Best Private Islands: Philippines' Pamalican Island

Like a nesting doll, the Amanpulo resort here offers a retreat within a retreat. Already Pamalican Island floats alone among the 7,000 islands of the Philippines, resting in the quiet sea in a group of islands known as Palawan. From the air, Pamalican looks like a green comet ringed with pure white sand. Walk along that beach, and in 90 minutes you'll have circled the entire island, maybe seeing baby sharks and nesting turtles along the way. To fully escape even the few other casitas here -- 40 cottages in the native style of bahay kubo dwellings -- book the Nature Villa. The four-bedroom mini-compound has its own open-air dining pavilion, courtyard and beach, with a staff of three. Retreat any more, and you'd be Robinson Crusoe. See photos. Here is further insight from the Amanpulo managers: What do U.S. travelers enjoy most about the Amanpulo? Amanpulo is an escape from the markings of mankind and is a dive into island life where nature has been generous and remains untouched. The island is secluded and offers a variety of sea, sand and tropical island-retreat-pleasures, in exclusive comfort and in traditionally styled accommodation. View Larger Map
This romantically remote island caters to those who wish to "hammock" and beach comb and for those who seek an active agenda, involving a myriad of maritime adventures as well as tennis, a high-tec air-conditioned gym, and taking languid lengths in the resort's 30m serene pool. The open-air Garden and Beach Salas are discreetly secluded for holistic body treatments. Which of Amanpulo's offerings best celebrates the authentic island culture?The 40 Beach, Hillside and Treetop Casitas are modeled on authentic bahay kubo dwellings, each with its own golf cart for island exploration. Bahay kubo refers to the native houses in the Philippines, constructed out of bamboo tied together, with a thatched roof using dried grass. What makes Amanpulo unique among all the world's private-island resorts? Lying between the latitudes five to twenty-one degrees north, the Philippines archipelago comprises more than 7,000 islands sprinkled across the westernmost rim of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are actually the tips of half- submerged mountain ranges, part of a great cordillera extending from Indonesia to Japan. Amanpulo is located on the private island of Pamalican, in the Cuyo group, about 360km southwest of Manila. Seven square kilometers of reef surround the island. Beyond are sandbanks and a channel where whales, dolphins and sea cows have been glimpsed. Amanpulo is reached by scheduled charter flight from Manila. Guests are met at Manila's international airport and taken by complimentary transfer to the Amanpulo lounge, located at a nearby hangar. Guests fly directly to Pamalican Island in a 19-seat, twin-engine turboprop, landing at the resort's private airstrip. Flight time is one hour. Are there any new amenities, accommodations, travel specials or other features planned for 2009? The new Lagoon club is located on the east side of the island and serves as a second beach club with Vietnamese cuisine as a specialty. The Sea Sports Hut offers a variety of water sports equipment and dive courses are available from the Dive Shop. To find out more information and book your stay, visit amanresorts.com. For more private islands, click here.