CATHY Binag has the world at her feet.
With a handful of successful businesses, you would think her five children are spoiled to boot.
But Cathy’s success was hard-earned, colored by a story of struggle against a life of poverty and abuse.
“My father came from a family of professionals while my mother was illiterate,” she said in an interview. “When I was around 12 years old, my parents separated. That’s when me and my brother experienced being homeless — we went around, lived in our friends’ place. I guess that’s how I learned the value of money.”
These forced Cathy to try everything if only to survive; she offered to clean houses and do other people’s laundry for money, selling sweets and accepting dancing gigs. They were never enough, though, she said.
“I am not ashamed of this because instead it failed to destroy me, my personality, my integrity or my character,” she said.
And ashamed she’s not — even sharing the story of how she was sexually molested.
“I turned it as my inspiration to be a stronger person and a woman,” she said. “The dark past, the pain, they became my ‘vitamin’ to keep me going and strive harder.”
She became a mom at 20.
Her first relationship later failed and later, she found love from a Chinese businessman. They had three children — a boy and two girls. Years later, the relationship crumbled again. She found another love, this time from another Chinese businessman, the father of her youngest daughter, Ella. The relationship also failed.
“Even after what I’ve experienced as a child, I could never say it was a hard life because hardship was the only thing I knew of. But when you have your own child, your own children, that’s when you will truly know pain,” Cathy said.
These days, her inspiration are her children. However, it would seem that they are also her kryptonite.
“The only fear I have as a mother, is if my children get hurt and they can’t bear that pain,” she said. “That’s why I teach them to give whatever they can give in life, but to never expect anything in return. At least, they won’t regret it and say ‘what if?’”
Cathy trained her children to always work for something that they want, never giving them the world on a silver platter.
“I went through a rebellious phase after High School,” said Cathy’s eldest child, Bianca. “I couldn’t go out with friends without her permission and she didn’t give me everything I needed that time, and I could not understand why because we had money. It came to a point when I thought she was neglecting me.”
Later on, Bianca realized that her mother was prompting her to become independent.
“I realized then why she was doing that — by not giving me everything I wanted and by not giving me what I needed right away, that’s when you know who your real friends are.” Bianca said.
“That time, she (Bianca) thought I was torturing her, but I was actually only teaching her to value money, time and life,” Cathy said.
Now financially well-off with her beautiful family beside her, Cathy is still constantly reminding her children, three important things that can never be taken away, for richer or poorer: to love unconditionally, to be God-fearing and to avoid materialism.
“More than money, these things, you can make it your own investment in life. In the sense that no matter how bad life gets, no one can break you. No matter how bad your past is, you define who you are and who you will become in the future,” Cathy said.
“It’s not easy to be a parent. A lot of times than not, you have to sacrifice things to be a better person for them,” Cathy said with a lot more wisdom you can expect from a 39-year-old woman.
“But it will always be worth it,” she said. | Joanna Paola Realista Garado
Editor — This article was first posted on www.abdavao.com