Looking at the picture, are you thinking of Greece?
We didn’t fly that far to take this photo, just eight miles from the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas lies Fortune island- a 27-hectare property by former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste.
They shut down the island in 2006, 11 years since it began operations. Some say they closed it when Legarda and Leviste separated, that may be true but the real reason behind it remains a mystery. Now the island is being rented by a Korean businessman and is open for public.
What to expect
As we get closer at Fortune Island, dilapidated structures of a once-exclusive island make us imagine how grand life in this side was. From cabanas to pavilions to swimming pool and helipad, luxurious! They are even using a desalination system for fresh water when the island is still in operation.
Nine years of being abandoned and as expected no repairs or any construction on going. Some huts are really dirty and foul, thanks to individuals who are responsible enough to leave their trashes anywhere, one caretaker cannot clean them all.
According to our boatman, a monsoon devastated the island, wrecking the shipwrecked replica and leaving the pavilion and most cabanas without a roof.
What to do
Beside it being abandoned, fortune island still has its own appeal and that being one of it.
Swimming and snorkeling – Fine white sand, clear blue waters and rich marine life, the sea is still good as it is before except for the trash that is scattered in the waters. The best swimming area is near the mini cliff diving spot where there are less rocks, more sand and a shade to hide you from the sun.
Cliff diving – Fortune island caters different cliff diving spots that vary in altitude.
Trek to the Lighthouse – the trail to lighthouse is now covered with bushes so we didn’t try going up.
Photoshoot – bring a costume and pose like a Greek god or goddess.
How to get there
Via public transport
Buses in Pasay like DLTB and San Agustin leaves Manila for Nasugbu, Batangas in every 30 minutes starting at 3 am. San Agustin Cubao terminal has trips to Palico-Nasugbu junction starting at 3 am, from Palico one should ride another bus to Nasugbu.
Another option is to take a van from Pasay going to Calatagan and get down at Palico.
Via private vehicles
The most popular and convenient way to Nasugbu by car is through Cavitex or SLEX. Our chosen route is via SLEX exiting at Sta. Rosa and passing Tagaytay-Nasugbu highway.
For boat transfers contact:
Mang Erning – 09217676316
Mang Dante – 09394895292
Mang Joel – 09361276462/09186962488
(Update) Mang Joel offers their boat for as low as 3000 pesos, just tell him you got his contact number from me or from Kuya Bonnie to assume special treatment. 🙂
My recommendation is Mang Erning, he owns the boat so the prices are lower, 4000 for day tour or overnight and additional 500 for extra passengers. He is very accommodating that we were able to haggle our rentals from 3500 to 3000 good for five (yeah only five).
Mang Dante offers boat rentals for 4000- day tour and 5500-overnight for 12 pax.
They also have big boats which can accommodate 20 persons for 7000 and 30 persons that ranges from 10k to 11k. Their rates are standard but you can haggle especially on weekdays and off-peak.
One will have to pay a landing fee of 300 for day tour and 400 for overnight at Fortune Island Office before boarding the boat.
There’s no freshwater source in the island so bring enough water for rinsing and cooking.
There’s no comfort rooms available. No electricity, so bring extra batteries and powerbank.
No accommodations, so bring your own tent or sleeping bag.
It is better to go in and out the island at an early time when the sea is calmer. Best months to go is from March to June.
To lessen your baggage some locals offer rentals for cookwares, coolers and ice, and water containers for 600. You just have to contact your boatman/agent prior to your trip.
Parking is available in fortune island office which can accommodate roughly 20 cars.
Fortune island office has shower rooms and comfort rooms.
There’s a sari sari store in the island but with limited items.
Beware of unaccredited boat agents, according to a source, some offers cheap boat rentals to tourists but for one-way and issues fake gate pass. Be sure to register at fortune island office.
The best way to end every tour is fulfilling one’s stomach.
If you are passing Tagaytay, never miss to try out a bunch of restaurants for another gastronomic adventure.
Since we are so hungry, we settled for the nearest decent-looking restaurant with Taal lake as backdrop, M&M Bulalohan.
What to order
We know Tagaytay is Bulalo capital in the Ph so it will always be on top of our list.
Deep fried tawilis – crunchy tawilis from head to tail, nothing will be left for sure.
Lechon kawali – the all time favorite, though the serving is good for one person only for 150.
02:30 am Meet up at San Agustin Bus Cubao Terminal
03:00 am ETD Cubao to Palico-Nasugbu Intersection
07:00 am Buy supplies at the market/buy packed lunch/breakfast
08:00 am Boat to Fortune Island
09:00 am ETA Fortune Island
12:00 nn *eat packed lunch*
05:00 pm prepare dinner
06:00 pm dinner *bonfire/socials*
09:00 pm lights out
06:00 am wake up call
07:00 am prepare breakfast
08:00 am breakfast *free time*
10:30 am pack up, ETD Fortune Island
12:00 nn wash up on mainland
01:00 pm foodtrip at Tagaytay/buy pasalubong
03:00 pm ETD Tagaytay
06:00 pm ETA Manila/Home Sweet Home
Structures at the island may be dilapidated, dirty and foul but the beauty of nature is something that we look forward on seeing again. We will surely be back to try cliff diving, tara? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or like us on facebook.com/kahitsaantg to avail our Fortune Island tour or join our group.