Disclaimer: Everything stated on this post is based on pure first-hand experience. I don’t usually sugarcoat mishaps just to make the travel story blog-worthy. If ever I have offended some people for merely sharing my experience, I sincerely apologize in advance.
How fortunate can you be at Fortune Island? That’s the question. It was a random chat with my college friends when we decided to visit Fortune Island. This picturesque island is located an hour away via pump boat from the town proper of Nasugbu in Batangas. Our experience was indeed one of a kind, 50% in a nice way, 50% hmmm… if you’re planning to go to Fortune Island, please come prepared.
So to start, my small group agreed to meet up at Mc Donald’s by the bus station located at the foot of MRT Taft Station. We had concrete plans about this trip and we knew that we were in for a challenge since we decided to go for the DIY island tour. Why DIY? Because as per our computation, it would only cost us less than Php 1,500 all-in, including our food and fare. So we headed to Nasugbu, Batangas on a night trip to avoid traffic as we were targeting to be at the island by sunrise. It was a 3 hour bus-ride from Manila (it’s usually 4 hours, but apparently the bus driver seemed like he was about to make the bus fly in no time). We arrived at Nasugbu at around 1:00 AM, stopped by 7-11 to buy water and rode a tricycle to Fortune Island Resort, the main set-off point. It was the only resort in the town proper that offers “accommodation” and boat transfers to the island. By accommodation, it means tents. For some reason, we agreed to stay for a night at this resort since we wanted to maximize everything, from budget to time. However, our first mishap came way too early. The person in-charge was not in the resort and she failed to book a tent for us despite the fact that we’ve been communicating with her several days before our day of arrival. No one in the resort seemed to be knowledgeable about the situation and we ended up sleeping on the sand beside the beach without a tent. Yes! We camped out in open air. Thankfully, it did not rain and we were able to take naps, though it did not go as initially planned. This was definitely not the camping experience that we had in mind.
We waited several hours in the dark and though it was an uncomfortable sight, we just decided to let it go and take some rest since tomorrow is another day. We were chit- chatting, laughing, ranting, and slowly we were eventually drowsing to sleep one by one with the sound of the beach waves rolling by the shore beside us and the stars beaming brightly above us. That was about 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. We woke up on the sands with some eyes glued on us. Hahaha. Some of the day-trippers have already arrived at the resort. We instantly got up, packed our stuff, and got changed. So here goes mishap number 2. The restrooms were a riot. No water, no doors, no whatsoever and it looked like it hasn’t been cleaned for the past couple of days. The stink went straight to our lungs and we had to endure it for quite a few minutes. There was one toilet inside the ladies’ room with a door that shuts close, but with a huge panel board that covers almost one fourth of the door. The door had a huge opening towards the floor, something like a mini-doggie-door, except that it wasn’t. On-lookers could instantly see you in the toilet if it wasn’t for that panel board hanging in there. We couldn’t imagine taking a shower in there. We managed to get changed and continuously consoled ourselves with what’s gonna happen ahead. We were in for a joy ride!
The port was a 5-minute tricycle ride. It was 6:00 AM that time and we were so doped to be leaving before 7:00 AM. However, mishap number 3 and 4 happened. Aside from the fact that we were supposed to be leaving already since we thought it was a private boat (that’s what we paid for), we waited for a group of 14 people who were taking their precious time and it almost took them 45 minutes before they were finally complete. That was not the end of it. Special mention to my friend Cam, who suddenly had the urge to ask a fellow backpacker about their boat and island fees. He told us that they paid for P300 only per head while we paid for P3,500 for our small group. This was when my “patience fuse” went off. I instantly called the resort’s manager. God knows what happened, but to cut it short, we got a refund and we paid for the right price. (Dear Manager of Fortune Island Resort, kagabi ka pa. Wala na ngang tent, natulog na nga kami sa buhangin, naghihintay pa kami ng kasama sa bangka. Anong oras na? Over pricing ka pa.)
Just as we thought that 4 mishaps overnight were really overwhelming (and it was starting to ruin our trip), mishap number 5 came rushing to us. As we set foot on Fortune Island, we told our boatman to pick us at 2:00 PM and that we won’t be waiting for anyone. We decided to find our way to our tent. You have to look for the caretakers, since there won’t be anyone assisting you there. The sun was up already, and no it wasn’t a friendly sunrise. It was scorching heat as early as 7:30 AM! :/
We ended up rushing everything, from grilling, preparing our food, walking by the island, visiting the pillars. We just wanted to get it over with. Sorry, but that was exactly how we felt at that moment. The view was spectacular, no debates, but the island was too jam-packed with so many travelers. Tents were pitched all over. Garbage were everywhere, I even saw some garbage bags hanging on the trees. No decent rest rooms and wash rooms were in site. No water to wash hands or shower (the beach was too far from where our tent was pitched since it was the only possible place to hide from the scorching heat and it was the only available space that time). The island was no longer virgin and relaxing. I wish I didn’t have to type this, but my conscience can no longer take the mere sight of the poor island. My heart aches for it. It was talking to me, crying for help (that was my wanderer soul narrating). It seemed to be abused. I heard stories from fellow travelers who were able to see the island’s beauty before it was damaged, how the island looked like before the budget tours. They said, it was a perfect camp site, and they wished that the island would undergo healing. Likewise, that was what we thought. The island needs to recover. The sad part is that I can only write down what I have experienced, not what I have only heard from fellow backpackers.
