Aman Resorts | 25 Years Of Amanpulo

Aman’s private island resort marks its silver anniversary by celebrating Filipino gastronomy, culture, and community.

In 1993, a private island of unspoiled tropical wilderness in the Sulu Sea, 360km southwest of Manila, was transformed from a small coconut plantation into one of the most idyllic retreats in the world. Designed by the acclaimed Filipino architect Francisco Manosa, and accessible only by private propeller plane, Amanpulo, the ‘peaceful island’, offers its guests the tranquility and sensory spectacle of powder-soft sands, and warm azure waters, ringed by a pristine coral reef.

Amanpulo has established itself as the undisputed jewel of the Philippines and one of the most beloved destinations for Amanjunkies in search of a naturally romantic setting for weddings and honeymoons, and for thrill seekers searching for the adrenaline buzz of physically challenging watersports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. With its powdery white-sand beach which stretches the full 6.5 kilometre perimeter of Palawan Island, it has also become a haven for those looking to fulfill their desert island fantasies and for anyone looking for an opportunity to escape, switch off, and reground themselves in a tropical paradise, far from the cares and worries of their everyday lives. Following 2017’s anniversary celebrations in Indonesia at Amanjiwo (20 years) and Amankila (25 years), 2018 will mark 25 years since Amanpulo welcomed its first guests. This landmark occasion will be commemorated with a year-long programme of exclusive events and cultural initiatives designed to embody the spirit of the resort, pay tribute to its history, and celebrate its deep-rooted connection to the island and community of Manamoc.

BBQ’s on the 25th

Throughout 2018, guests in residence will be invited to an al fresco anniversary barbecue on the 25th of each month at Amanpulo’s scenic Picnic Grove. The resort’s chefs will come together to helm live cooking stations serving a tantalizing variety of traditional Filipino flavors. The menu will include wood-fired suckling pig, stuffed local squid, and traditional palayok (clay pot) dishes such as Laing (taro leaves braised in spiced coconut milk) and Pancit Palabok (rice noodles topped with seafood and chicharron), as well as an array of Filipino salads and desserts – including the much-loved shaved-ice specialty halo-halo. More than a dozen different dishes will be available, and will be best enjoyed accompanied by an exclusive Amanpulo beer, brewed especially to commemorate the resort’s anniversary by the Pedro Brewery in San Pedro City.

25-minute Cultural and Sporting Activities

A series of 25-minute activities and workshops have been developed specifically for the anniversary. These include palm-leaf weaving, a traditional Filipino craft used to make toys, ornaments, bags and accessories. Led by Amanpulo’s guides who have delighted guests over the years with gifts of their expertly woven creations, the workshops will enable participants to weave their own simple toys or, for the more ambitious, a classic Filipino palm-leaf hat. For fitness enthusiasts, Amanpulo’s Fitness Manager Elmer Munar has created a 25-minute jungle sprint cardiovascular workout trail.

Woven amongst the trees beside the Aman Spa, the trail comprises 13 obstacles ranging from monkey bars and a tyre run, to a rope and wall climb, and is designed to challenge strength and coordination in both upper and lower body. The trail can be adapted to meet the specific fitness needs of the individual, allowing guests of all ages and athletic abilities to take part. Finally, in recognition of the perfect kitesurfing conditions on the Pamalican Island lagoon, Amanpulo will play host to a kitesurf retreat in March, inviting many of the world’s pro kiters and amateur enthusiasts for an unforgettable high-adrenaline regatta.

Community Initiatives

Throughout its history, Amanpulo has co-existed with the community on the neighboring island of Manamoc, caring for and taking a very active role in the development of the island and its inhabitants. Before Amanpulo opened, the main source of livelihood for the residents of Manamoc was solely fishing and seaweed farming, with the island’s remote location also meaning poor access to medical, educational, and transport facilities, and ultimately, economic opportunities. Today, over 85% of the team at Amanpulo are recruited from Manamoc, some of whom have been with the resort since the first day it opened and whose children have since gone on to work for the resort. Through this very close relationship, residents of the island now have direct access to medical and educational support, and emergency transportation through Amanpulo’s boats and aircrafts. These connections will continue into 2018, with a new range of programmes designed to equip Manamoc residents with relevant career skills, improve the lives of schoolchildren and enhance the island environment overall.

These include organizing bimonthly community learning programmes, led by heads of department from the resort and experts in their respective fields. Amongst these will be computer tuition for students of Manamoc National High School led by Chrisel Ersando, the resort’s IT Manager, and a gardening masterclass for island homeowners keen to grow their own food taught by the resort’s resident horticulturist Marlon Malabrigo. In addition, members of the Amanpulo team will lead efforts in planting greenery along the island’s main roads, and in August, the resort’s food and beverage team will visit Manamoc Elementary School every Wednesday, providing food and sharing cooking skills. Amanpulo will also launch a $4,000 scholarship programme to fund the university studies of one exceptional Manamoc high-school student. This will be awarded to those pursuing a baccalaureate degree in a discipline that can bring long-term benefit to the island and its community.

Anniversary Instagram Competition

In addition to the calendar of celebrations, the resort will amass a trove of Instagram imagery, capturing Amanpulo life and adventures throughout the year, gathered under the hashtag #Amanpulo25. On 1 January 2019, the best image, as decided by the resort teams will be awarded a three-night stay at Amanpulo.

Lasting legacy

As an enduring marker of this special year, 25 talisay (Indian almond) trees and coconut palms will be planted beside Island Park, the resort team’s relaxation area, each one dedicated to 25 pioneer staff who have worked with Amanpulo since its inception and have contributed significantly to the resort – a permanent testament to the loyalty and generosity of service these particular team members have brought to Amanpulo over the years. Over the year, guests will also be invited to plant trees around the resort, reflecting the fact that Amanpulo’s 25 successful years are as much the result of guests’ contribution to the island and its community, as they are to the above-and-beyond-dedication of its staff.

Accessible only by private plane, tropical Pamalican Island is one hour from Manila, yet feels a world away from anywhere. Amanpulo is the only property on this Philippine island; its airy, Casitas and Villas open onto 5.5 kilometers of coral sand that encircle a jungled center. With a convivial poolside Clubhouse, an Aman Spa, Dive Centre and a laidback Beach Club at their disposal, guests can be as active as they choose. For adventure-seeking guests, there is no shortage of outdoor pursuits including island hikes, watersports, exploring the kaleidoscopic reefs by schiller bike, snorkeling and turtle spotting just offshore.