19 Aug2010


It might seem as improbable as lightning striking the same family twice, but we find ourselves at a second Amanresort in less than three months. We are at Amanpulo on a private visit, by invitation of some wonderful hosts, so I will only provide snapshots of mostly sand, sea, sky and some food, and the leave the rest of our short visit to your imagination. The rainy season in the Philippines can be unpredictable, but while traditionally a less active period for resorts in the Northern Palawan area, I can tell you for sure that paradise at the height of the dry season is still very much paradise during the rainy season, and without the crowds.


An hour-long flight in a 19-seater Dornier turboprop from Manila to Pamalican island was flawless and the greeting upon arrival at Amanpulo as warm as ever.


Late afternoon tropical squalls formed on the horizon, and blew over the island on and off during the first day. I actually love to watch rainstorms advance and the beach is a superb vantage point, as long as you can get out of the way when it starts to get a bit stormy.


But just as quickly as the squalls form and pass, they also disappear, and neighboring islands such as Manamoc are clearly visible across the calm blue sea. A slight shower wasn’t going to keep us off the beach…


Some of the finest and widest sandy beaches I have ever experienced completely encircle the small island, and we were always in awe of the dozens of shades of blue that the sea puts forth based on the sunlight, clouds, and time of day.


With only 38 hotel casitas (and several villas) on the island, you almost never run into any other guests except while dining in the restaurants. So it definitely feels like your private island, and your wonderful beach, if only for the length of your stay.


Gentle waves crash over a very gradual slope of powdery sand that leads out to reefs surrounding the island, some 100-300 meters off shore.


Sometimes you do have to pinch yourself to make sure it is all quite real.


From the beach club, a classic photo that guests have surely snapped with their cameras for the last 16+ years since the resort opened for business. We were guests at Amanpulo just weeks after it had opened, and returned several times in the mid to late 1990’s until we decided to build a beach house in Batangas that reduced our trips to beach resorts.

The sun had come out in full force at this point and it was just spectacular. I have a photo taken from the same vantage point some 15 years ago (not on a digital camera) and it looks identical to this one…


Beach side casitas are set back several meters in lush greenery (particularly during the rainy season) and many have private hammocks and several areas to lounge or sunbathe on the deck.


A short pathway leads to your own private patch of beach…


…with chaises longues and a beach umbrella. Towels are constantly being refreshed and if desired, meals can be enjoyed right on the beach.


As usual, as with Amans anywhere, details, details, details as with these gumamela blooms floating in a pot of water and a coconut ladle so you can wash off sand when you return from the beach to your casita.


The resort has a fantastic pool as well, right near the main clubhouse. It is dramatically lit in the evening, and capiz lanterns with candles dot the public areas.


Our meals and snacks were just wonderful. Here an open-face vegetarian sandwich that the Teen ordered for breakfast one day… a nice slice of bread baked on the premises, hummus, arugula, avocados, oven roasted tomatoes and shreds of basil.


Tapas at lunch included a wonderful spicy and tasty dish of gambas, made with prawns rather than shrimps. A basket of freshly baked foccacia was the perfect tool to sop up the oil and garlic at the bottom of this dish!


Calamares served with a nice mayonnaise and some lemon wedges hit the spot with Mrs. MM, who ended up ordering it twice in two days.


The Teen wolfed down an order with three substantial chicken croquettes.


The resort has added several new dining outlets since we were last there a decade ago. A simple beach hut serves wonderful pizzas and salads. And another more formal setting offers a surprisingly varied Vietnamese menu. But the development that really excited me was the fact that there are several rows of organically grown vegetables, herbs and spices on the island now. A strong push to compost and create kitchen gardens shielded from the winds has yielded terrific produce. These arugula salads served with our pizzas were SUPERB.


Turns out the arugula is grown less than 20 meters from where we ate it, and it had been picked less than an hour before we crunched down on the leaves. A lot of arugula in Manila is almost too peppery and a bit grassy, but these arugula leaves were delicious. Served with roasted tomatoes, some parmesan and a balsamic vinaigrette, they were perfect with the pizzas. After we finished our salads, we noticed the cook head off to the arugula patch to pick a few more handfulls of the greens, washing them carefully and getting them ready for the next few diners. This is a photo of her in front of the wood fired pizza oven.


The margherita pizza was topped with the fresh chiffonade of basil, also grown a few steps from the restaurant.


A mushroom pizza was also very good.


