Location: Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines
It was really annoying then when I always see in the internet the amazing advert pictures of Fortune Island of Nasugbu since I have not personally witnessed yet its beauty. I had such hectic schedules last summer when every weekend, I either have tour or mountain scaling activities. I originally wanted to spend an overnight in the island but my schedules prevented me then to do such. Until such time that I saw the advert of a certain Rommel Biazon in the Facebook’s Climber Page offering an all-in P1,500 day tour. The actual tour was dated April 24, 2016 but booking on it requires a reservation fee of P600 which I paid as early the 1st of April.
The meet-up was 2:00 A.M. of April 24, 2016 at Jollibee Farmer’s Cubao and practically as part of this packaged tour of 13 people jam-packed in a commuter van, everybody was a total stranger and I only knew my companion in the name of Marie Jane Gumba, a close friend of mine.
As early as 4:00 A.M., we were already at Jollibee of Nasugbu. We ordered breakfast then and waited for a call from the Fortune Island Resort. We did it so early because we all wanted to have the sunrise in the island..
After 20 minutes of waiting, we headed to the said resort located along Apacible Boulevard, Brgy. Wawa, Nasugbu, Batangas. For DIY travelers, one can take a tricycle from Nasugbu Bus Station to the resort for a fare of P10. In our case, the boat was being arranged by the resort since our tour operator had booked our group through the resort. I talked to a certain Maricel and in my query from her, she told me that the roundtrip boat fare for day tour is P300 and for overnight is P400 per person.
As early as 5:00 A.M. we already boarded a boat but it was still dark. The weather was good and the sea was calm though occasionally waves would splash towards our boat and these waves didn’t diminish our excitement.
After 50 minutes of boat travel, I can see we were closer to the island. There was an unimaginable buildup of excitement which I felt then. After all, it was my first time to set foot in this famous island.
My excitement triggered more when I saw the replica ruins inspired from the Parthenon of Greece where according to the historical records, this is chief temple of the Greek goddess Athena on the hill of the Acropolis at Athens, Greece built in the mid-5th century B.C.
Finally, after 66 minutes, we landed in the island. I was so surprised that as early as 6:06 A.M., I can see many people and the mushrooming tents along the white beach front. The Parthenon-inspired ruins were crowded with people. Definitely, these people were there for an overnight stay.
The beach was just simply irresistible. It was so crystal clear and I can see the sea bed on its translucent white color. Rock formations were just stunning beautiful. People around were so nice. Maybe the beauty of the island made them feel good.
Marie Jane "Jing" V. Gumba, who is a close friend of mine and a travel buddy had a limited moment with me in the island and she most of the time hid away from the heat of the sun when in fact, she did not join our group to the ruins.
But you know what? I was so surprise because our tour operator, Rommel was really an honest-to-goodness-not-after-huge profit tour operator. He made my day, as I see that he really prepared so much food for our breakfast and lunch. Indeed, it was lavish and sumptuous.
There were “Puto”, cake, “malagkit”, grilled “liempo”, bangus (milkfish), tilapia, cold drinks and abundance of drinking water. He did all the cooking by himself and others were brought by him already cooked. We really did not consume all the food we had. It was like a fiesta. This is what I loved this tour - food!!!!
After eating and eating, I dipped in the beach. Swam a little and did twice cliff diving. Not that high, just around four meters. Well, there were no antagonists and primadona in our group. In fact, we all blended well.
Of course, it won’t be complete, I will not go to the Parthenon-inspired ruins. But come on!!! We could hardly get an unobstructed view of it because there was a huge group there holding their prenuptial shots. After a series of group pictures from formal, wacky, “pa-bebe” to jump shots, they would have the same shots in solo.
Our group stayed long at the ruins till 7:30 A.M. to have our moment for better shots but people are pouring in like a busy a mall. We could hardly get solo pictures. By that time, it was getting hot already but people seemed not to mind it as long as they can get their pictures.
After almost two hours of waiting to capture the ruins with "nobody-scenery" form, I gave up and went back to our tent down the beach front to eat again. It was so hot down there as there are no shades of trees to cover with. My only recourse is to plunge to the beach on a part where hanging cliff serve as cover. The water was somewhat cooler and refreshing.
While I was on a swim, I recalled that when our boat was approaching the island, I saw that there was a lighthouse. So, I convinced my companions to join me for a trek to the lighthouse but only three of them joined. It was a quite a long hot walk towards its jump-off point and from there we've looked for a guide but the locals were unwilling to do the job. A local kid just told us that we trail a blue nylon roof and near on its end is already the lighthouse. Fortunately, trekking up there was shady where the trail was grown with trees but it was an unfriendly one as sharp rocks might hurt your feet. After almost 30 minutes, I reached the lighthouse but I waited for another 20 minutes for my three companions. Anyway, there was nothing to see up there. There was no clearing at all. Unlike Cape Bojeador of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, this lighthouse can't be climbed.
Going back to the jump-off point, I noticed that there were some tents pitched in the area and I learned that they stayed there for an overnight. It was near the comfort room but there was no water to be used except for a dirty water coming from an abandoned pool. In fact, it was already giving a foul smell. Of course, there was no bathroom facility and the island has practically no water supply.
With no facilities to rent and enjoy in the island, guests should bring everything from cook sets, water, food, light equipments, tent, swimming gears and other necessities most especially to those who opt to spend an overnight.
There is absolutely no electricity in the island but the good thing it has network signal for Globe and Smart. So, to endless enjoy the use of digicam and cellphones, guests should equipped themselves with power bank and battery charger.
Because it was really hot everywhere in the island, the hanging cliff provided the guests an all-day long cool swim. This area can accommodate a sizable number of people.
The hanging cliff has its dual purpose as aside from giving a cover, it can also be utilized for cliff diving. Its height of around four meters may not be daring for even the beginners. In fact, it offers a good opportunity for almost everybody to give it a try for cliff diving. I for one had tried for more than ten times. After all, what's down there is a clear water with a visible white sea bed.
After having a literally sumptuous lunch of grilled "liempo" (pork's meat), relyenong bangus (milkfish) and tilapia with unlimited rice, I went back for a swim but around 2:00 P.M., our group headed back to the ruins.
Even with the searing heat of the sun, guests are still unstoppable in crowding at the ruins just to get their own vantage point. We tried our cool to wait but to no avail. All day long, this part of the island is like a fiesta. People are on its steady multiplicity.
My companions after a long wait under the scorchingly hot sun, did not bother the crowding photographers. They did their own getting the best shot through close-ups. They even brought with them a number of clothing apparels and accessories just to look gorgeous and fashionable in their pictures.
We were a total of 13 excluding Rommel Biazon, our tour operator, but only the eight of us went to brave the skin-burning heat of the sun where during the last shot, Rommel was our photographer.
We still wanted to stay in the island but we were told by our boatman that during late afternoon, waters becomes turbulent and it may be less safer. Thus, we all agreed that we leave the island at 3:30 P.M. and reached Fortune Island Resort at 4:35 P.M. where we rinsed. It is just advised that the resort can not serve numerous people in bathing as it has no enough water supply. I experienced that the shower was on and off.
But with all these, I still wanted to back to the island for an overnight. I can best enjoy the island during its glorious sunset and I might have my privacy at the ruins during sunrise and sunset.