Amanpulo: Palawan, Philippines. My break into paradise? Was it worth it?

If you’re all lazy to read. Here is a video of our trip to Amanpulo.

Ever since my dad mentioned it, Ive been dreaming all my life to visit this island. When I was much younger and we were less endowed with the best things in life, we used to come to Palawan and visit the more affordable resorts as you may call it. My parents worked really hard, as the eldest child I saw my mom and my dads highs and lows. But the beach or more so Palawan was our safe place, it was somewhere we spent most our time going to take vacations to. In the Philippines my dad only wanted to come here and nowhere else to him was more beautiful. 

Enough of the things about us, We came here for my parents 29th Anniversary. I cannot count with my hands how many times Ive been here to Palawan since I was 10. But Amanpulo is the best of the best here and I only found our 3 days before our flight that we were coming to the island. In the middle of my work and everything I got really excited because this trip would hit the Holy Week break! 

Coming to the island only takes 40-50 mins if youre taking the bigger plane. They greet you with Sampaguitas and give you your own tour in your personal golf cart. Its really an island for the rich, well for 3000-5000usd a night it should be. But this blog wont be about how fancy or luxurious this place was. Im actually going to share to you my own tips on how to visit this island on your budget based on our experience. But of course if you have that money saved up, then by all means you should visit! Personally, if I were to pay for this place myself I would eat up more than half my savings and that wouldnt be a wise way to spend my money. 

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VISITING THE ISLAND: 

My mom found a lot of faults in their booking. I guess they assume that everyone can pay and afford their island. But if were speaking about practicality some rates and things are completely out of any practical persons budget.

We complained more than 4 or 5 times about the pricing and they kept on telling us that they would extend the credit, in the end we were left with Php -800 credit for them to return to us, but not after me viewing their terrible accounting statement of which I had to decipher. It was obvious that the person who made the accounting statement was not an accountant, and they just printed out what they thought was proper deducting and adding, but after doing the analysis and the math, It was clearly a very confusing situation already because different managers were promising different things to us each time and in the end I didn’t know which was the agreed upon statement anymore.

They probably didn’t think that they’d meet someone such as my mom, my mom is just the type of person who wants you to explain it clearly to her, and the manager and staff clearly didn’t know what was going on with their accounting system. If they did, they could have easily told her what the statement stated and included. Instead we got more than how many different managers telling us 3 or 4 different things.

  1. You actually have options that they dont explain.When we first booked the place, they never mentioned it to us. They just sent us a statement and made it seem easy to book. Not that I didnt like that, its just that if there was an option for a cheaper booking I would have saved my parents a lot more money.There is actually an option not to have the room food replenished everyday and that rate they said is cheaper. We didnt know at first because it was not even explained to us how to book in the first place.

    At the end of our trip we ended up asking for the un-replenished daily chocolates we were supposed to receive per day since we did pay for it but it was not mentioned to us, tea and drinks. If it was explained to us earlier we would have taken it. I mean of course we want our moneys worth if we paid extra for it.

  2.   Read all of their agreements and non disclosure agreements.
    There are a lot of charges an rules here and there about the island. Mind you its not cheap either.
  3. You can bring your own food.If it were up to me, i would have survived with 2 meals a day or even just one meal a day. My mom brought some canned tuna and bread from Manila and her own food and snacks. Being on the island, you dont really eat much. And if you paid that extra 70usd for lunch then I suggest you remove it because breakfast is part of your rate anyway.One meal costs about 50-80 usd and the massages range from 200-300usd. We didnt avail for anything on this island. Because a lot of things were freeassuming it was already included in that rate we paid for.

  4. Take the free snorkeling every 10am and 2pmIt will save you a lot of money since going on a private tour is about 200-400usd as well. It would be great if you were a lot but we were only 4 on this trip and it would have not been practical at all. The snorkeling tour goes to places where you can see turtles as well as really big fishes!

  5. The room is big enough for 4 peopleIts an extra 1000usd per person also including the flight to the island. If youre not such a particular group of people there is an even cheaper treetop casita that is about 1900usd per night  including the flight for 2 people and an additional 1000 per head if you add. Of course a double bed will be added. I feel like this is shareable and had i known I would have just asked for this option and slept on my parents couch in the beach casita.

  6. Pets are not allowed on this island.I really wanted to bring my dog, considering the priced we paid. My chihuahua is really small and I hoped we could have brought him with us too. But I can’t complain about this so much, since I guess its a private island and I shouldn’t really be expecting to be able to bring my little baby.

  7. My sister and I nearly got lost at sea, be careful of the currents.

    I don’t want to explain much about it, I already got comments on Facebook that blamed me as a sister for not doing much. I think I was able to do my part by staying with my sister. Just be careful when you’re out with young kids. They don’t really monitor you so well and I think when you’re with a kid you just need to stay by the shore.

  8. They will want to charge you for the bigger room so you could bring more peopleI also read this on their Facebook comments section. They really want you to get the Villa which is $21,000. When I called them at first, they really wanted me to get the Villa for our whole family instead of 2 separate rooms which would turn out cheaper. Just remember that you have a lot more options than you think, and even if they’ll hate you for asking, just ask them, you’re a paying customer.

