great cook as long as you weren’t concerned with your health. The move to the USA introduced her family and Catherine to the highly processed, and more “convenience” foods.
The new food of choice was fast foods; McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., Burger King, Taco Bell and KFC. Catherine stated, “I think the only thing that saved me from becoming obese as a young girl was my mouse appetite and my Asian genetics. When I started learning about nutrition, health and fitness, I avoided these places. Now-a-days, fast food chains are making efforts in providing more healthier food choice alternatives to their traditional menu items. The menu’s are evolving but it’s still a work in progress. The quality of the food still doesn’t provide you with adequate nutrients the body needs to deliver good health to the individual. Okay, let me be specific. An Iceberg lettuce salad with a few small baby tomoatoes drenched with a high caloric dressing does not constitute a healthy nutritional salad. However, it gives you the illusion of Im getting a salad, so it must be healthy. Wrong! It’s all empty calories.”
Catherine knows as a single parent how being crunched on time can mean turning to quick, convenience foods to make meal time easier but with careful planning it can be avoided. Carry an ice chest in the car for those needed cold drinks of water which can be handy after school so you don’t get tempted to just go to the drive thru and order the high fructose juices and soda to quench your child’s thirst. “As a parent, I am trying to make the conscious choice not to buy and feed my child fast foods but if there comes a time you do its not the end of the world, just try to keep in mind that you are feeding your child empty calories (deep fried fries and chicken nuggets or a burger on white bread bun) does not constitute live nutrient dense quality foods for your child. We are shaping the eating habits of the child in the future and need to make sure we add more wholesome grains, organic fruits and vegetables to the rest of the child
s meals. We must teach them its okay from time to time, that its okay to have an occassional trip to their favorite fast food establishment but food should provide the body with dense nutrients, natural vitamins/minerals and enzymes for proper digestion and optimum health. Keep your child active in some kind of daily recreational activity to not only keep the body burning calories, building muscle and bone but also to increase oxygenation to all parts of the body but especially important to the brain and heart. Studies have shown better school function and focus when a child eats nutrient packed meals and exercise.”
There is a growing epidemic in America that is affecting our children and it is called Childhood Obesity! Parents need to learn what a healthy balanced meal incorporates and teach our children its importance. If the food is high in fats, sodium or sugars toss it out. Be happy, have fun, enjoy food and stay active. Its a choice to live a healthy life.
“I enjoy learning about the different people and cultures of the world, the natural ways of preventing health ailments, the necessities of preserving the environment, and observing wild animals and creatures within their natural environment. It saddens me to learn and see the destruction of our planet and death of innocent animals and people due to the ignorance and greed of mankind all for money and power.
It is not too late for all this violence to stop and we unite as one and try to accept our differences and work together at harmony for all life. If we can’t live in absolute harmony with one another, hopefully we can acknowledge the importance to save our oceans, rainforests, and help improve our planet, Earth, that sustains all our existence. To really understand the world, one must travel.”
One of Catherine’s most memorable and highly educational travel experiences was when she accompanied a rainforest and coral reef organization called Seacology to the Islands of Samoa. This trip was led by an Ethnobotonist, Dr. Paul Cox. He was highly respected by the Samoan higher chiefs and was honored with the name, “Nafanua.”
He wrote a book of his experiences which he named, Nafanua. On this particular trip, she witnessed the opening day of a rainforest canopy walkway and the seacology group and Catherine sat in a large circle with the higher chiefs chanting as their virgin created a Kava drink which was passed around to each of them to drink. The walkway that Dr. Cox helped initiate years prior had saved this miraculous rainforest from being cut down. The canopy walkway was created so people can visit the rainforest without destroying the medicinal plant life. He founded a plant extract growing in the rainforest called Prostratin which at the time was being tested at the AIDS foundation in being a possible cure for the AIDS virus.
