This Is How Nurture Wellness Village Founder Turned Her Heartbreak Into Wellness Gamechanger

By Marane A. Plaza

In the early 2000s, spa was relatively a new concept. And Nurture Wellness Village, a spa garden known for its feel-good lush greeneries, Filipino massage, organic restaurant and nutrition classes, was just introducing a new way of rejuvenation. Ironically, the concept was inspired by a heartbreak.

“I was navigating through my new life as I was coming from a separation from my then-husband. This was in 2001, and I used to go ‘The Spa’ to get a relaxing massage because at the time it was one of the very few spa centers in the metro. I would cry in their jacuzzi there sometimes because I just felt so lost,” she intimately shared in an interview with Stylish.

“Then sometimes, I would drive up here in Tagaytay, visit the famous ‘Pink Sisters Convent & Chapel’ because it was cold and relaxing. It was nice to reflect on your life when you’re going through a heartbreak like that.”

“Honestly, that’s how my vision started. I thought to myself, it would be nice to combine having a lovely massage and then reflect in a quiet place in Tagaytay,” she said. Those were the seeds of the brainchild of Cathy Turvill, one of the founders of Nurture Wellness Village.

“The concept was to build a haven for a woman to find self-love again as she has to reinvent herself while society was judging her. Especially here in the Philippines, it is extra tough for women to go through an ending of a marriage or annulment because the default reaction from the society was to misjudge. When you are feeling lost because of a heartbreak or separation from marriage,  it is easy to go down the wrong path as you have zero self-esteem when you are separating or going through a divorce.”

“A woman could be in that wild-swinging bridge while she finds her balance alone. So I wanted to open a wellness space where women can eat alone without people judging. That was the main concept: to offer a place where women can find herself again as she navigates through a difficult stage.”

More than a decade later, Nurture Wellness Village has grown from a spa hub into a sprawling hectare of gardens that offer spa and massage treatments, a restaurant that serves organic and healthy food, cozy accommodations, team building programs and event venues. 

Cathy, a Culinary Arts Graduate and an internationally licensed therapist has eventually enriched her knowledge in wellness and health, and gained international certifications as a nutritional therapist (UK), a health and wellness coach (US), a living foods educator (US) and a cardiac health facilitator (CHIP, USA). She also studied Body-Mind Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Small Beginnings

“I bought 1,800 square-meter flat land in Barangay Maitim here in Tagaytay in 2001. It was super quiet and dark here before. So I started with a mother and child space, a pond in the center, and then furnished the place with second-hand furniture. So Nurture Spa really started with old, recycled doors and windows,” she shared. “Then I eventually hired a contractor for landscaping.”

The unfortunate thing happened though as the contractor disappeared and ghosted Cathy.

While dealing with her half-finished spa haven, on the side Cathy was quite busy with her activities with The Hash, an organization of expats who would jog and run together.

That’s how she met Dr. Mike Turvill, a British national who’s a doctor in organic chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK.

“Mike came from Shanghai at the time and joined The Hash here in Manila. I had volunteered Nurture Spa to be the site of one of our activities. So he saw my half -finished spa haven, and I explained to him that it was supposed to be spa garden with a restaurant. He asked for a business plan eventually and then invested in the business. That’s how Nurture started to take shape.”

At the time, Mike was formerly the Asia Pacific director at management training at Unilever which made him very particular with business development. He suggested that they “do it right” and hired a spa expert from Thailand named Samantha Foster, who organized the spa menu, treatment offerings and trainings for the staff. 

“At the time, I can say that we were the only ones who introduced correct essential oils for body massage therapies. Mike was studying aromatherapy at the time and his background was a chemist, so it was natural for him to do it ‘the right way’.” 

They introduced their famous essential oils named sigla, amuin, alaga, kulay and gayuma, which was very much about embodying the Filipino culture. 

Soaring Higher

Nurture Wellness was starting to gain loyal clientele, and one of the firsts were lifestyle journalist Lynette dela Riva of the Philippine Inquirer.

“Lynette was kind enough to offer to feature us. We had rustic kubo’s at the time, and yet she still got the concept. She understood we were trying to introduce the spa industry very much like Bali at the time, which was also just starting to get popular during that time in the early 2000s. She wrote about what we offer at the Nurture Wellness. Eventually we got featured in lifestyle shows like F hosted by Angel Aquino, and the rest as they say is history.”