The island is steep. It’s not your usual flat terrain covered in white sands. Nope! It’s a rocky slope facing the sun. Our tent was placed all the way up, which made the sea waters far from our reach. It made washing our hands and utensils very difficult for us. We had to hike up and down to fetch some water. Thankfully, there were trees on the island which provided our shade from the hurtful rays of the sun. Again, it was strangely hotter than any place I’ve been and just thinking about it and typing this blog made me touch my shoulders which took some time healing from the sunburn (I applied sunscreen, but it did not seem to work).
My friends and I just decided to make the most out of our stay. We really felt like we were starring in an episode of “Survivor”. Haha. To lighten up our moods, we explored half of the island and took photos instead. It was a breathtaking view from the very popular Grecian pillars. It really gave that “Greece-vibe”. It’s a bit of a hike up the pillars, but a stony flight of steps serves as a trail. Cliff-diving is an amusement there, but then again, you have to be careful with the rocky edges of the cliff.
After a short tour, we could no longer take the heat. We had to head down the beach and cool ourselves. It’s not your usual powdery white sands, as the sea floor is covered with dried corals and shells at some part of the beach. The water is kind of deep, compared to other beaches where you can actually walk freely by the waters. This one is rocky, so I have to reiterate to be careful all the time especially when cliff diving. The sea cooled us down for a moment and we just enjoyed everything with what’s left of the island.
You might all want to ask, so where did we take our shower? As there are no shower rooms and water in the island, we hopped to another resort as soon as we reached the town proper. We used our refund from Fortune Island Resort and took our most deserved baths at John Del Resort which was walking-distance from Fortune Island Resort. Though, Fortune Island Resort is the main drop-off point, you can always book at other resorts nearby. (RESORT CHOICES AND BOOKING LINK AT THE END OF THIS POST.) It made us all wonder, why don’t they maintain the island? What’s the P300 environmental island fee for anyway? Or even if they can not completely maintain the island, they could just upgrade and maintain the resort, right? That way, we wouldn’t have to go and seek refuge from other resorts nearby. Those were just a few of our thoughts that time.
So to sum it all up, here’s a complete DIY GUIDE to anyone who seeks for challenge and brave enough to visit Fortune Island.
- If you plan to go overnight, bring your tent and mats. You can rent a tent for P500 upon reaching the island. If you don’t plan on camping, try to book on cheap accommodations aside from Fortune Island Resort. (You can book discounted accommodations here on my blog.)
- Bring enough food and lots of water with you (both drinking and for washing). It’s best if you buy ice, place it in a cooler, and bring it to the island (this saved us from overheating).
- Bring your own cooking utensils and grill (unless you are traveling on a tour which offers free meals).
- The island has no electricity and water.
- It’s best to travel before sunrise as waves tend to be bigger at noon.
- The island is facing the sun. Bring whatever that can cool you down.
- If you plan to go for a day tour, travel early.
- Be responsible travelers. Please do not leave your trash on the island especially on the waters and shore. Clean As You Go.
- Travel light. You will be bringing your backpacks with you to the island. You can’t leave your stuff at Fortune Island Resort. You don’t really want to be bringing heavy bags and hike all the way up to your tent.
- Enjoy and have fun! As the island needs healing and recovery, let us all think first before we visit the island. It is best to join clean-up drives if you want to enjoy the island and help with its recovery at the same time. 🙂
Sample DIY Itinerary:
- 9:00 PM Meet Up at Mc Donald’s MRT Taft Bus Station, South Bound
- 12 MN-1:00 AM ETA, Nasugbu, Batangas
- Pitch Tent and Wake-Up at 4:30 AM
- 5:00 AM Buy things to bring at 7-11, like ice, sodas, snacks
- 6:00 AM ETD via Boat to Fortune Island
- 7:00 AM ETA Fortune Island
- 3:00 PM Back to Nasugbu Town Proper, shower and prepare for trip back to Manila
- 4:00 PM ETD to Manila
- 8:00 PM ETA Manila
*Note: You may go as early as 3:00 AM (first trip to Nasugbu, Batangas), if you are planning to go on a day tour.
Budget Guide to Fortune Island Day Tour:
- Bus – P310/head (2-way)
- Tricycle to Fortune Island Resort – P15/head
- Tricycle to Marina Port – P15/head
- Tricycle to John Del Resort – P15/head
- Tricycle to 7-11 – P15/head
- Boat – P300/head
- Island Entrance Fee – P300/head
- Food – P150/head
- Tent – P500 (for a group of 7 pax, P72/head)
- Shower and Table at John Del Resort – P143/head
TOTAL: P1,335 FORTUNE ISLAND ALL-IN
Discounted Batangas Accommodations Here: Travel Book Ph: BATANGAS CHEAP ACCOMMODATIONS