Last year, we put a 26-year-old filmmaker in a tent on our largest beach with his camera gear, a map of Isla Palenque, and a generator-run fridge to keep his rum cold, and gave him 30 days to capture Isla Palenque’s 400 acres, 5 ecosystems, wildlife, natural wonders, and most importantly — its spirit.
From the moment you approach Isla Palenque’s craggy north coast, it becomes clear that this island, unchanged by time and untouched by man, has undeniable power, ancient secrets and a mind of its own – unlike anyplace you’ve encountered before.
Mike Corey, our 2012 Island Intern, was challenged to capture the elusive essence of Isla Palenque, and his definitive video is a brilliant ensemble of contrast and texture – it utterly explodes with life. Underscored by Mike’s honest insight into the explorer’s journey, this film of Isla Palenque will make you want to slam your computer shut and run out into the sunshine.
It’s not your standard hotel marketing video consisting of gleaming silverware and hired talent enjoying cocktails by the pool.
Completed just before we opened our first 6-rooms at Isla Palenque in February 2013, this film stands as a legacy to the spirit of adventure that we hope that every visitor to the island experiences at some point during their stay. Unlike many destination pieces or resort promotional films, we wanted Isla Palenque’s namesake video to capture our most treasured asset – the island itself.
Since Founder and President Ben Loomis first stepped foot on Isla Palenque in 2007, and for as far as we can imagine into the future, the low-impact development style and sustainable mission of Amble Resorts will preserve the island as a wilderness paradise. A place where you can always disconnect from civilization and live out a desert island fantasy – where life is as simple as waking up with the sun, a good hike, learning something new, spending time with the ones that you love, and relishing in the beauty of it all when the sun sinks towards the horizon in a glow of fiery colors each evening.
The video grows in this way – from sunrise to sunset – those quiet moments drenched in soul-settling beauty that reset our internal clocks to “island time” each day. Once you are here, you feel more capable, more sensical, more sensual, more ambitious – enlived. Each day is so full of potential, of surprises, new discoveries always waiting just around the next bend.
Mike was the perfect person to aid us in capturing the island. From the moment we met him at the international airport in Panama City, to the first time we pulled up to Isla Palenque and he took off running down the beach – it was clear that Mike approaches the world with open arms (and bare feet).
His brave ambition and boyish curiosity were a perfect mix for the dark unknowns of the jungle and archetypal beauty of Isla Palenque’s coast.
There were many times during the filming process where I was certain that Isla Palenque would be where we laid Mike to rest, as he went leaping into stormy waters between jagged cliffs to reach the hidden cave, or I’d catch a glimpse of him high up in a tree or running madly through the jungle with his glide cam, eyes on the screen of his camera and NOT his feet, or the time when high tide stranded him high up on a bluff for the better part of a day. But a bold production takes intrepid choices, and Mike wasn’t afraid to make them – and let’s face it, when you have a private island to explore, trial and error is often times quite fun.
Each night of his stay, as I finished up the days work, I’d get nervous waiting for Mike to appear out of the jungle path to Playa Palenque — machete in one hand, camera in the other — covered in dirt and smiling ear to ear. Around the bonfire with the development team, he would spill stories about what he saw that day and ideas for shots for the next day, while his camera continued to glow on the beach in front of us, systematically time lapsing the sun set.
In much the same way, although they stay in much nicer accommodations than our Island Intern’s tent, Isla Palenque’s guests gather at Eden each evening for dinner – spilling with childlike joy over the monkeys, the blow hole, the bat cave, or one of the many natural wonders that we are privileged to witness as the explorers of this very special place.
There’s a lot to love on 400 acres of pristine wilderness, and Mike Corey did a phenomenal job of bringing it to life in his feature video, Isla Palenque.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Mike Corey, winner of our 2012 Island Intern contest, grew up playing in the tide pools of his native Frederickton, Canada, and after graduating with a marine biology degree, set off around the world with a mission to capture every beautiful species he could find, camera in hand. We knew that this snake-loving, break-dancing, self-taught videographer thrives on challenges – so we gave him a huge one – capture Isla Palenque’s spirit, and the result is captured in a travel video series on The Ambler. Keep up with Mike’s current adventures on his website, Kickthegrind.com.