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Architect's Travel Bucket List Series: Philippines (Amanpulo, Palawan)

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

Travel introduces us to new cultures and ancient traditions, and it is through these genuine encounters that we learn to appreciate and celebrate our similarities and differences. Travel teaches us about humanity and instills appreciation, understanding, and respect for different points of view and ways of life.


Of course, traveling comes with a bucket list, and the best place to start is within the Philippines. Here are travel destinations to consider adding to your bucket list:


Amanpulo, Palawan

If you're looking for a luxurious vacation within the Philippines, whether for a romantic or family getaway, this should be at the top of your list. This paradise will captivate you, and you will never be able to get enough of it.


Amanpulo is a luxury resort in Pamalican Island, Cuyo, Palawan, Philippines. It is wonderfully remote. It is famous for its pristine coral reefs that cover an area of more than 7,000 square kilometers, sparkling crystal-clear waters, swaying palm trees, turquoise oceans, and clean white sand beaches. For those who value privacy, comfort, and luxury in particular, this picture-perfect paradise offers a spectacular return to nature experience. Outstanding service and amazing facilities can be anticipated above everything else.


For seven years in a row, APIDA has recognized the Amanpulo Resort as "The Best Beach Resort in the World."



ARCHITECTURE

Before we begin our island adventure, here is some information about the island's architecture:

Francisco "Bobby" Manosa, a well-known Filipino architect designed and constructed the world-renown Amanpulo Resort. He has received three significant international awards as a result of it: the 1994 Asia-Pacific Interior Design Award for Hotel/Resort Category and the 1994 and 1995 Gallivante's Award for "Best Beach Resort Worldwide."

Its casitas pay homage to the ‘bahay kubo’, a traditional Filipino home, and are built from natural materials like wood, marble, and stones. The bedroom and bathroom are separated into two 35 square meter sections in each casita. To guarantee that guests would be met by the ocean in the morning, all casitas are placed either on a hillside with a view of the Sulu Sea or near the shoreline.


The Amanpulo Resort's main clubhouse was designed to provide added convenience to resort guests during their stay. The library, dining facilities, music rooms, and pool bathhouses are all part of the clubhouse amenities. The architecture was inspired by the collective forms of a native village, where the roofline creates a continuous undulating pattern that is a combination of both the beach and the mountains beyond the beach. The pool is lined with dark tiles that serve as both a visual pond and a functional pool. Amanpulo's peaceful setting is created by all elements, from the architecture to the landscape.


In addition, Arch. Manosa considered renewable energy in the design, which included passive cooling, indigenous flora and fauna, natural light, the use of indigenous materials, low VOC paints, projections for a 20-year flood plain, water recycling, efficient lighting, garbage composting, and a high-performance STP system.



ACTIVITIES

After several visits to this paradise, here are some activities I recommend doing to make your vacation even more memorable:


1. Enjoy the best beach in the world

The soft white sand on your feet will lead you to the crystal-clear water and make you forget about the rest of the world. Not only is the water refreshing, but it is also not overly salty! Enjoy the beach outside your casita or in front of the lagoon club while sipping on the best mango shake ever!


2. Have a romantic sunset dinner

If you're with a loved one, don't pass up this opportunity to strengthen your bond. Prepare to dine in luxury and style while watching the sun set. While you sip your wine in front of the fire, your personal chef will prepare and serve the barbecue dinner! Be more in love while being serenaded under the stars.


3. Go fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving

The best time to go fishing is between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning, or between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the evening. Don't worry about being hungry because breakfast/snacks will be served on the boat. The boat captain and his crew will drive you around the island to fishing spots where you can only use a hand line or small rods. This is due to the fact that it is a marine protected area. Snorkeling and scuba diving excursions are also available in areas where you can appreciate the beauty of the sea. Prepare to be amazed by the vibrant coral reef, turtles, sharks, and rays.


4. Relax in the Aman Spa

The Spa is located on the island's highest point. A wellness and fitness specialist will greet you with a drink and a friendly smile. Enjoy the aroma of essential oils while relaxing your mind and body with a massage from a skilled therapist. You will feel rejuvenated.


Other activities available include kayaking, kite surfing, and cruises.

Amanpulo has its own PADI Dive Center. They also have a gym, tennis court, and pools.



ACCOMODATION

The resort has 42 casitas divided into beachside casitas, tree top casitas, and hillside casitas. There are 16 private villas, including four-bedroom Lagoon villas and four-bedroom Palawan villas.


Villas (1-4 bedrooms):


Casitas (beach side, treetop & hillside):



TRANSPORTATION

The island is over 360 kilometers south of Manila and is only accessible by flights landing on its own airstrip.


When you arrive in Manila, you will be escorted to the Amanpulo lounge, where you will be served snacks and refreshments while you wait for your flight to the resort. It's a 70-minute flight with 15 passengers that takes off from Manila International Airport's Amanpulo Lounge hangar.

Flight Schedules from Manila to Pamalican: ETD 13:00h / ETA 14:10h ETD 16:00h / ETA 17:10h Flight Schedules from Pamalican to Manila: ETD 9:30h / ETA 10:40h ETD 14:30h / ETA 15:40h.


When you arrive at Amanpulo, you will be greeted by the staff and given a golf car to use while on the island.



FOOD

Amanpulo's breathtaking dining venues feature menus that range from Filipino to Mediterranean to Japanese and feature locally-caught seafood and island-grown organic vegetables and herbs.

There are four restaurants waiting to serve you:

  1. The Beachclub (Mediterranean) located on the western side of Pamalican island directly on the sand, is ideal for sunset cocktails and specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and seafood. The Beachclub is only open during the summer.

  2. The Picnic Grove (Italian) is a casual, open-air lunch spot just metres from the beach, hidden beneath a canopy of trees. The Picnic Grove is only open during the summer.The Club House Restaurant

  3. The Clubhouse Restaurant (international / Filipino) The elegant Clubhouse Restaurant serves Filipino and Southeast Asian cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has indoor and outdoor seating with views of Manamoc Island and the sea.

  4. The Lagoon Club (Japanese) The island's secluded east coast is ringed by a seemingly endless white-sand beach, which is home to the Lagoon Club and its gracious pavilion. The Lagoon Club is only open during the summer.



SOUVENIR

The native bags, hats and slippers in your casita / villa are for use at the resort and to take home. They are of high quality; don't forget to take one home.


Aman Resorts are also known for providing goodnight gifts. Every night, a small gift, either a sweet or a native product, awaits you!



AUTHOR'S TIP

If you want to get some exercise, go for a walk around the island and stop at the beach near the air strip, where you can take a cool photo with the plane above you as it prepares to land / take off. Just remember to stay on the beach and away from the airstrip.


USEFUL LINKS & REFERENCES:



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