A variety of drinks and coolers were on offer, but these simple yet refreshing lemon squashes (lemon, soda water, simple syrup and lots of ice) were a favorite.


For lunch today, I had a simple but WONDERFUL tuna fish, green olive and onion sandwich, served on one of the finest baguettes I have ever eaten at an island resort. I always assume keeping a nice crust on bread on a humid tropical island is impossible, but this baguette was delicious. We also had several wonderful Vietnamese and Filipino dishes at dinner, but candle lit dining and poor camera skills (or was I just hungry?) means no photos to share…


This is our fourth or fifth visit to Amanpulo (with a long, long break since the last one), but I can tell you it is as wonderful as ever. The service was impeccable, and as if by Aman magic, at the end of lunch today, perhaps with some help from the Teen who simply wanted to embarrass me in public (though I wouldn’t put it past them to have checked the files), a delicious chocolate cake with a single candle was presented for dessert. Complete with guitarists and singers wishing me a happy birthday. Life doesn’t get much better than that! Many thanks to our hosts and to the staff of Amanpulo who have made yet another memorable Aman experience. I am taking the next couple of days “off” from the blog to recharge batteries. Will be back soon. :)

Spectacular photos of the island resort on their website, below:
Pamalican Island
Cuyo Group of Islands



  1. edee says:

    What a wonderful place to spend your birthday, happy happy birthday!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 7:48 pm


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  3. Odit says:


    Aug 19, 2010 | 7:53 pm

  4. Rebecca says:

    What a lovely place! Happy Birthday!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 8:05 pm

  5. chinky says:

    I am green with envy. Still saving to get there. I love white sand beaches and this is a dream destination. Have a great year ahead MM. Happy birthday!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 8:28 pm

  6. Footloose says:

    The only way I can get myself into this kind of scene is by photoshopping. Good thing we now know you well enough and one of the projects you are juggling is a school feeding program otherwise this blog can give the impression that it’s all about the life-style of the rich and fatuous and may foment mob discontent. May you celebrate many more birthdays to come.

    Aug 19, 2010 | 8:40 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Footloose, hahaha. Yes, recent posts have definitely been at one extreme of the spectrum. You may wish to revisit this old post, where a perfectly comfortable room at the Village Lodge in Coron, Palawan was just roughly PHP500 per person per night. So I have covered the other end of the spectrum as well. :) Thanks for the greetings from all. Okay, signing off again… :)

    Aug 19, 2010 | 9:14 pm

  8. Mimi says:

     Maligayang Bati Sa Iyong Kaarawan! Ka-birthday mo sister ko! I know President Manuel Quezon was born on this day too.

    Aug 19, 2010 | 9:48 pm

  9. JENNIE says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 9:57 pm

  10. millet says:

    happy, happy birthday, MM! so that’s also where the flying Z went to, eh?

    Aug 19, 2010 | 9:59 pm

  11. nina says:

    Happy Birthday, MM!!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 10:07 pm

  12. aly says:

    maligayang bati marketman!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 10:18 pm

  13. Cathyeresera says:

    Happy Birthday Marketman! More Blessings to come! Amanpulo is a dream place talaga.

    Aug 19, 2010 | 10:28 pm

  14. andrea says:

    happy birthday, MM! may you have many more birthdays & blessings to come.

    Aug 19, 2010 | 10:41 pm

  15. maia says:

    happy birthday, MM!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 11:17 pm

  16. eustressor says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 19, 2010 | 11:32 pm

  17. akosistella says:

    Happy bday MM! Wow, nice legs! hehe ;p

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:10 am

  18. Laura says:

    as you said, details. love the food presentation, those small squares of banana leaves under the food made a difference. a visit to market manila is always a learning experience. this was a sosi to the max birthday celebration :-) thanks for sharing.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:11 am

  19. Tricia says:

    awww..Happy Birthday!!! They say people born in August are meticulous & assertive :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:17 am

  20. Guia says:

    A most happy bday, MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:52 am

  21. Mari says:

    Happy Birthday MM! May this vacation recharge you and keep you at peace with all the wonders that is around us. Enjoy and many more to come!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:56 am

  22. KUMAGCOW says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Btw, I was the first kid who got into that plane that you rode. Dad worked for A. Soriano Aviation heheh =)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 1:42 am

  23. natie says:

    May you have many more blogging days!!! thanks for the entertaining, informative posts!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 1:46 am

  24. zaN says:

    WOW! You finally made it to FORTY… hehehe Very SPECTACULAR birthday TREAT. I wish you MORE GREAT birthdays to come.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 2:48 am

  25. Botchok says:

    Happy Birthday MM !

