Amanpulo: A Tropical Dreamscape in The Heart of The Philippines

Lounging by the beach at Aman, Amanpulo
Photo: Lucas Raven

Six years have passed since my last visit to my mother’s hometown in the Philippines.

Radiating an aura of utmost exclusiveness, the Amanpulo resort stands as a secluded oasis accessible only via private aircraft. Within its confines, the noise of the external world becomes powerless, ensuring an uninterrupted cocoon of tranquil solitude. The trip from Amanpulo’s private lounge and hangar in Manila to the island’s secluded airstrip unfolds over just over an hour. Upon arrival on the island’s shores, an extensive expanse of coral sand beaches stretching over five kilometres adorns the lush landscape, embraced by a jungle-filled heart.

Watersports like kitesurfing are available along the southern tip of Amanpulo
Watersports like kitesurfing are available along the southern tip. Photo: Lucas Raven

A rhythmic ebb and flow of seven kilometres of coral reef encircle the 85-hectare refuge, a serene sanctuary where a myriad of colourful fish and calm sea turtles harmonise with one’s leisurely aquatic dreams. Amanpulo’s casitas and villas, an architectural symphony envisioned by renowned Filipino architect Francisco Mañosa, either perch gracefully on the hillside or fully embrace the shoreline. Their design, an homage to the traditional homes of the Philippines, showcases vaulted wooden ceilings, elegant stone walls, accents crafted from coconut shells and expansive Cebu marble sanctuaries.

The entrance to the beach club of Aman at Amanpulo
The entrance to the beach club. Photo: Lucas Raven

For those whose appreciation of the world’s beauty can’t be satisfied by mere observation from the private al fresco terrace, a slew of water-front options await, such as the effervescent poolside clubhouse, the splendid Aman Spa, a maritime haven for the discerning diver and the relaxed sanctuary of the beach. Noteworthy are the fitness retreat, the allure of sailing on azure waters, engaging in the art of fishing and mastering the back-and-forth rhythm of the tennis court.

Direct access to the ocean from resort grounds at Aman at amanpulo
Fancy a dip in the ocean from the comfort of your own day bed? Photo: Lucas Raven

Glistening like an ethereal masterpiece, the resort evokes thoughts of a painting from a treasure trove labeled “Tropical Dreamscape”, unfolding as a fusion of cerulean oceans, powdery strands of shoreline and a rhythmic sway of palm fronds. The resort was meticulously crafted to showcase the island’s pristine wilderness, orchestrating a symphony of harmony where the sleek structures, polished and poised, seamlessly meld with their untamed backdrop. Scattered like stardust, these retreats are so artfully spaced that even when hosting a group of guests, the feeling of an island nestled in splendid isolation pervades the atmosphere.

An ingress of solitude along the beaches of Amanpulo
Peace and quiet. Photo: Lucas Raven

Pamalican, a small islet cradled within the folds of the Cuyo archipelago in the arms of the Sulu Sea, bears witness to the splendid paradise that is Amanpulo. Though it appears secluded from civilisation, a twice-daily connection between the resort’s private 15-seater aircraft and the bustling heart of Manila bridges them in just over an hour. From the moment one steps onto the resort’s private airstrip, a fragrant garland of blooms and a refreshing touch of linen offer a warm welcome, all provided by a personal assistant. This guardian of comfort takes on the role of a guiding hand, arranging activities, weaving the threads of dinner plans and attending to every other desire during the stay. As expected from an Aman retreat, the nearly 400-strong staff echo this commitment to service, often exuding a proactive ethos coupled with an uncanny familiarity with each guest’s name and preferences.

Cocktails and Canapes Cocktails and Canapes by the Floating Kawayan Bar at Aman at Amanpulo
Cocktails and Canapes by the Floating Kawayan Bar at sunset. Photo: Lucas Raven

An interlude within this haven unfolds as a tableau of options, each more enchanting than the last. Tennis courts beckon the sporty, diving expeditions await the adventurous and waterborne escapades provide a playground for aquatic enthusiasts. For those yearning for serenity, a hilltop sanctuary for yoga offering panoramic vistas extends an invitation. Alternatively, the spacious embrace of the Club House pool and the leisurely lounges within the Beach Club offer sanctuaries where time can drift away like a leisurely ballad.

Snorkelling in the waters of amanpulo
Snorkelling in the clearest waters of azure blue. Photo: Lucas Raven

Within the embrace of Pamalican, the unparalleled gem of the Philippines gleams in lavish splendour. Amanpulo, a revered jewel according to local Filipino tales, unveils nearly four miles of sand of powdered sugar-like softness, a pristine hue defying conventional description, and a crystalline lagoon mirroring the tranquil calmness of a serene pool for much of the year. Wrapped in an air of exclusive mystery, it has beckoned luminaries to bare their souls within its embrace, for it is here that the allure of seclusion finds its most exquisite form.

a turtle swimming in the waters of amanpulo
Thriving marine life in abundance. Photo: Lucas Raven

Time follows one’s preferences, a symphony of possibilities. Diving entices, sea turtles glide through the ballet of snorkeling, fishing expeditions encourage communion with the depths and sails unfurl to meet the horizon’s edge. Amidst these exhilarations, an adventure to a nearby village, a voyage via seaplane or a helicopter to a South Sea pearl haven awaits. Even in the pursuit of sustenance, guests can personally harvest ingredients from the organic garden, curating elements for a meal that reflects their inner essence.

Manamoc Island, Mount English.
Manamoc Island, Mount English. Photo: Lucas Raven

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