While in Western Samoa, the group also visited the home of famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson which was turned into a museum after his death. It was also the home that he spent the last days of his life in. It was a two story house with a red roof, two verandas, one upstairs, one down, and with a nearby waterfall, a stream, and was at the foot of Mount Vaea. “It was peaceful, open and airy. I can see why he always came back to this place.”
Her experience was an amazing eye opening journey that took her through several Samoan islands beginning from Pago Pago, American Samoa, then to Apia, Upolu, and then Falealupo, Savaii. Catherine’s open mind and heart along with her friendly smile quickly was welcomed by the natives.
“It is a must see to add to your lists to do before you die.” Don’t let Catherine’s glamour looks fool you, she can go without makeup and she is not scared to get down in the mud and dirt. Catherine spent five weeks in East Africa traveling by jeep from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara and Nakuru, and then to the coast of Mombasa, Kilifi, and Malindi and then all the way towards Arusha and Tanzania. The roads were nonexistent and dangerously fun. Aside from seeing the land and the African people by jeep, she explored the landscape on a hot air balloon flying across the Maasai Mara which revealed the endless, magnificient landscapes, diverse terrains and thousands of roaming wild animals seeking to find new grasslands. Everyday was an exciting adventure while in Africa. This is the kind of exciting life, Catherine loves…
You have to keep your eyes wide open as pick pocketing and road hazards were everywhere. Of course, you can’t go to Africa at the time of the Great Migration and not explore it closer.
“It literally took my breath away seeing the wild animals by the hundreds of thousands running free right before my eyes; wilderbeast, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, impalas, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, elephants crossing rivers in family groups of 10 to 12, baboons caring for their young, Martial eagles, buffalos, dung beetles, killer ants, crocodiles and exotic birds. I spent time with the Maasai Tribes and learned how they lived in huts made of elephant dung, twigs, and dirt.
They made their own fires without matches, boiled their water taken from the Mara River, and witnessed them stabbing their sacred cow to drain blood from it to mix with the milk. The tribe found ways to live in harmony with nature. I learned that the people and animals are not the only ones adapting to the dry African plains. The African Baobab trees stand strong in the heat with a monster size girth (100 ft – 154 ft.). Baobabs store water in the trunk (up to 32,000 US gallons) to endure the regions drought periods. Genius! Not only are they able to store so much water but they provide some shadow for the surrounding animals and their bark is fire proof! They also bear edible fruits that are used by the natives to make sugary snacks and marmaldes.”
Catherine has also lived and traveled extensively through Asia.
She has traveled to Japan, Bangkok, Thailand to the islands of Phuket, Krabi, Ko Lanta, Maya Beach, Phi Phi Island, Singapore, Bali, Indonesia, Angkor Wat, Seim Reap, Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, East Malaysia and climbed Mount Kinabalu and trekked the Borneo rainforests. To discuss all of her memories of Asia would be a book in itself. Let’s begin with Borneo.
Catherine enjoyed trekking through the Borneo Rainforest, said to be the oldest rainforest in the world, a forest over a 100 million years old.
Although the trees were not as tall as Northern California’s Sequoia Redwood forests which still holds the record at 379.65 ft. However, the Borneo rainforest is home to the Probiscus Monkey otherwise known as the Dutch Monkey. It was her first time that she witnessed a Probiscus Monkey except on television shows such as Animal Planet or National Geographic. These large nosed docile monkeys with big pot bellies were hilarious to watch.
“It was incredible to see them swinging freely on the trees above. Gibbon Apes were also witnessed within the rainforest. On my 4th morning at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge I awoke finding blood all over my bed sheets and as I stood up I noticed blood dripping down from my leg, to my surprise I found a large leech attached to my theigh. I gently brushed it off. It came off with ease since it had its fill. I quickly searched my son to see if he may have one attached too. It was not uncommon to find a leach during treks through the Borneo rainforest. The rainforest was crawling with aggressive leeches. When a leech bites you it uses a combination of mucus and suction to stay attached. It thins the blood by secreting an anticoagulant enzyme called hirudin. It will stay attached until it becomes full, at which point it falls off to digest. Due to the hirudin, bites may bleed more than a normal wound after the leech is removed. Being a nurse, I treated the bite accordingly.”
