Fortune Island : Uncovering the Mysteries

by 6:49 AM 0 comments

Greeks have a highly evolved culture which continue to play a big influence in our modern society today and it has been immortalized through their architecture. This is where Fortune Island have taken its inspiration and add in a breath taking tropical location produced an alluring island that is both pleasing for the eyes and soul. The story of its creation is a fascinating story full of unexpected outcome and eerie back-stories. The island now serves as a haven for those weary of the stressful life in the big city and to those seeking some peace of mind. It is conveniently located 8.7 miles off the coast off the town of Nasugbu and measures 27 hectares. What others didn't know is there are mysteries hidden deep within the island that time cleverly concealed. I was troubled with a conundrum of my own on why the resort was closed down. Let me take you on a journey in shedding light of this enigma.



My first ever exposure of this island is from my favorite documentary on TV - iWitness. I was fascinated of the story of how they come up with such superb concept and the huge cost of constructing it and then out of sudden they just abandon the resort to rot for reasons that is ambiguous for me. An opportunity to visit this haven has come knocking and I knew soon it will all be clear. 

I did a little research before starting on this trip and was amaze of how many facts & stories I still haven't heard about. For starters, the island is filled with Grecian architecture from the signature pillars of Parthenon to the sculptures of ancients gods and mythical creatures. There is a beautiful replica of San Diego as well, a Spanish warship that sunk off the island. When the resort still stand it serves as museum for the artifacts recovered from the real warship. 

The waters around this island have been known for being violent and famed devourer of ships. The first victim in recorded history is the galleon San Diego around 1600's. A ship ( MV Kimelody Cristy ) on the way to Mindoro sank around the island on December 13, 1995 killing 17 people and misplaced 16 others. And the most recent casualty is the MV Princess of the Orient on September 18, 1998 which sailed amidst the forecast of a typhoon killing 70 people. Locals been known to have spotted the ghosts of these deceased people roaming the island on a moonless night and there is one woman famous to reveal herself on some unwary tourists. All of these stories have taken its toll on my excitement hoping it could answer that question I have.

It was the first day of the weekend that I will have that opportunity to visit the island and I woke up in another person's bed thousand of miles away from home. I got only an hour of sleep from a fun night of catching with a good friend who lives near the city. I was supposed to meet a lot of friends but sadly they have more pressing matters to attend to and my time in the city is limited. We lost track of time catching up that I forgot that I still need to sleep. We got out of the house and is welcomed with curious stares from the drunk people on the street of the sleepless city of Makati. Petron Megaplaza is the meeting place for the rest of the group at around 4am and we got there on time but sadly the others were late.

We left the city late from the expected time of departure and it is going to take around 4 hours of drive to get to Nasugbu. We passed through Laguna, SLEX, Tagaytay and it feels like forever. I loathe long travel like this on a congested van and I remember I have taken this exact route almost a year ago going to Zambales. 




We arrived on a beach resort in the coast of Batangas where the small boats going to Fortune Island are waiting. I wasn't impressed at all of the coastline in Batangas and felt thankful that my home province is so richly gifted with beautiful shores. At the back of my mind I was hoping that the island won't be like this. I found a peaceful spot by the hammock and took a short nap while we wait for our boatman. 



After almost an hour, we were fetched by a worn out boat which appears to have been running for a very long time. Since I've visited Kalanggaman Island recently I couldn't help comparing the service of the two. Undoubtedly, the one in Nasugbu is the inferior one and the boatman lacks training about safety precautions because they didn't even bother snuggling us with life vests given they know how bumpy the ride going to the island. As expected, when we got close we were welcomed with a violent sea trying drag down our boat with wave after wave. Good thing the weather is in a good mood and we traveled in the morning when the sea is supposed to be calm though the seawater still manage left all of us damped.



Naturally, the first thing that caught my eyes when the island appeared in the endless horizon are the pillars which resembles Parthenon standing proudly near the edge of a rocky cliff. A sense of relief filled my heart upon the seeing the stunning shoreline in a distance. One thing that is missing from my line of sight is the replica of San Diego galleon knowing its size it would be hard to conceal it from anything in the island.

