How the Top CEOs in the Philippines Achieve Work-Life Balance
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How the Top CEOs in the Philippines Achieve Work-Life Balance

How the Top CEOs in the Philippines Achieve Work-Life Balance

Business & Career | August 6, 2021
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Amid the ongoing pandemic, these influential business icons share how they’ve achieved the much-coveted work-life balance.

The Harvard Business School Owner President Management Program—or Harvard OPM, for short—is one of the best 3-year programs that the school offers for presidents and CEOs all over the world. As the current Chairman and founder of Harvard OPM Philippines, I’m proudly sharing with you the insights of my fellow Harvard OPM members—the country’s top leaders whom I’ve had the privilege of being with in this program.

JOSE MAGSAYSAY JR: CEO of the Potato Corner Group

Amid the ongoing pandemic, these influential business icons share how they've achieved the much-coveted work-life balance.

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

I work at home and stay [at] home almost always if I am not doing one of my hobbies. This way, I am able to spend time with my wife. In the house, she is my executive assistant.

What are your hobbies?

Archery, trail riding with my motorcycle, sailing, and playing with our dogs.

What is a motto you live by?

“Live life like it is your last day on earth.”

ROLANDO BONIFACIO HORTALEZA: Chairman and CEO of the Hortaleza Group of Companies

(Hortaleza Corporation, Prime Global Corporation, Prime Global Finance Corporation, Barrio Fiesta manufacturing Corporation, Prime Global Food Express, HBC Inc.)

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

I consider myself semi-retired. [In fact], I am deliberately transitioning the reigns of our family corporations to my sons while being supported by professional managers. [Thus], I now have more time for personal pursuits and hobbies, which probably would equate to what others would call a work-life balance.

But in this day and age of connections and the digitalization of our lives—accelerated by the pandemic—what is more important is work-life integration. I am a believer in creating synergies and dimensions between all areas that define life—work, home/family, community, personal well-being, and health.

The ability to shape one’s workday in a work-life integration scheme is ideal for me, as it allows me to do gentle pivots rather than place hard boundaries between different areas of my life.

What are your hobbies?

Aside from my regular workouts, I have been doing a lot of trekking and boating lately. I [also] love the thrill of discovery—of both explored and unexplored coves and areas in the Philippines, [as well as in] other countries.

What is a motto you live by?

“Life is all about opportunities.”

I see opportunity in every aspect of life. Challenges for me are simply the Cs of life—waiting to become full circles and to be transformed into the Os of opportunities. Those who achieve success are those who are always battle-ready for all kinds of challenges.

[Plus], I believe that life in fact is the greatest opportunity that we have been given.

CRIS ALBERT: CEO and Owner of Isportlife Fila

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

We spend a lot of time jointly at home, the beach, and [during] work. Funny that we are all compatible: the kids appreciate discussing and calculating the possibilities of our future [with us].

Sundays are my most intimate bonding moments with God and family. I am [also] focusing on [my] mental health explicitly, [and] loving myself more. It’s an arduous voyage to take, but [the] internal healing is what makes us beautiful. 

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are always connected to my future intentions. I am enthusiastic about digital marketing [which will help] scale our business, and so, reading became a hobby [of mine].

I like interiors, [plus] travel arranging, and planning for the future keeps me sane. Feeling beautiful inside and out is [also] a priority to me—from daily wellness routines to compiling my wardrobe… [it’s] pure joy!

What is a motto you live by?

“We reap what we sow.”

“Accept aspects of our being that we can’t change and live with those realities sensibly.”

“Don’t look back; there are enough opportunities today.”

ROBB DELGADO: Founder and Group Chairman of the Transnational Diversified Group

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

My mindset is to think about “harmony,” as life is complex with [its] many variables. My family and company try to adhere to the Four A’s: 

  • Anticipate: to be pro-active
  • Adapt: resilience
  • Agility: quick
  • Align: shared values with family and community

What are your hobbies?

Strive to be healthy—exercise, [and] eat and drink only what is good for the body. No sweets, no soft drinks, no sugar, no dairy, very little meat, [and consume] only organic and non-GMO fruits and veggies. Promote ESG [Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance], health, and wellness.

What is a motto you live by?

“Do good things today to merit a better day tomorrow”

RHIZA PASCUA: CEO of Music Management International Live

(The Philippines’ premier talent provider and concert promoter)

Harvard Business School, Master of Business Administration 2008 and Owner President Management 2018

Law School, Class of 2024

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

Law school has taken much of my time—for about a year now—but doing online classes and working from home still allows me to spend time with family.

In a way, the pandemic has made life easier. I don’t need to travel for work, so I’m at home. My family is my life, so being at home with them has brought a good [work-life] balance.

What are your hobbies?