If your seeking out relaxation, serenity, warm ocean waters with sandy white beaches, peace… a place to unwind but still with cultural flair and adventure close by, Catherine would say at the present time, go to Bali, Indonesia.
She spent a month in Bali, Indonesia residing at the Melia Benoa Resort in Nasa Dua. A resort with lots of activities for both kids and adults.
Only a short drive away is Ubud where you can go river rafting. It is filled with beautiful scenery and the mountain sides are covered with carvings of Balinese figures. Also nearby visit the rice plantations and spend some time observing the people cultivating the rice.
While in Indonesia, Catherine learned so much about the different spices and their medicinal uses and the amazing flavors and aromas they created in combination. Indonesia was a culinary experience. “The Indonesian people are gentle with kind souls. You can fall in love with their hospitality and desires to please.”
While in Europe, Catherine spent time in Paris, Amsterdam, Belgium, Rome and London. She enjoyed exploring the castles and cathedrals. Catherine was in awe with the many magnificient and well built architectual buildings each european city seemed to have. Many are masterpieces of art. Even the homes were well built structures and the window shutters were real and had purpose unlike the structures we have in Los Angeles. Well, although few we do offer have some nice structures like the Getty Museum and the Disney Music hall. Back to Europe. Catherine enjoyed London, U.K. because everyone spoke English and the city was easy to move about. The countrysides to Windsor castle was so lush and green. She felt that Paris was absolutely beautiful and romantic, an exciting city with lots of energetic people, but also noisy and with lots of traffic.
She preferred and seemed to enjoy the sightseeing walking around the beautiful city than driving. There is a magnificient view of the city outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Catherine enjoyed the Louvre Museum which was much quieter and she admired the many sculptures and paintings of some of the greatest artists that ever lived such as the works of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting. It was highly guarded with security. She also enjoyed watching her son feed the pigeons beneath the Eiffel tower built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.
The Eiffel Tower is visually more magnificent at night than during the daytime. Although, Catherine enjoyed her time in Paris she fell in love with Italy. 10 days in Rome is simply not enough time.
The food is full of flavor and the people are passionate about life. “I really enjoyed strolling the streets of Rome both night and day. It was amazing to be able to walk on the same 2,000 year old cobble stone walkways that the Romans had once rode their horses on. I got goosebumps as I stood within the Colloseum as I imagined the gladiators that fought at the same place that I stood. All the fountains were beautiful works of art. The Pantheon, the Vatican and St. Peters, the Spanish steps, its hard to imagine all the Roman fighting that took place. It was incredible to see so many Roman structures still intact and at the same time to see the destruction of many incredible buildings due to the past wars. I love Italy and hope to see life in Naples, Sicily, Venice, Florence, Capri, Lake Como, Tuscany and of course the Italian Riviera. Amore! I have only touched a small layer of this amazing planet and there is still so much of this world I want to explore and learn about. My compass is set for South America and then Australia Outback then to New Zealand!”
So far, wherever Catherine has traveled to, even in the most underdeveloped areas of the world such as Cambodia, there was always a gym of some sort and healthy foods to choose from if you take the time to seek it out.
You are not alone in this world and we need to be more conscious of our surroundings and our bodies. You have the power to take control of your Health, Body and Mind. Don’t wait, Start now.
Catherine hopes this website encourages people to be conscious of the world around themselves, to choose to live a healthier lifestyle.
You can contact her via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating a better world one person at a time.
Youth has no age.- Pablo Picasso
“Dreams come true when desire transforms them into concrete action. Ask Life for Great Gifts and you encourage life to deliver them to you.”- Napoleon Hill