Weeks ago, out of spontaneity, I joined an event on facebook for a weekend trip to Fortune Island. Apparently, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I didn’t know a trip with 19 other wandering spirits, all longing for an escape to satisfy their hunger for travel, will be so unforgettable.
8AM, Saturday. We took off from Buendia the backpacker way. We didn’t go for the usual soft-seat, comfortable, airconditioned bus. Rather, a hired jeepney served as our carriage to a nearby paradise. Our trip went well inspite the furiously hot weather. Gladly, the wind blowing through our open windows was sufficient to get us all on a nap. Besides, it was just a short 3-hour ride to bear.
At around 11, we had a quick stop-over at the town proper of Nasugbu to allow Kuya Mar (our host) and Kuya Bert buy some fresh meat, fruits, and other goods that will be enough to feed the whole group for two days. While waiting, some ate their snacks while others had their early lunch since there are fastfood chains like Mang Inasal, Jollibee, and McDonalds in the area. A few minutes past 12NN, we proceeded with our trip to the resort where our boat was waiting.
Everything was set and prepared ahead by Kuya Mar. So, upon arriving at the resort, a boat was already waiting to get loaded so it could leave. There were twenty of us and it seemed that a single boat will not be able to carry us pass through the waves safely. As per the boatman’s advise, half of us transferred to another boat. It was windy! Good thing, the waves were still pretty smooth to sail in general. It only took us about an hour and a half instead of the 2-hr approximate to set foot on a beauteous island.
2:30PM, we reached the island only to know that its few shaded areas were all occupied. Left with no choice, we shared a small space under a tree with another group of backpackers where we prepared our lunch. That was past 3 when our adobo was served together with a hot plate of rice. I’m telling you, Kuya Mar cooks like he has a kitchen with him. The food tasted so good! Haha!
Fortune Island. The sky was clear that day. The island was highlighted by the bright rays of sunlight. From afar, its clear, blue sea was too inviting. Immediately and without hesitations, Joanna and I took a dip. The cool and refreshing water perfectly compliments the heat that we didn’t ever want to get out. It gets a bit more rocky though as you go further from the shore. I recommend bringing a pair of aqua shoes if you don’t like the texture of slimy rocks on your feet. Nonetheless, it’s very swimmable! I personally found its depth the most suitable for a pleasant swim. On the other note, its sand has its own beauty. I like how there are corals and rocks of different sizes scattered all over, they add up to the feels of it being an untouched and isolated island. In some parts of the beach, the sand is fine and powdery and it feels really good on the feet! For sure, Fortune Island’s combination of white sand and clear water makes it a must-go destination for beach freaks!
After plunging into water, we walked around the beach. From its rocky shorelines, wrecked huts, an empty pool, and finally up to the signature area which the island takes pride of; the greek columns that resembles the Parthenon. Indeed, this trip to Fortune Island’s not complete without climbing up a number of steps to reach the “greece-like” ruins. The way up there was pretty tiring especially when the sun is scorching. But here’s for sure, it’s so much worth it!
The view from above left me in awe; a mixture of fear and wonder. Being too up high without a fence or any form of barrier made me weak on my knees yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful scenery below me. It’s something I don’t think I could accurately describe through words and pictures alone. A panoramic sight that will haunt me forever because of its remarkable beauty.
The day was almost over but the island’s showcase of amazing scenery wasn’t done yet. The stunning gradience on the heavens during the sunset is absolutely picturesque!
7PM. Wandering around the whole afternoon made us tired and hungy, so Jo and I went back to camp. Luckily, another delicious meal prepared by Kuya Mar was waiting for us. He’s the man! He takes “camping-food” to a higher level. Haha!
9PM. After a long day, taking a shower was pretty needed. However, since the island has been untouched for years, all the facilities that were built before are all destroyed by nature. There are no shower rooms, electricity, and not even a source of freshwater. Oddly, we just opted to using salt water in showering than not taking a bath at all. It isn’t as bad as I thought it was though. Trust me, I felt clean.
10PM. Thousands of stars were present on that dark but still humid night when we headed near the shore for a short social gathering. What could be more seemly than to light a bonfire by the shore and get to know the people you are spending the weekend with. I was a bit shy at first but I eventually found myself carelessly laughing at their stories. Those people were inspiring! It’s just so unfortunate that out of nowhere droplets of rain started to fall over. Probably a sign to take some rest?
6AM. A morning in Isla Fortuna! Most campers were up early, the shores were alive with people already enjoying the refreshing sea water, and the mood of the island in totality was enticing. Our breakfast was tuyo, hotsilog, and coffee which just added up to the already delightful morning.
7:30AM. A short rest after a tasty breakfast, we went off our camps for an adrenaline-raising activity. Actually, my initial reason for wanting to visit Fortune Island was cliff diving so I was very thrilled when I knew that it’s one of the things we’ll do. Besides, I won’t let the trip end without me trying to jump off a cliff. The lower cliff was about 10ft, it was to let me know the feeling of a sudden drop into immense depth of water. No hesitations, the 10-ft was pretty easy. Well, that was just a warm-up. Thrice the height, I went for the 30-ft dive. On this point, staring down made my knees shake. I honestly thought I gathered enough courage but all of my inner preparation seemed to be useless. It was scary as hell! It took me a long while to put myself back together while I was standing on the edge. I could already even hear my friends cheering me from below. Frightened and nervous, I counted to three on my mind. Suddenly, my feet were on air, eyes closed, and arms pointing upward. All I really needed was a split second of bravery to take a leap and in a snap, I was in the water…alive. Whew! That experience will absolutely be with me forever! Cliff diving, checked!
Getting ready for my third dive with Kuya Mar. Yup, THIRD dive! Haha! I actually got a little more used to it. But still, it’s a nerve wrecking situtation to be on that edge.
9AM. It’s a good day to swim! The tide went up so the rocky area moved a bit further from the shoreline, plus the water is cold. Ate Yssa and I swam a few meters more to snorkel but as soon as we got to the part where there were colorful fishes, I felt plenty of small stings all over my neck and shoulder. Quickly did we realize that there were jellyfishes swimming with us! It was a funny moment though, we were both racing back to the shore. Haha!
Our remaining few hours were spent mostly on swimming, snorkeling, and taking pictures. As cliche as it is, time really runs fast when you enjoy.
10:30, we started clearing our camps and packing our bags. The boat fetched us few minutes past 11 and half heartedly, we left the island. Saying goodbye to Fortune Island wasn’t easy. Sigh
Definitely one of those weekends I wish never had to end. The sand, the water, the people, & the memories.. so much memories. My weekend in Fortune Island was an escape filled with stories of beauty and amazement, packed with exciting experiences, and full of unforgettable moments. Thanks to this awesome group of travellers for making this long awaited journey possible. Till we meet again!
- 1800php, all-in expense overnight trip which includes:
- Round trip transportation Manila-Nasugbu-Manila
- Round trip boat transfer
- Meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast)
- Entrance fee