Aman­pulo

Tak­ing its name from the San­skrit word for peace, Aman, and Pulo, which is Ta­ga­log for is­land, Aman­pulo in the Philip­innes re­mains one of the world’s great­est is­land es­capes.

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Though the jour­ney there re­quires a night in Manila and then a flight on a tur­bo­prop, the lat­ter is much nicer than the Twin Ot­ter you must take in the Mal­dives. Plus you land on Aman­pulo’s pri­vate run­way and not the sea. Fur­nished with wicker seats, co­conut-shell ta­bles, peb­ble-washed walls and beds with rat­tan head­boards, the ca­sitas are mod­elled af­ter indige­nous ba­hay kubo dwellings and they’re un­pre­ten­tiously de­light­ful. There are only 42 ca­sitas (vil­las) here, which helps cre­ate the sen­sa­tion the is­land’s ex­clu­sively your own. And what a place it is. With the whitest, soft­est sand you’ll ever see, and roughly 360 staff for just 80 guests. The ho­tel of­fers two com­pli­men­tary boat trips a day for snor­kel­ing, and you can take out any of the non-mo­tor­ized wa­ter­sports equip­ment at will, so make the most of the kata­ma­rans, wind­surfs, pad­dle­boards and kayaks. Aman­pulo is lo­cated in the Palawan ar­chi­pel­ago, which is widely re­garded as one of the most beau­ti­ful places on Earth. It’s also home to two Unesco World Her­itage Sites, in­clud­ing a must-see 8km un­der­ground river. Ev­ery­thing is lo­cal from the seafood to the staff (who come from the neigh­bour­ing is­land of Manamoc) to the herbs, vegetables and fruit (grown in the is­land’s or­ganic gar­den). Even the spa uses lo­cally-har­vested co­conut oil.

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