At Home in PARADISE
BUSINESSWOMAN AND MOM MYLENE CO SHARES THE JOYS OF FAMILY LIFE AND EXPERIENCING NATURE’S WONDERS.
in the municipality of Bacacay, Albay Province is Misibis Bay, a lush and ultra-luxurious island playground famous for being the favorite hideaway of Hollywood celebrities, as well as some of the country’s most affluent personalities. One could only imagine and hope to see such enthralling views similar to the famed Maldives and the Caribbean; but Mylene R. Co, who is at the forefront of the resort’s development, has added her own personal touch. More than being one of the key persons who oversaw the resort’s beginnings— from virgin island to internationally renowned paradise— Mylene now sits on the executive board of the Misibis Coastal Care Foundation ( MCCF). It is an effort to uplift the surrounding communities of Misibis Bay through scholarships, and to preserve the region’s environment through eco-friendly measures. Mylene tells Southern Living how she manages to balance it all: being a working mom, a charitable woman, and why, after having traveled a lot, she still considers both Misibis Bay and Legazpi City as her home.
TUCKED AWAY IN A PRISTINE BEACH OFF CAGRARAY ISLAND, How would you describe your lifestyle in terms of going back and forth to Manila-Legazpi City and Misibis Bay?
Pretty laid-back, we go there to check how the businesses are doing. We travel back and forth because aside from our businesses, my husband, being a very generous man and entrepreneur, makes sure all our scholars are being monitored in terms of making them qualify to be sent abroad for better jobs. He wants to give back to the Bicolanos by giving them the chance to uplift their lives, and in turn help their families left in Bicol.
What’s your role in Misibis Bay resort?
In some ways, I’m in charge of the quality of service that is expected of us being a member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.” And in some ways I make sure that the whole look of Misibis is maintained. The resort is like my house so I want everything clean and organized. I’m very hands-on. I take care of everything from the dust on the tables, finger marks on the switches, to the smell of linen towels— the way I'd clean my house. I’m that meticulous when it comes to housekeeping matters. My children require a clean environment, and I want the same for each and every one of our guests.
What was it about Misibis Bay that made you want to develop it?
My husband loves nature. That’s basically how we started. And it is a really beautiful island. In all my travels, I still keep coming back to Misibis because nothing really compares to it.
What is the Misibis Coastal Care Foundation ( MCCF) and how are you involved in it?
It’s a non-profit foundation that my husband founded, and I’m supporting him especially with the needs of the children. It is dedicated to preserving the environment and improving the livelihood of the local community, to promote sustainable development. We devised several ways to make Misibis Bay environmentally friendly such as regular coastal clean-ups, giant clam planting to promote coral reef growth, use of solar-powered street lights, solid waste management, and prevention of illegal fishing. These efforts are not only found outside the resort, but also within its rooms as well. We installed energy-efficient lights, low flow showerheads, and a key card system, which automatically shuts off the room’s electricity as soon as the guests come out of the room. But I think one of the most exciting and fulfilling aspects of this foundation is that it provides scholarships to the children and technical trainings to the adults in the community to help boost up their way of living.
How do you manage your time between work and family?
My kids are my top priority, even if I need to cancel meetings, I will do it to fetch them from school and if they feel I need to be home. I have this special bond with them that I share with my husband. My husband is even patient playing with them and taking them to places they love. My son Michael is 10 years old and is very athletic, while Ella, who’s 5, is very creative, and there’s Zoe, who’s only one and a half and knows how to play with an iPad! I even tutor my kids, help them do their homework, and take them to school. You just have to manage your time and keep your priorities.
What do you love most about motherhood?
Having children is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Every mom has her own ways of raising their children, and for me, I have this special, unexplainable love for my children that