Bernardita Catalla

Bernardita Leonido Catalla (February 18, 1958 – April 2, 2020) was a Filipina career diplomat who was last appointed as the Philippine ambassador to Lebanon. Prior to her posting in Lebanon, she was also assigned to Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia.[1][2]

Bernardita Catalla
Ambassador Bernardita Catalla (cropped).jpg
Ambassador Catalla in February 2018
Born(1958-02-18)February 18, 1958
Makati, Philippines
DiedApril 2, 2020(2020-04-02) (aged 62)
Beirut, Lebanon
EducationUniversity of the Philippines Los Baños
University of the Philippines Diliman
International Institute of Social Studies
OccupationCareer diplomat
Years active1993–2020

Early life and educationEdit

Catalla was born on February 18, 1958 in Makati, then a part of the Province of Rizal.[3] She graduated in 1979 from University of the Philippines Los Baños with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication arts.[4] From 1987 to 1993, she studied at the University of the Philippines Diliman for her master's degree in communication research and in 1991, she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in development studies from the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam.[5][6]


Ambassador Catalla presenting her credentials to President Michel Aoun of Lebanon on January 10, 2018

Catalla first entered the Philippine Foreign Service in 1993.[7] She was the principal assistant and then acting director of the ASEAN office from 1994 to 1995.[7][8]

From 1996 to 2001, she was assigned at the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as Vice Consul and then Consul.[1]

She was recalled back to the Home Office to become the Director of the Office of United Nations and International Organizations from 2001 to 2002 and Passport Director from 2002 to 2005.[9]

She was consul of the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta from 2005 to 2011 and Director of the Office of Asia & Pacific Affairs at the Home Office from 2011 to 2014.[10]

She was posted to the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong as Consul-General from 2014 to 2017.[10] During her stint in Hong Kong, she spearheaded the amendment of contracts of foreign domestic helpers to include a ban on dangerous window cleaning, which according to The Sun Hong Kong, was her biggest legacy to the Filipino community in the region.[11]

After that, she was promoted to the Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon as Ambassador from 2017 up to her death in 2020.[6] As Ambassador to Lebanon, she spearheaded the voluntary mass repatriation program of OFWs in the country.[9]


In April 2020, she died of COVID-19 in Beirut, Lebanon.[12][13][14][15][16]


  1. ^ a b Carvalho, Raquel (April 2, 2020). "Bernardita Catalla, the Philippines' former consul general to Hong Kong, dies of coronavirus in Beirut". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "Philippine ambassador to Lebanon dies of coronavirus". The April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Ulep, Bombo Jerald (April 2, 2020). "PH Ambassador to Lebanon Bernardita Catalla, pumanaw dahil sa COVID-19". Bombo Radyo Philippines (in Filipino). Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "Speakers: Bernardita Leonido Catalla". United States Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Amb. Bernardita Catalla Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Philippine Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Bernardita Leonido Catalla: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" (PDF). Department of Foreign Affairs Philippines. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  8. ^ Viray, Patricia Lourdes (April 2, 2020). "'Her smile, laughter will be a guiding light': Philippine envoy in Lebanon succumbs to COVID-19". PhilStar. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Statement: On the Demise of Honorable Bernardita L. Catalla, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon". Department of Foreign Affairs. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "The SUN Hong Kong". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  11. ^ "Ambassador and ex-HK Congen Bernie Catalla succumbs to COVID-19". The Sun Hong Kong. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  12. ^ Tomacruz, Sofia. "PH ambassador to Lebanon dies of coronavirus". Rappler. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  13. ^ "Philippine envoy to Lebanon dies of COVID-19 complications". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  14. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "PH envoy to Lebanon dies of COVID-19 complications". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  15. ^ Ramos, Christia Marie. "PH Ambassador to Lebanon succumbs to COVID-19". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Rocamora, Joyce Ann (April 2, 2020). "PH envoy to Lebanon dies of Covid-19: DFA". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved April 2, 2020.