The boat docked in a not so calm coast and it is rocking more intensely this time. Surprisingly, the boatman refuses to dock completely in the shore because it is not easy for them sail again once it docked completely and they expect us to jump in a waist deep water with all our bags. It always comes down to prioritizing the needs of your customers and in my years of travel this is a first time for a boatman so inconsiderate. Usually, they always prepare a wooden platform for circumstances such as this to avoid guests from getting drenched in seawater. I don't want to stereotype but I mostly encounter such lewdness in Luzon. We are left with no choice in this scenario.



The irritation has subsided greatly once my feet touches the divinely soft sands of the island. The quality of the sand is as good as the top beaches in the Philippines and it is like stepping into a cornstarch. The torment cause by the heat of a midday sun didn't seem to bother much anymore once you are in such superb experience. Unlike in Kalanggaman Island, the quality of the sand here has a powdery nature on it which doesn't have a lot of seashells. Thus, it is perfect for walking barefoot. 



Eventually, I decided to start walking into the shade below the rocky cliff when the heat of the midday sun started to seem so unbearable. I couldn't help admire the pillars standing proud on the cliff and the people swarming them holding all sorts of gadgets to take photo of them ranging from smartphones, DSLRs & point and shoots and GoPros. On the other side I see people setting their tents everywhere. The realization hit me that I will be sharing this island with such a huge crowd and this getaway will be far from solitary.



As I come closer to the camping area the real number of the crowd started to unveil itself. It feels like a whole block in the city moved to this island and everyone are challenged to find their own spot to setup their temporary shelter for the weekend. The crowd started to grow after lunchtime as more people moving in to this island. There's a benefit to this for the cowards who cannot tolerate the spirits residing in the island most especially when darkness falls.


The moment we are done setting up everything my feet are starting to feel the itch to explore the place near our campsite. What awaits me on the start of my exploration is something really eerie that caught me off guard. A curious white monument has captured my attention and without second thought I probe the peculiar structure. It looks ordinary design in a distance but once I got closer I noticed it is actually a tomb in some way. 



Inside it is a skeletal remains of what looks like an animal only when I got really close that I noticed the human skull. There is an inscription that has faded in time and barely readable. Later on the day I found out that it was discovered when they are building the resort. Some guide said that it is a she brutally raped and murdered by Japanese soldiers during World War 2. Whatever the story behind I think it is wrong to display it like that in the open. It should have been given a proper burial.




Naturally, I explored even more and determined to find out where is that Spanish galleon replica. Knowing its size it wouldn't be that hard to spot. I continue my search and eventually strayed even further away from the group. 





Suddenly, a conspicuous rubble has caught my curious eyes. It was slowly eaten away by the sand dunes and it is hard to make out its shape. Only when I got really close that I noticed the details and was disappointed to discover it was all that remained of the once majestic warship. I stood there for awhile trying to admire it in some way. Time will eventually do what it does best and all man made structures will be its easy prey. Soon nature reclaim this island once again and hid away traces of our interference.



My wayfaring spirit revealed to me abandoned swimming pool, numerous crumbling cottages, a barely recognizable helipad and a once glorious lobby wasting away. The crowd prefers camping around these area and it was an interesting sight for me to see those ruins brimming with life because of those visitors. You can easily tell if you are in my shoes that it was an ambitious plan and it cost them huge sum of money converting this island to a resort. I was reminded once again of my question why would they abandon it.







Almost a hundred steps are what it takes to reach the cliff where the signature pillars are located. Supposedly, this was my last stop for the day before going back to the group. It looks even more like Parthenon when you are close and I don't know why they call it the Santorini of Batangas when it barely resembles it.



I was put off by the crowd that is amassing the area where the famous pillars stand tall. I decided to leave it alone for now and continue the exploration. I took more steps in the opposite direction where the lone Venus sculpture is facing the sea. I spotted another man-made stair going down and out of impulse I explored this secret spot not knowing what awaits me there.



Surprisingly, I was glad to take extra effort in exploring that spot because a beautiful rock formation which look a lot like an entrance of a cave. This is by far the best spot in the island to do cliff diving with some buddies and it can get a little dangerous with the strong current but that hint of danger only adds up excitement to it more. There is even a rope tied up to the rock to help ease the climb.