    Aug 20, 2010 | 2:49 am

  26. denise says:

    happy birthday MM!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:29 am

  27. Jade186 says:

    Happy Birthday MM and best wishes to your family!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:33 am

  28. wayne says:



    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:47 am

  29. alilay says:

    happy birthday MM , just want to share this last night’s winner of Restaurant Wars on Food network is a father and son tandem from the Phils. The name of their restaurant is ‘Noy and they served kare-kare and lengua for the main course lumpia shanghai as appetizer and for dessert leche flan and turon. Judges loved it but some diners are scared of beef tripe and ox tails, the thing that lured them in is when the son passed lumpiang shanghai to waiting diners of the other restaurant . Yay to Pinoys!!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 5:40 am

  30. T says:

    Happy birthday MM! :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:45 am

  31. linda says:

    Hi MM, I’m not gonna greet you yet kasi I know your birthday is on the 25th!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:03 am

  32. cora says:

    Happy Birthday, MM! ‘Hope we can also visit Amanpulo so my husband can enjoy what really is paradise!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:08 am

  33. linda says:

    Sorry MM, I thought your birthday was on the 25th,but I checked the files and found that it was today.


    My dh says we’ll toast this special occasion with his excellent home brewed beer and hope you have many many more to come!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:36 am

  34. bluegirl says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:25 am

  35. elit says:


    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:25 am

  36. marilen says:

    Joining in the chorus of happy birthday from all the well-wishers. Ok, everybody, all together now – h-a-p-p-y- b-i-r-t-h-d-a-y-t-o a g-r-e-a-t-g-u-y!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:25 am

  37. tintin says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:29 am

  38. deirdregurl says:

    maligayang pagbati sa iyong kaarawan, MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:32 am

  39. Ley says:

    Happy birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:33 am

  40. Maricel says:

    Happy Birthday MM! May the joy you give to your readers and the kindness and concern that you have for the kids in your feeding program be returned to you a thousandfold. Thank you for the years of wonderful posts.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:55 am

  41. ruth, Philippines says:

    happy birthday MM.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 9:08 am

  42. joey says:

    Happy birthday MM! What an awesome way to spend your birthday! Siiiigh…I’m dreaming of some tropical paradise getaway stuck here in the city!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 9:17 am

  43. ying says:

    …and many more blogs and birthdays to come MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 9:17 am

  44. mbw says:

    i guess by now, all I can wish you is to keep enjoying your vacation! Belated Happy Birthday,MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 9:48 am

  45. mojito drinker says:

    happy birthday mm!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 9:52 am

  46. kyang2x says:

    Happy Birthday MM! God bless you and your family.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 10:05 am

  47. mary chen says:

    happy birthday MM!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 10:26 am

  48. Melanie says:

    Happy Birthday, MM! Am looking forward to the day when the Teen decides to write her own blog. It would be great to read about her thoughts and feelings about all the wonderful experiences your family continue to have together. Take your much deserved break to recharge and we’ll all be waiting for your most interesting posts!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 10:50 am

  49. Lhai says:

    Such a lovely place to spend a very important day in your life.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 10:51 am

  50. fujiko says:

    happy birthday MM!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:03 am

  51. Virgie says:

    Happy birthday MM.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:11 am

  52. Jenny says:

    happy birthday MM!! just curious how many Aman resorts have you been to and which was the best? :) friends who’ve been to Amanpulo said that the food prices were skyhigh! i think a cup of rice went for 150pesos (?)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:13 am

  53. ryanclaw says:

    Happy Birthday MM!! :) nice photos!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:31 am

  54. Janet says:

    Happy Birthday MM! :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:50 am

  55. sonny sj says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:50 pm

  56. marcial bonifacio says:

    happy birthday!Mm! and once again,thank you for showing the beauty of the philippines, in this case, amanpulo..ganda talaga ng pilipinas.=D

    Aug 20, 2010 | 12:55 pm

  57. antonette c. says:

    thanks for the nice photos and the wonderful review.. planning on getting married at Amanpulo next year..=) happy birthday MM!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 1:43 pm

  58. Bubut says:

    maligayang bati and enjoy your days off… God bless to you and your family!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 1:48 pm