Eventually, Nurture Wellness started offering couples’ massage, and then venue and event coordination for marriage proposals and weddings for their patrons and clients.

Cathy also found new love in Mike, as the two eventually turned from business partners to married couple. Their love story was even featured in the television drama “Maalaala Mo Kaya” on ABS-CBN.

Revolutionizing the Local Wellness Industry

As a chemist, it was natural for Mike to set up his own laboratory for his own concocted essential oils. The couple bought another property beside Nurture for their laboratory.

They put up Hotels and Spa Essentials, Mike’s own supplier company that caters to various hotels and spa hubs across the country.

Nurture Wellness also expanded its offerings from spa and wellness to health and nutrition.

Cathy went to Atlanta, USA to study at the Living Food Institute and Harvard to further learn how nutrition can be used as therapy for better health. She also became a member of American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She was one of the first wellness experts to introduce wheatgrass and kale as superfoods as she came back from the USA.

“Our goal was to offer more than just wellness treatments, but also advocate good nutrition and organic diet to make people healthier and happier,” she said.

Cathy and her Nurture Wellness team started to develop team building programs for employers and employees.

“I really wanted to educate the Filipinos about incorporating good nutrition and wellness for better health. But usually, people don’t listen to a lecture type of education, so we designed experiential lectures and team building programs for companies. Companies usually allot a budget for team building activities, and we thought it was a good start to build a nation with people who know how to prioritize health, nutrition and wellness.”

“Our goal was to reach more people and give them fun yet educational experiential lessons on nutrition, while also building a community and the environment to practice wellness. It was easy to influence health and wellness in the work environment too because co-workers can do it together. Through team building activities, we offer subliminal education on health and wellness.”

As a great granddaughter of Filipina Gabriela Silang, Cathy always believed that her grandma’s revolution was centered on women’s bravery, while hers is wellness revolution.

Soon, Nurture Wellness Village was frequented by local and foreign visitors who would book retreats to work on their health. They would offer natural healing through detox and good nutrition, wherein they would offer kale smoothies and pure soup and no meat diet plans, along with charcoal bath and wrap in their pristine spa space. Some would see improvement in their health in just five days.

“The idea is, you don’t have to pop pills immediately. Wellness can be fun and delicious, and it can improve your health. Prevention is better than cure. We do it in the green environment we have here, an eco-therapy or healing by nature. Studies have given evidence-based facts that when you surround yourself with greenery can make your blood pressure and sugar lower.” 

“For our massage therapies, we don’t hire pretty young things. We hire the ‘nanays’ or mothers from the village as we want to send the message that it is like you are being taken care of by the touch of mothers here.” 

The space had become a 4,000 square meters land with a phytotherapy garden, massage spa center and a healthy restaurant. Nurture also introduced glamping offerings. Later on, Nurture expanded with its Tahan Na Villas, which became The Henry Tagaytay hotel, cementing its place in the wellness real estate industry.

Cathy also recently explored into offering healthy food snacks with Okale, a yummy bag of chips made of kale. Okale is set to be available in different schools so as to reach kids and make healthy snacks available to them. Okale also comes in chocolate and coffee drinks. 

Aside from Okale chips and drinks, Cathy and her team are busy with launching the 

Nurture Aromatherapy Range of Essential Oils, made to relieve stress, improve sleep and elevate wellness. They offer roll-on essential oils such as Focus and Energize oil, Anti-Stress oil, Deep sleep oil and Headache Bliss oil.

Self-Love Is The Core

“Wellness, spa and healthy nutrition is not just about self-love. It is about filling your bucket first before you can pour someone else,” Cathy said. 

“What we do with our wellness revolution is change management – influencing a positive  change one person at a time through nutrition and wellness. I’d like to believe that our efforts have made a difference through the years.”

“I wanted to heal my broken heart and with that, we were able to build Nurture Wellness Villlage. Ours is a story of faith really. You have to know that things do get better. You just have to have faith,” she concluded.

To book your wellness retreats at Nurture, you mav visit the official website at