Sunday, November 2, 2014

Paradise that is Amanpulo

It was a regular working day. A fax came in. It was handed to me and it says that our supplier is giving us two seats to AMANfreakingPULO. When I read the news, I couldn't believe my eyes. I was dumbfounded and, of course, was in seventh heaven, but I acted cool and nonchalant. ;p

I heard about Amanpulo a number of times already. In most stories that I heard, this luxury resort has captivated big Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, and the list goes on. They say that it is the ultimate paradise in the Philippines that the rich, the famous, and dollar-earning foreigners (LOL) visit. The price tag attached to Amanpulo stories? Whooping half a million. #circa2008 Myth or not, exaggerated or not, all I know is that Amanpulo is super-exclusive and quite expensive of an island to stay on. It never crossed my mind that I will ever go to Amanpulo, NOT EVEN IN MY DREAMS.

The best part, whenever I get overwhelming perks like this, is always the part where I get a word from God. It is sheer joy to see a verse come to life − to savor it and bask on it for the rest of your life. When I went to Amanpulo, it was Ephesians 3:20 at work. Amanpulo and our whole experience in this paradise was DIVINE!! It was over the top! I coincidentally even spent my 24th birthday in this paradise.♥ ♥  Just reminiscing about it gives me shivers and I thank God with tears in my heart every single time I am reminded of this (even now as I write this post, huhu). God is always extra good and extra, extra generous. :') *smitten to the hilt*

Amanpulo is absolutely picturesque. It felt as though we had the whole island to ourselves that we were able to take postcard perfect photos sans annoying passers-by. Let me first share our Amanpulo photos and tell stories about them at the end of this post 'coz photo sharing need not be interrupted. ;'p
Amanpulo has its own airport lounge. We were served refreshments and snacks while waiting. We flew from Manila to Amanpulo Pamalican Island (approximately an hour) via chartered plane −a 19-seater Dornier plane. *insert my nagmamaganda, nagmamayaman face here, lols* 

I knew my brother and I will be having one ~spoiled vacation~ when I saw golf carts and waving (yes, waving) chauffeurs lined up −waiting for our arrival− as we land. We walked down the red carpet and they gave each of us a garland. Our guest assistant, who surprisingly knew our names already, gave us a tour around the island and handed to us our keys.
We stayed in a charming and generously spaced treetop casita. A personal letter, welcome drinks, and fruits awaited us. The room had an iPod dock, espresso coffee machine with various coffee shots, TV, DVD player, a mini ref, an outdoor deck, and wi-fi connection *hihi*. The bathroom was huge. There was a bathtub, shower room, and toilet room. My brother and I had separate cabinets, drawers, toiletries, and even had our separate washbasins. They clean our room 2-3x a day. It's totally insane that we always go back to a squeaky-clean room!
We drove our own buggy (golf cart) to get around the big island. We were astounded to find new mineral water bottles and fresh towels every time we go back to our buggy. How do they manage to sneak those in?!! They would even reverse our carts when we parked facing a wall or bush. #NinjaMoves
We went to the gym everyday where the glass windows are floor-to-ceiling high, so you can just imagine how serene our view was while we worked out. (naks, work out! lol)
We also availed our complimentary steam bath daily.
The steam room was amazing!!! It was so big that there was a cold pool in the room and had an outdoor deck. Best part? We had it to ourselves to enjoy.
We went inside Aman Spa to check the price list. *haha* A regular manicure costs 2,200 pesos. A regular pedicure costs 4,000 pesos. A 60-minute signature massage costs 5,500 pesos. A 60-minute facial? 6,500 pesos. A 60-minute hair spa? 3,000 pesos. #kthanksbye
The service and all the amenities were impeccable. There's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to complain about. You get what you pay for. I'm just not sure if I'll still say this if we paid for everything! ;'p
Some of the activities that we tried were stargazing, snorkeling and fish-feeding, and pawikan chasing. The boat has a top deck and has an amazing view of the island.
There are other complimentary activities which we haven't tried such as stretch and relax class, pilates, tennis, and marine sport activities such as windsurfing, sailing, and kayaking. We also were not able to request for bikes. :( Biking around would have been a good exercise.
They also have this Filipino merienda set up at the Club House during afternoons, but we always miss it since it just goes for an hour or less.
After every adventure-filled day, they would surprise us with jar of munchies such as pastillas de leche, fruits, nuts, and other Filipino delicacies placed on our beds. Ben would devour them quickly. *haha* There are other more sweet surprises during our entire stay. Everything was too detailed and personalized. We had complimentary straw hats and a native bayong bag which I used in the island.
The in-flight guide had Philippine and Manila history. The casitas are actually modelled after the Philippine bahay kubo dwellings. Everything about the island is very Filipino which is awesome knowing that many foreigners go to this island.
Amanpulo presented our history and culture with head held high. #ProudFilipino
If there's anything they must improve on, it's their food. There was nothing to go gaga for. A tapa meal costs 600-800 pesos, but I've tasted better tapas. I enjoyed our first dinner and our last lunch. Generally though, I think the food was average, far from excellent.
Now to the beach... the beach was HEAVENLY!!! It was a looooong stretch of white sand beach and has turquoise aquamarine calm waters. It was breathlessly beautiful.♥ ♥ 
I would admit, though, that I find Coron's marine life more beautiful, diverse, and you wouldn't even have to spend 5% or even less of what you will in Amanpulo. Even other dealers that have gone to to El Nido (I haven't yet!! boo!), said that the food and the diversity it offers make it better.
But I guess Amanpulo is more than just going to the best beach. It's about the peace, privacy, and luxurious amenities and service. After all, it's not everyday (or not even once a decade!) that you get to experience and enjoy such luxury. As well, not everyone, not even 95% of the Philippine population is given the chance and the luxury to grace this nagmamagandang island in the Philippines. haha!
These are the things that I remember and will forever treasure in my heart. Amanpulo sure do stands to its name. Aman in Sanskrit means peace and pulo in Tagalog means island. It was definitely a peaceful island. :)