  59. emil says:

    may you live as long as you want, and may you
    have what you want as long as you live.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 2:24 pm

  60. Angela says:

    Happy birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 2:31 pm

  61. Sayong says:

    Happy happy birthday MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 2:49 pm

  62. farida says:

    Happy birthday, MM. I checked Amanpulo before and just wishing I can go there one of these days. What a beautiful place.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 3:06 pm

  63. bearhug0127 says:

    Happy Birthday, MM.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:14 pm

  64. QueenB says:

    Happy happy Birthday MM! Hope you had a good one!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:37 pm

  65. junb says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! May you have 100 more to come :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 4:47 pm

  66. eight says:

    happy birthday mm!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 5:15 pm

  67. lejox says:

    maligayang kaarawan, marketman! wishing you all the best!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 5:36 pm

  68. jack says:

    Happy Birthday MM! more birthdays means more blogs to come :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 5:48 pm

  69. :) says:

    Hi MM! Maybe you can think about our offer of guesting you in our show! Hope you will reply. Thanks! Happy Birthday. :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:04 pm

  70. chloe says:

    Happy happy birthday, MM!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:15 pm

  71. cindz says:


    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:25 pm

  72. Joanjean says:

    Happy Birthday MM! :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:31 pm

  73. Thel says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MM! Bless your heart always and forever.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 6:58 pm

  74. :) says:

    I sent another message before this Mr. Marketman.

    The show goes every Tuesday, 10PM, titled Tara Let’s Eat at QTV11. We would like to guest you on our show together with another food blogger who is Ms. Jean Salonga Fernando of triportreats.com.

    The idea is you two cooking, to be critique by our host, Tonipet Gaba. It’s as if the table are turned this time, you’re the one to be blogged now, instead of you blogging about your favorite restos and dishes.

    Hope this interests you. We will wait for your reply.

    Thanks and have a nice day!

    Happy birthday, by the way. :)

    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:42 pm

  75. :) says:

    Maybe you can contact me at my mobile number (0926 1488072), so I can discuss the matter over the phone.

    Thanks and God bless!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:49 pm

  76. Artisan Chocolatier says:


    Aug 20, 2010 | 7:50 pm

  77. luc says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!!!!, MM

    Aug 20, 2010 | 8:20 pm

  78. miles says:

    i wish i could spend my birthday like you did. alas it was not. will just wish us both a happy birthday. God bless!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 10:25 pm

  79. Guits says:

    May your larder always be full, and your plate heaping. Happy birthday!!!

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:48 pm

  80. kit says:

    happy birthday!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 12:23 am

  81. sha says:

    Happy Birthday MM…

    Aug 21, 2010 | 1:00 am

  82. MrsKookie says:

    Happy Birthday Marketman! :)

    Aug 21, 2010 | 1:20 am

  83. EJ says:

    Gefeliciteerd op jouw verjaardag, MM!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 2:20 am

  84. RV says:

    malipajung pagsa-ulog sa imong adlawng natawhan Marketman!
    yati rah! amanpulo pa jud! ga laway-laway ko sa kaikag! hehehe

    happy birthday! more blessings to you on your path!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 6:33 am

  85. Leo says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Marketman!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 7:16 am

  86. marissewalangkaparis says:

    maligayang bati! cheers………..

    Aug 21, 2010 | 11:59 am

  87. Toping says:

    Happy birthday MM! You deserve the best!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 12:23 pm

  88. panache says:

    Happy Birthday MM

    Aug 21, 2010 | 1:37 pm

  89. rhea says:

    happy birthday MM!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 1:58 pm

  90. Joey in Dubai says:

    Happy birthday, MM. Have many more happy returns……

    Aug 21, 2010 | 3:04 pm

  91. present tense says:

    Happy Birthday ! Have a blast !

    Aug 21, 2010 | 5:31 pm

  92. kulasa says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 5:37 pm

  93. anne says:

    happy birthday MM!

    Aug 21, 2010 | 5:46 pm

  94. Mom-Friday says:

    What a wonderful BIRTHDAY celebration! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Wish I can go there too someday…

    Aug 21, 2010 | 9:21 pm

  95. sc says:

    hey, mm: happy birthday! :) here’s to good health, good wealth & good life! :) cheers!

    * amanpulo is love *

    Aug 21, 2010 | 9:25 pm

  96. bagito says:

    Happy birthday, MM! Wishing you more b’days spent in a paradise like Amanpulo!

