Finding great places to get away from Manila for a couple of days, without having to take a plane, has become a little hobby of mine. After a week spent running around the concrete buildings of Makati, I just wanted to shut down, be surrounded by nothing but trees and sand and feel like a backpacker on a gap year for a moment.
Amongst the numerous resorts of Puerto Galera, I am confident to have found any backpacker’s dream at the Amami Beach Resort. Why?
5. The journey there
After the two-hour car ride to Batangas port, I got on a wooden boat that took us directly to Muelle. You have a choice of either getting to White Beach or Muelle, the latter being closest to Amami. What surrounds you, besides the sea of course, is the sight on the horizon of untouched nature.
4. The atmosphere
If The Beach with Leonardo Di Caprio had been set in the Philippines, some scenes would have been shot at the Amami resort. I arrived at around 7pm and the sky was already getting dark. Between the wooden cottages, some candlelights were sparkling from the restaurant, right next to a hammock I was going to make use of in the morning and a punch bag. A couple of tourists were getting to know each other over a beer and I had completely forgotten the mess of the city I was in earlier in the day. “Amami” is Italian for “love me” and I must say, I ended my trip doing just that.
3. The stories
The people you meet and the stories they share are what make traveling truly special. And if you find someone who knows how to tell a story, you’re in real luck. The owner of the resort is a lovely lady named Martez (or Maria Teresa), who has just recently returned to the Philippines after 35 years in Milan, Italy. I will not spoil you the story, partly because it would deserve a post of its own and partly because she does a much better job in telling the story than me. All I can say is I was completely fascinated by her background and I was sold on her dream to create this beautiful and relaxing place to remind people of what life is really about.
2. The food
Although I like to think I can be adventurous when I want to, I must say I am not the most open to experiment when it comes to food. I blame it on the snobby taste buds I inherited from Italy. Amami’s restaurant is renowned on the coast for its fresh ingredients and impeccable cooking. It certainly helps that the owner lived in Milan for over 35 years, influencing the dishes with healthy Mediterranean flavours.
- The bread is handmade
- The coffee is imported from Italy
- The drinks are not packed with sugar
- But the cocktails are packed with “good stuff” (try the Avocado Margarita!)
- They have handmade pizza night on Saturdays!
My recommendation: fish of the day with sides of potatoes and a nice bottle of Falanghina
1. The adventure
An interesting and unexpected sight came at night, when about 20 fishermen came close to the shore with their boats to catch little sardines. It was a mesmerizing scenery as the lights of the wooden boats illuminated the coast up and down the shore just three meters from the resort.
The island is of course known for its diving and, from the Amami resort, you can easily find people willing to take you to the coral garden (about 30 minutes away by boat) where you can try your luck spotting a sea turtle like we did. They make you get on a smaller boat once you get there and it drags you around while you snorkel which is fun. Tip: bring some bread with you for the fish! Or even try a raw sea urchin if you have what it takes!