I love to read. My “me time” is spent reading. I probably read more than 300 pages a day. I’m also a speed reader. If I’m not reading law books, I read self-help books.

(On a special note, Rhiza is the biggest Concert Producer in the Philippines. She brought in  Madonna, U2, Bruno Mars, Backstreet Boys, and Guns ‘n Roses, to name a few.)

What is a motto you live by?

I have a few. [One of them is], “I know what I am. I know what I want.” These are the two things I [always] remind myself—my worth and my intentions for each day.

[Others include], “That which is hateful to you, do not do to others,” and “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

MELISSA YEUNG YAP: CEO of Greenstone Pharmaceutical

(Makers of Katinko products)

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

We moved to a farm, where my family can be closer to nature and enjoy a bigger space to play and work.

What are your hobbies?

Creating art [through] painting and pottery, and baking.

What is a motto you live by?

To live a life of thanksgiving. For me, it means being grateful by creating social enterprises and opportunities where others [can] lead sustainable, holistic, independent, and dignified lives.

KEN JESWANI: CEO of Scent and Beaute Inc.

(Jeswani is the biggest importer of the top brands of perfume in the country, which is sold in leading department stores.)

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

Working from home means [that] I’m working all day! However, I do make it a priority to spend time with my family, especially my daughter. The pandemic has actually allowed me to reassess my priorities. My family is of utmost importance, and I’m always trying to find creative ways to spend time in spite of being in lockdown.

To keep my sanity during the pandemic, I’ve found a new love for outdoor biking, which is part of my self-care routine.

What are your hobbies?

I am huge sneakerhead. I love collecting shoes that are unique and rare. It’s been a hobby since I was a child.

What is a motto you live by?

“Do not go where the path may lead, go where there is no path and leave a trail blazing!“

ANNA LIZA “ZSA” ESPINOSA FAMINIALAGAO: President of Tramper Retailers Inc. (BaseKamp & Camp Sandugo), Kopi Kamp Glamping Services, and Sandugo 

Harvard Business School, Owner President Management Batch 46

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

My business is into outdoor products and services, so I still continue to do outdoor activities like mountain biking, camping, hiking, trekking, dirt biking, 4×4 driving, snorkeling, and scuba diving. In this time of the pandemic, we need to commune with nature. There is fresh air [and] wide space for social distancing.

What are your hobbies?

I love traveling. At the same time, [I mix] doing my business [with] leisure and pleasure. [This includes] traveling by land, air, and sea to visit our BaseKamp stores, Camp Sandugo, farm, [and] new venture business, which is glamping and restobar.

[I also] travel to buy kitchen stuff, shop, do other errands, [and] deliver to our camping area. Visiting other resorts to see their concept and exploring new places. Going on road trips, cuisines, travel bubble, learning the culture and seeks adventure… [I enjoy all this!]

What is a motto you live by?

Be yourself, enjoy life to the fullest, make fond memories, and embrace adventures.

I started my business in 1996 to be the number one outdoor company in the Philippines. As the president, I am hands-on [in] handling people [and training them] to become [like] me.

CAROL DOMINGUEZ: President and CEO of John Clements Consultants, Inc.

How do you manage a work-life balance in this pandemic?

I did not go to our offices for 67 weeks, or roughly 15 months, and [I] was working from home… During this period, it was challenging to find some semblance of work-life balance because home became work as well, and vice versa.

I think it was very important to have a schedule and make sure you had time for work, extra-curricular activities, friends, and family. [In fact], I led an Iyengar yoga class from Mondays to Fridays—virtually from 7 to 8 AM.  From 8 AM to 6 PM, I usually worked, [then] have dinner and watch Netflix with my mother from 6 to 8 PM. [After], I\d join our company rosary and/or meditate at 8:30 to 9 PM.

I [even] managed to play some golf a couple of days during the weekday—[usually on] early morning or late afternoon on Wednesday to Friday, and meet up some friends for an early dinner towards the end of the week.

On Saturdays and Sundays, I try to join an Iyengar yoga class in NY virtually. I also go to Tagaytay Highlands early morning on Saturdays to play golf with clients and or colleagues. On Sundays, I have a golf lesson early in the morning followed by a golf game with friends. Our family has Sunday lunch [after], and I spend time hanging out with my sister, cousin, and mother for the rest of the day.

What are your hobbies?

Golf, yoga, Netflix, prayer, and meditation.

What is a motto you live by?

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw

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Pinky is the President and CEO of Progressive Laboratories, Qualibet Testing Services Corp. and KPP Powers Commodities. A chemist by profession, she is also the President of the Association of the Bureau of Animal Industry Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories (ABAIL). A humanitarian at heart, Pinky hosts a weekly online show called Grateful Tuesdays. On top of all this, she is also a wife and a mother of two.
More from Pinky Tobiano

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