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
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)
Amanpulo website: http://www.amanresorts.com/amanpulo/home.aspx
*Almost all photos are mine. Except for the four photos I nabbed from Imman. :)