    Aug 22, 2010 | 4:41 am

  97. Marketman says:

    Whoa! So many comments, it must have been the cake… :) Thank you everyone for the bday greetings! If my recent poll on birthdays is correct, there will be an increasing number of readers with birthdays in the next two months, so Happy Birthday to all of you as well! :), Sorry, I tend to try and keep anonymous and avoid television shows with a predominantly local audience… Jenny, we have stayed in 6 or 7 Amanresorts and visited another 3-4 for lunch or dinner and I would say that each has their own unique character and charm. The Balinese Amans are special because of their coziness and warmth… and they started an EXPLOSION of copy cat resorts there, so much so there are dozens and dozens of wannabees. It’s hard to say if any one of the Amans is a favorite, they are all worth a visit. As for food prices at Amanpulo, nearly everything is flown in fresh or put on a monthly barge, so the cost of the food is already higher to begin with. It’s part of the price you pay for being nearly alone on a small island in the middle of the Northern Palawan seas… I don’t recall ordering just a cup of rice and seeing its price, some of our Asian meals came with rice. Hotels near major or minor cities have easier access to both food and staff. linda, how cool is that, you make your own beer at home?! alilay, I haven’t seen that program or episode…

    Aug 22, 2010 | 8:51 am

  98. Betchay says:

    Maligayang bati sa iyong kaarawan.Nawa’y patnubayan ka ng Panginoon sa lahat ng landas na iyong tatahakin. :)

    Aug 22, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  99. riza says:

    wow amanpulo still looks fantastic… haah have been here for a vacation once and am dying to go and revisit… the beachfront casitas indeed make you feel like you’re alone in the island. what struck me back then apart from the postcard pic view was the attention to service… you have staff running after you for the smallest amenities and things . happy birthday MM! More blessings to you and your family

    Aug 22, 2010 | 9:43 pm

  100. sunflowii says:

    Happy Birthday, MM!

    Is it true that if you were walking on the beach sans umbrella and it starts raining, an aman staff will come right away with an umbrella to shield you? =)

    what water activities/sports can you do there? are the corals still healthy and fish plentiful?

    Aug 22, 2010 | 11:27 pm

  101. crissie says:

    happy birthday MM!

    Aug 23, 2010 | 9:18 am

  102. jules winnfield says:

    happy birthday mm!!!

    Aug 23, 2010 | 10:23 am

  103. Kai says:

    With all your posts about Aman properties around the world I had been holding my breath waiting for Amanpulo. Finally here it is. Breathtaking. Nothing compares to celebrating there. Happy birthday.

    Aug 23, 2010 | 12:12 pm

  104. Issa says:

    I want to go to Amanpulo, now na. Thanks for the feature and happy, happy birthday, Marketman! :)

    Aug 23, 2010 | 7:44 pm

  105. Jen Laceda says:

    We’re heading to the Philippines in November 2011. Amanpulo is a dream destination. Any tips for our family of 4?

    Happy belated birthday! Did you accept the cooking challenge?

    Aug 24, 2010 | 5:14 am

  106. Marketman says:

    Jen, no I didn’t for a couple of reasons… As for the Philippines, you could certainly do Amanpulo, or if you want the scenery and less luxurious digs, Coron/Northern Palawan is my favorite destination these days…

    Aug 24, 2010 | 9:08 am

  107. JOHN says:

    happy birthday MM! i love AMANPULO me and my wife were there 3 years ago. what a paradise!

    Aug 24, 2010 | 9:37 am

  108. terrey says:

    maayong pagsaulog jud diay sa imong adlawng natawhan MM!!! buligan ka pa unta ug maayong panglawas ug daghan pang grasya sa kanunay!

    Aug 24, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  109. ezra says:

    OMG! the beach took my breath away! i wanna cry coz i dunno if i’ll ever set foot in Amanpulo. Hopefully someday! **crosses fingers!

    Aug 24, 2010 | 4:08 pm

  110. jakbkk says:

    HAPPY na BIRTHDAY pa!!!!

    Aug 25, 2010 | 9:34 am

  111. KC Binay says:

    happy b-day MM..im just new here..addition to your avid readers and fan…you r so lucky to be celebrating your b-day there…its been my dream to go there..wish you all the best..more posts to come…happy b-day..:)

    Aug 25, 2010 | 12:49 pm

  112. Cheryl says:

    belated happy birthday mm! you are my best food blogger. heheh

    Aug 25, 2010 | 4:02 pm


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