By the end of the 1990s, Helena owned and operated restaurants, a gourmet take-out business, and a catering company. Her first restaurant, Helena's in Sag Harbor, The Hamptons made it to the Top Ten New York Times list of Best Restaurants in 1997. At The Hamptons, Helena and Richard bought a house which she redesigned and he restored, it eventually became a new avenue of creative collaboration for the two. This venture into real estate was successful. "We bought properties in The Hamptons and around New York. I would design, Richard would build."
Always a keen business woman, Helena was also doing well in food. Her flair for drama again set her apart from her contemporaries. But after the tragic events of 9/11 that affected her business, Helena decided it was time to begin another chapter in her life.
In 2002 she sold her business and with the support and encouragement of her husband of 23 years, Helena embarked on another great adventure, perhaps the greatest one in her life. In 2004 she returned to the Philippines to visit her grandchild. Manila was glad to welcome Helena back. "I was surprised by the love I found here and had no idea how much impact my work in design had in this country. So much that twenty-five years on, people still remember me fondly. I am grateful for that love," she says. She and Richard were considering a move out of the United States, and the 2004 trip to the Philippines convinced her that it was the ideal place. In 2005, Helena and Richard found a small island in Northern Palawan called Mangenguey. Since 2006, Helena and Richard have been working tirelessly to see the dream come to fruition. As a true visionary enamored with the Idea of the Impossible, Helena Carratalà Mander's legacy is to establish a New Utopia. Read about Helena's thoughts and ideas on her blog.