WHEN: April 27-29, 2013
WHERE: Amanpulo Pamalican Island (an island in Palawan, Philippines)
*Almost all photos are mine. Except for the four photos I nabbed from Imman. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall -Taipei, Taiwan

As with every trip we go to, we always make it a point to go to landmark (historical) places or watch a play to learn about the country's history and culture. To enumerate a few, we went to temples, visited Jim Thompson's house, and we also watched the A.MA.ZING Siam Niramit when we were in Bangkok, Thailand which is worth every penny. We also saw the highly-acclaimed Water Puppet Show when we were in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In Singapore, we saw Songs of the Sea. Having a penchant for such, I actually felt bad when Nanta Show was removed from my itinerary when I was in Seoul, South Korea. Oh well. #unnecessaryremarks #needtoletthatoutthough #goodvibesonly ;'p 

In Taiwan, aside from Taipei 101, we also went to a famous landmark and monument which is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This was built 5 years after the death of (the controversial leader) Chiang Kai-shek who ruled the Republic of China for 47 long years (1928-1975). A rule which involved martial law. Hence, he has both admirers and detractors.  

The 250,000 square meter "Liberty Square" where the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is also houses the National Theater and the National Concert Hall which are an identical performing arts venue.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall's huge gate behind us.
The National Concert Hall... or is this The National Theater. I am not sure, hrhr.
89 steps that lead to the main entrance. 89 represents Chiang Kai-shek's age at the time of his death. 
The obligatory family photo
Chiang Kai-shek
Ceiling above the statue
I felt like an Emperor standing here. No wonder emperors and leaders that I see in Asian dramas, lol, choose to stand at higher posts. It's like the world is yours. Everything and everyone below looks so tiny. It was as if no one can stop you.
As you can see, that's the massive gate to Liberty Square in front and the identical building on its left and right the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.
Is Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall a must see when in Taipei, Taiwan, you ask? I'd say... DEFINITELY YES! :-) Aside from being a historical landmark, it's super beautiful, picturesque, and relaxing here.
We rode the MRT again after our Chiang Kai-chek Memorial Hall visit.
Had a quick grub at this pizzeria we passed by while walking. i Pizza Wood Fired Pizza is the best!! We also had gelato. Haay, love going to places... to eat. :-p
i Pizza / iPizza Wood Fired Pizza is located at Shilin District, Chungshan N. Rd. Section 5, Lane 505.

LocationJust off MRT Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station
Operating HoursOpen Daily. Admission is free.
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Related Posts:
- about Ximending, Ximending Night Market, Beauty Hotels Taipei's Hotel B6, Red House Theater, Mala Yuanyang Hotpot, pineapple cake for pasalubong, Shinjuku Plaza, and Taipei 101.
✿ Fun Taiwan: IKEA 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...