So, I guess it’s official: project #JaneyGoesTo is now on the road! Haha.
(A lil’ background: After our Sagada trip last year, I made a promise to myself that I will travel more this year. Since I can handle it physically, mentally and financially now, I vowed to visit more places in my country… and now it’s starting!)
I decided to start my year right by going to Fortune Island with my boyfriend, his sister and her friends. I’ve seen, heard, and read a lot about this place, and I thought it’s a must-visit for me.
Date: January 23-24, 2016
ROAD TO OUR FORTUNE
We all departed Manila at around 6am via a private bus, and over three hours later, we finally reached Fortune Island Resort.
From there, a 1-hour boat ride is needed to get to the island. While in the resort, you can rent lifejackets for P100 each, which can be used for the duration of the trip (e.g. cliff diving, while in the boat, etc.).
Based from experience, I strongly advise you to change into your swimming outfits before boarding a boat. Sometimes, boats can’t come closer to the shore because of big underwater rocks/tides/etc., so passengers have no choice but to walk in at least waist-deep water… which is exactly what happened to us.
(Carrying our bags to safety, bayanihan style)
Anyway, the boat ride to the island was very calm and smooth. It took quite a while before we got a glimpse of the island, but the long sailing was worth the wait. (Also, according to my companions, they saw dolphins at one point during our travel, but I missed them because I dozed off. Sad.)
When we finally reached the island, I felt nothing but amazement. I was impressed by the crystal-clear water surrounding the area, with fine, almost-white sand everywhere. Not a single trash on the beach, too— good job!
(Simply amazing!)(We’re here!)
What surprised me was the sight of an abandoned structure on an elevated part of the island. It looked like a former reception area of a resort, complete with a ticket booth/cashier, some stalls, and comfort rooms. Turns out, Fortune Island was once a luxury resort, open only to the rich and high-class. (To support this, we saw a helipad on the island… ooh) In its heyday, it had a restaurant, museum, big pool, and of course, the majestic Greek structures. According to one of the caretakers of the island, the resort opened in 1993 and closed in mid-2000s. Now, everything’s ruined and not taken care of, especially the pool, which is very, very filthy.
If I may just add: Fortune Island has caretakers, but bear in mind that there is no electricity and fresh water in the area. There are comfort rooms for your nature business, but don’t expect them to be clean. Also, the gallons of water inside the comfort rooms are not meant for washing— instead, they are used for flushing. Just thought I should put it out there: no electricity, no fresh water, no food and drinks available, so it will be best to bring your own source of these.
Anyway… after setting up our tents, some of us relaxed under a small tree by the beach, while the others prepared our super late lunch. Haha. There was a bamboo raft under the tree, which made the perfect bed for us.
(The bamboo raft I’m talking about. Perfect for catching zzz when sleep-deprived.)
By 4pm, we were finally able to eat lunch. Since I don’t know most of the people in our group, I decided to join my boyfriend (who helped cook the food) and her sister in the “kitchen,” which is, actually, just a makeshift cooking area at the back of the long table where the rest of the group are eating. I loved every bit of it— standing while eating with your bare hands. It’s the ultimate island experience. ❤
(Lunch at 4pm? Why not? Haha!)
After lunch, we decided to swim for a bit before going to the famous Greek ruins of the island. The water was very salty, but the view under it surely made up for the pain in my eyes. Lol.
(Crystal clear! Heehee hello at the pig behind me lol)
By 5:30pm, we decided to go upstairs and check out those Greek ruins. The sight was too amazing for my whole system to handle. Everything on top of that island was majestic— the view of the sea, the columns and Greek sculptures, the sunset (yep, we were just in time for it!)… it was definitely heaven on earth!
(A modern traveler’s must-have: waterproof camera with a long monopod haha)
Unfortunately, the dark caught up with us, so we had no choice but to go back to the beach side because we can’t take decent pictures anymore. After light dinner near our tents, our group had a mini sky-lantern activity. It was beautiful, but it was also a disaster, because the lanterns flew one by one and we ran out of lighters/matches. Haha. Oh well.