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For a 5 star resort, maybe my expectations were just higher than this. Maybe it is really visited by people who bring their maids on vacation and we were too poor compared to these other people to understand the situation. But It made me see also how different the other side of life is like. There is beauty in simple places and more homey hospitality. Personally i did not feel it on this island. 

They have 400 employees on this island and we didnt see most of them on the island. Most of your money probably goes to the extra people  who need to maintain the island and its filtration system and the good food and chefs. Being aware that the island has more employees than actual guests. I was disappointed when I realised that we were so little compared to them. As the island is only home to about 47 cottages and half of these are privately owned and not for rent. 

Now after reading you might think, how much of a cheapskate can this girl get? Come on, bringing your own food and sleeping on the couch?! I guess doing this is not for everyone and we all have different ways we want to live. I just think that looking at it in an economical more practical standpoint. That money could have been used for so many more important things than just the food on our vacation or the chocolates and drinks in the fridge.  And of course I have to make this post neutral for those haters who might say, enjoy it, it was a free vacation after all! That is true, I will not of course deny the beautiful memories I made here with my family, good or bad.

I do believe it is somewhere you could go to experience for once in your life. I will definitely say that, I loved the beachfront and there is nothing like it or compared to it. I just hope that someday the management improves and their staff training. It is definitely what you’d call a luxury leisure resort and the staff are also just as in leisure as the guests.

Wishing you all happy days!
Hope this all helps you make decision in visiting the island.

thebackpackingballerina.com

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Pangulasian, El Nido

I have written plenty of times before, Palawan is really my most favourite place in the Philippines. There are no words for me to describe this place, and if you are ever looking for a small resort here and you don’t have a small budget, Pangulasian is the place you are looking for, this is of course based only on my experience and my stay here.

We’ve stayed at Miniloc island once and visited Lagen resort in El Nido, but this resort was the cherry on top of an ice cream cake. Pangulasian, listed as one of the best small luxury hotels in the world, is a place where the Prince of Monaco and Bill Gates was said to stay in last April 2016. It is the perfect escape to all of our busy lives. We did the usual big and small lagoons tour and swam with the sharks and turtles by the island. You don’t even need to leave the island to enjoy the beauty of Palawan. Pangulasian, shows the beauty of the Philippines in all of its good nature.

If you are ever in the Philippines, Palawan should definitely be top on your list of places to visit. Coron, El Nido, Balabac, Linapacan, some suggested places you could search about Palawan. The silence might be deafening at first, and this place is really nice if you have someone to share it with.

❤ TheBackpackingBallerina

Club Paradise, Coron Palawan

The first time I went to Palawan was about 15 years ago with my parents when we stayed at the Dos Palmas resort in Puerto Princessa. Up to this day, i still love Palawan and it is one of my most favourite destinations here in the Philippines. Club paradise in Coron, Palawan was my second trip to Palawan and I still think of it as one of the most beautiful destinations in the Philippines. Not that I’ve gone to a lot of places around here but looking at Palawan just gives you that feeling that you were brought to another world. Away from the city and away from all kinds of technology and stress.

What i know about Coron is that it has two sides. This side where club paradise is and the other side where the town proper is. I only recently discovered the part where the town proper was when we stayed around the town and went island hopping for a whole week. But this is not the post for that side of town (you could view the town proper post here: Coron Palawan, Philippines) in this post i want to share to you my experience in the other side on a far away island in the middle of the ocean.

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The front view of Club Paradise

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The view from our villa

Club Paradise is a resort in the middle of the ocean, it takes about an hour drive going to the boat and another hour to get to the island by boat. From there you will be brought to one of the clearest waters and sand so fine that it  would melt under your toes.

Going to club paradise won’t be a budgeted trip, normally what backpackers would do is to stay in the island proper and go island hopping into the many different islands and snorkelling into the deep blue sea. What i liked however about this side of Coron was that it was quiet and no one was around. As compared to the other side where you will encounter plenty of different locals, going island hopping on this side you will not see one person on every island. Except on the Calauit Safari island where you will see people taking care of the Zebras and Giraffes.

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First island, the elephant island

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Beautiful rock formations and a cave that you could go into

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Feeding Mozart the giraffe

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it was my first time to see a giraffe

I loved this side of Coron mostly because it was more quiet and relaxing. You could sleep on the sands of Club Paradise and get a tan, no one would bother you. Also the view from each villa would be beautiful to wake up to. Not much activities as compared to the other side of Coron where you could experience Kayangan lake, Maquinit Hot springs and speak with many locals on the island but more secluded nonetheless as compared to the side with the town proper. I guess if you have the time you could visit both sides so you could experience the difference of the environments on each side.

I will never forget my times in Palawan and how Coron has brought me closer to a lot of my friends and family. Palawan will still always be my favourite destination here in the Philippines and I thank my dad for introducing me to this beautiful island. Looking now into a 6th trip back to the heavenly white sands and the giant pawikan turtles.

Coron Palawan, Philippines

         My third time back to Coron and my 6th time back in Palawan. I just cant get enough. This time around though it was the most budgeted trip that I had planned out for me and my dancer friends. And this was the first time that I actually toured the island because I knew a local from there. I spent about 13k including all the food, lodging, tours and shopping that I did.

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