When I was young, I wasn’t completely convinced that the Philippines had the best beaches.
I thought you could find clear blue waters all around the world, and that ours was just one of many. As I started to travel abroad more often, visiting the sea whenever I could and hoping I would finally find the one beach that could prove me right, I started to feel a sense of longing for the islands back home. It’s true that you can find crystal clear, glistening waters and lush seaside forests elsewhere. That’s why people go to the Maldives for a vacation, or share a life-changing trip from the Caribbean. But there is a certain kind of peace, tranquility, and even mystery found only in our shores.
And it truly cannot get any more peaceful than having an island all to yourself. Off the coast of Palawan is an island you can reach only by private jet. Beyoncé’s been here; Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been here. There was a time almost every local celebrity, including Bela Padilla, Maja Salvador, and Judy Ann Santos to name a few, had an Instagram photo or two of this hidden paradise. Even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were rumored to have spent their honeymoon here, though with the cloak of privacy surrounding the royal couple, nobody knows for sure.
So Where is This Place?
Pamalican lies between Palawan and Panay, surrounded by the Sulu Sea. This island is home to one of luxury chain Aman’s most sought-after destinations, the Amanpulo Luxury Hotel and Resort. All of Aman’s resorts, 21 across countries in Asia, 6 in Europe and Africa, and 4 in the Americas and the Caribbean, are known for their solitude and opulence. This follows Aman’s philosophy of giving their guests a place of peace and belonging, of tranquility and security.
But before you pack your bags, a caveat: With so much to do and discover, once you step on the sands of Amanpulo, you won’t be compelled to just sit back and relax.
How Do I Get There?
There’s no other way to travel to Amanpulo but through exclusive flights that land on Pamalican’s very own airstrip. Two trips are made daily from a private hangar at the Manila airport, accommodating only 15 guests at a time. Don’t worry, you get to stay at the luxurious Amanpulo Lounge as you wait. If you must travel from another airport, arrangements for private charters can be made.
How Do Guests Get Around?
The island is a little over five kilometers of white sand, and since Amanpulo is the sole resident of Pamalican, you are encouraged to use their complimentary bicycles and golf carts to discover every part of this paradise. Walking works, too—if you choose to explore on foot, you’ll find that every step is a unique journey. One moment you’ll spot a small fruit bat, then a few steps later maybe a colorful local species of bird. Wildlife is one of the defining features of this small island.
What’s There to Do?
Gentle breezes make almost every single day perfect for windsurfing and all other watercraft activities. Around Pamalican is a seven square kilometer area of coral reef you can scuba dive in, and even complete beginners are encouraged to snorkel or dive here, taking advantage of the island’s incredibly clear waters. It’s not every day you get to swim with hawksbill sea turtles among nature’s vast coral castles.
If you’ve spent so much time on land and sea already, then maybe it’s time to learn how to fly: windsurfing and kite sailing excursions are popular activities in Amanpulo, with watersports gear available for guests. At night, take a peek into an astronomical refracting telescope to see the stars that have been watching over the island all these years.
Is There WiFi?
Amanpulo, no matter how much the guest manager carefully curates your trip even before you leave home, is an island driven by one’s choices. You can walk on the sands all day, or swim with green sea turtles as the skies turn from a milky blue to several shades of purple, orange, and pink. You can take a speedboat to visit neighboring islands, hang out at a floating bar in the middle of the ocean, and take cruises in the moonlight.
Alternatively, you can stop for a while and rest in an Amanpulo villa complete with a club car, a private chef, and a butler. You also get a personal bar, a bathroom adorned with Cebu marble accents, and a poolside sala. And sure, there’s WiFi.
What are the Rooms Like?
Choose to stay just a few steps away from the beach or amongst the island’s rich wildlife. Their Beach Casita is set among the island’s white sands, with a foot path that leads from your place straight to the shoreline. On the other hand, the private pool of the Treetop Pool Casita offers views of the lush forests and the botanical life that thrives on Pamalican.
What’s the Food Situation?
For dining, Amanpulo features two culinary concepts: Arva, building from Italy’s cucina semplice culinary tradition while paying tribute to traditional Italian family dining; and Nama, a menu crafted around Washoku, the UNESCO-celebrated “food of Japan.”
Every day, a new Filipino snack is left on top of your meticulously made bed, awaiting your return. Sometimes it’s fresh fruit, sometimes it’s polvoron, but it’s a surprise every time you come back to your room.
Should I Wear Shoes?
Pamalican’s sands are powdery soft. No rubble, no sharpness, not a hint of coarseness. From above, it looks like silk laid across glistening blue and green crystals. Here, even as the temperature gets a little warmer during the day (we are, after all, in a country where summer seemingly never ends), the fine white sands stay soft and cool to the touch. On the beach, footwear is optional.
Is It Worth the Splurge?
As you may already know, a stay here isn’t exactly affordable. But “there is no request too big or too small,” Amanpulo insists, their service nothing short of spectacular. Spoiler alert, but once you step off the plane, there’s literally a red carpet waiting for you.
Still, beyond the extravagance and the grand gestures this resort has to offer, what remains impressive is the island’s natural grandeur. Stunning wildlife remains raw and respected, and coexists harmoniously with the hotel’s operations, making it possible for a resort to house hectares of trees and families of sea turtles. And when you put it all together, even with the steep price tag, who’s to say you don’t deserve it?
Amanpulo Luxury Resort is located at Pamalican Island, Philippines. For reservations, you may call their reservation team at +632 976 5222, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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