Consisting of some 7,100 volcanic islands and islets, many of which don’t even have a name, the Philippines seems to float on its own in the Pacific. Separated from Indonesia and Indochina by miles of ocean, its history is relatively undramatic; unlike many of its neighbours, it has not seen the rise and fall of dynasties. This may be due to the archipelago’s linguistic, cultural and racial diversity – over 111 dialects are spoken in its various regions.
Amanpulo is Pamalican. The name means ‘peaceful island’, and it’s easy to see why. Pamalican’s 250 pristine acres are totally tranquil, with nothing but a luxurious 40-room hideaway, verdant vegetation, exotic bird life and what must be one of the planet’s all-time greatest beaches, a seemingly endless stretch of the finest white powder sloping into clear turquoise waters.
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’s main beach is situated, and the more open eastern one. The prevailing winds shift seasonally so almost regardless of weather there is always at least one shore available for diving.
While the Philippines’ very best diving is further south at the amazing Tubbataha Reefs marine park, this is only accessible by live-aboard. Nonetheless, Pamalican comes close. Add in the unimaginably perfect beach, a wonderful hotel, superb service and total privacy, and you soon realize that this is as good as it gets.
The Dive Centre
The original simple dive center is no more. Now moved round the point onto its own piece of pristine beach, a true Amanesque dive center has arisen, a five-minute buggy ride from virtually any of the casitas, a little further from the new villas. If you have brought your own gear, they will happily collect it for you, otherwise there is a good selection of Scubapro and Gull equipment available, including children’s sizes.
When to Go
The best and calmest conditions are from March to May, when you can dive most sites, although it is good all year round with at least one of Pamalican’s coasts always being accessible to dive.
7 nights in a Treetop Casita on Amanpulo on a room only basis
Domestic return flights from Manila to Pamalican Island
International flights and diving are not included