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Based on Pamalican, a tiny island an hour’s flight from Manila, the Amanpulo resort is another excellent property from the Aman group.
The forty secluded 'casitas' that make up the accommodation are built to Philippine design, and have all the comfort and space that you would attribute to an Aman property - huge beds, outdoor divans, luxurious bathrooms, and each with its own private sandy track leading to what must be one of the planet's greatest beaches; even by Aman standards this is an amazing place to stay.
Amanpulo offers the ultimate beach holiday, and the temptation to do nothing is strong, but of course there are plenty of activities on offer. Fringed by a seven-mile reef, there are abundant snorkelling and diving opportunities, all the watersports you would expect, boat trips to neighbouring islands, as well as tennis courts, an enormous swimming pool and an immaculate spa. The restaurant serves Asian and European cuisine from a large terrace with views to Manamoc Island across the channel, and there is a wonderfully casual beach bar.
The dive centre is located at the end of the main beach, a five-minute buggy ride from any of the casitas, and has a good selection of equipment. Groups are restricted to no more than four, so your diving experience will be extremely private. The service is flawless, and this is a great place to learn to dive. The dive boats provide shade, and the dive sites are reached within fifteen minutes.
Pamalican is a self-declared marine park, a rarity in a country notorious for using dynamite and cyanide to catch fish on its reefs. There are two coasts to dive - the more sheltered western shore, where Amanpulo is situated, and the more open eastern one. Turtles nest on Pamalican and you are virtually guaranteed to see them whenever you dive these waters. Even the house reef, an easy dive just off the main beach, boasts a number of giant green and hawksbill turtles - some as big as 6ft from tip to toe - a beautiful sight as they glide effortlessly by.
One of the most appealing dives is Fan Coral - its immaculate reefs are in a different league and shelter an abundance of marine life: lobster, clownfish, emperor fish, Moorish idol, Napoleon wrasse, endless blue-spotted rays and even the odd giant stingray. Another site, known as Casita 40, offers a drop-off from 30ft down to 130ft, where you will see enormous inquisitive cuttlefish, turtles and shovelnose rays. Soft corals, massive sea-fans and table corals also thrive here. Further sites offer manta and eagle rays, white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, clams and much more. Altogether, Amanpulo combines an immaculate resort with some of the best diving in the Philippines.
Why we love it
This may be diving heaven, but snorkellers are also well catered for, with regular trips out to the reefs. The more adventurous can make their own way out by kayak and tie up to one of the designated buoys.