After that, I decided to doze off early because, well, I was very sleepy. It was also my first time to go camping and sleep inside a camping tent, so I didn’t mind resting while the others drank and played games outside. Haha.
The next day, we all woke up to a magnificent sunrise.
I love sunrises and sunsets— there’s something about the sun showing up and setting down that makes me feel nostalgic, alive, and human.
Of course, we took advantage of the beautiful sunrise by taking pictures.
After enjoying that lovely sunrise, we decided to go up the Greek ruins again for our last set of photo-ops. We were lucky because there weren’t so many people during that time, so we made the most of it and took A LOT of photos.
When it got too hot to handle, we went back to our tents, had breakfast, and took quick dips in the beach. We weren’t able to swim longer and do snorkeling because the waves were kinda intense, so we just sat by the beach and, occasionally, braved the waves… and got washed up lots of times. Haha.
By 2pm, we were ready to head home. Tents were already broken and stashed in their containers, bags were assembled, and hearts and minds were conditioned to leave the island. We boarded our boats at the back of the island (the cliff diving area) because the waves there were less intense. We had a long and hard time waiting and boarding because: 1) there were other groups before us, 2) it was scorching hot (we were burned not by swimming, but because of that), 3) some of the people before us were afraid to jump into the water to get to their boats. It wasn’t really a cliff dive— it was just a short jump, there was a makeshift ladder which shortens the length of the jump, and there were lots of boatmen helping around— but I understood their fear because I, too, was afraid to jump when it was my turn. The water was 10-15ft deep, and even though I had a lifejacket, I was still nervous. Fortunately, it didn’t take so long for me to jump. Looking back, I wish I didn’t use the ladder and just jumped into the water, cliff-dive style. Oh well… the things you miss out when you’re scared!
After getting back to the island and cleaning ourselves up, we grabbed a quick dinner at Mang Inasal and headed to the city. We reached Quezon City at around 11pm.
This itinerary has been altered to match what really happened during our trip. Haha.
0630H – ETD Jollibee Eastwood
0930H – ETA Nasugbu, buy food etc.
1030H – ETA Brgy. Bucana/Fortune Island Resort
1100H – ETD resort
1200H – ETA Fortune Island
1230H – Set up camp, cook lunch, etc.
1530H – Late lunch
1630H – Swimming, Greek ruins, etc.
1800H – Dinner, socials
0600H – Wake up call
0700H – Go back to ruins, photo-op
0800H – Breakfast
0900H – Swim, etc.
1300H – Break camp, prepare to leave
1400H – Go to cliff diving area, wait for boat
1630H – ETD Fortune Island
1730H – ETA resort, wash up
1830H – ETD resort
2300H – ETA Jollibee Eastwood
Actually, we (my boyfriend and I) were just sabit (I can’t think of an English term for this haha) in this tour, so we don’t really have a budget breakdown. But, judging from what we paid… (per person)
Coaster transfer (Eastwood-Nasugbu, vice versa) – P700
Boat transfer (Nasugbu-Fortune Island, vice versa) – P400
Entrance fee – P400
Food (lunch, dinner for Day 1 and breakfast, lunch for Day 2) – P350
WHAT TO BRING
Just a reminder of what you should bring when going to Fortune Island (or any island, really, without anything):
- Drinking water
- Tent/sleeping bag
- First aid kit
- Source of light (lamp, flashlight, etc.)
- Portable cooking materials (if you want to cook… but if not, you can just bring food that are in easy-open cans/packs)
- Insect repellent
- Snorkeling gear (the water is so clear, you’ll enjoy it underwater)
I promise to come back here… and when that time comes, I vow to cliff-dive— whatever the cost may be!
Happy blogging (and travelling!)
(Some of the photos were taken by/from the camera(s) of Jane Corral)