The bonfire at night liven the experience and my favorite part is when the group turns to a Midnight Society sharing ghost stories. It was fun at first when everyone is game in sharing but it became too much when the eerie atmosphere started to manifest the cowardice in everyone's heart. The eldest in the group took stand and end the gathering for the night. Fortunately, I sleep soundly in the tent and I feel no supernatural manifestation.


I tried waking up early to catch a glimpse of the sunrise and when I arrive in the pillars again it was crowded as always. The only time I get to have it all to myself during late in the morning when the sun is high up in the sky. Most of the people by this time left the island already. 



Inherently, I spend most of my time in the morning in my secret sanctuary when others are busy swimming and cliff diving. In that moment I commune with nature. It was such a beautiful feeling when I close my eyes I feel the soft sands on my feet, the relaxing breeze on my skin and the harmonious sound of the waves crashing in the shore.     





The biggest hurdle of that experience was saved near the end of the trip when our boat was mysteriously stolen by another group. It was so frustrating because it took them nearly three hours to decide that they will send us another boat. We almost missed our flight because of that super slow response. It tainted the almost perfect experience and they can never gain my trust again that they are capable of facilitating a good service. 

Finally, I got my answer to my query through a caretaker in the island. As much as I want to it was never about the ghost that is haunting the island nor about the government restriction of making it a wildlife sanctuary. It was simply about the lack of a good source of fresh water. What we take for granted everyday is actually very vital in sustaining a livable community. They tried digging in many parts of the island but found none.

The resort's target audience is the rich and powerful politicians and celebrities. They made a statement of making it an exclusive luxurious getaway for that small denomination of our society. They can never offer the promise of luxury when they have no fresh water to sustain the guests and that I think is the reason of their downfall. Time has passed when a unique and budget friendly experience sprout from that undoing.


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Fortune Island is a wonderful testament that every bad things that come to our life has a reason and eventually you will see the good from it. You can never stop the difficulties in this life and the best thing we can do is to never lose hope and faith that everything will work out in the end. We are here in this imperfect world to be tested and the mistakes of our past can be our most eminent quality if we embrace its lessons and let it improve our lives. As of this day, the most alluring attribute of Fortune island are the ruins left by her past. People revere that side of her and keep coming back to experience her broken beauty.




PROS


  • Complete nature retreat.
  • Beautiful Grecian ruins & architecture.
  • Soft powdery quality of sands.

CONS

  • Lack of freshwater, comfort rooms, electricity.
  • Badly managed transportation system.
  • Dangerous water.
  • Rocky coastline.
  • Broken glasses ( that might injure your feet ) and garbage are everywhere.
  •  Extreme heat is prevalent with nothing cool you down.

How to get there? 


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:

Public Buses going to Nasugbu Batangas ( daily )
  • BSC Bus Line (EDSA/MRT Taft)
  • San Agustin Bus Line (Cubao) : best option to take because the terminal in Nasugbu is super near in Jollibee where you usually wait for your contact.
  • Coastal Mall Terminal (Paranaque) 
Travel Time : 4 hrs 
Bus Fare: Php 200.00 to Php 220.00 (aircon)

From the Nasugbu town proper, ride a tricycle and instruct to take you to Fortune Island Resort PADI Dive Center where you will pay the landing’s fee of Php 300.00 per pax

Another alternative route is the UV express or Van going to Calatagan located beside Kabayan hotel in Pasay Rotonda. You may alight at the corner of JP Laurel and Palico-Nasugbu Highway,  from there you will need to take bus going to Nasugbu.



PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION:

via Cavitex ( easiest, fastest and convenient way Nasugbu) 
Pass through Naic, Maragondon and traverse the Kaybiang Tunnel which connects Ternate Cavite and Nagsugbu Batangas through Mt. Palay-palay range. This option will surely cut your travel time for almost an hour.


via SLEX
Exit to Sta. Rosa, after the toll exit (look for the largest coke in-can to your right), turn to that side and follow the road to Nuvali then to Tagaytay. From Tagaytay, follow the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, once you reach Palico, take the Palico-Nasugbu Highway to your right don’t go straight for it will lead you to Tuy-Nasugbu Highway. The road will again diverge once you reach the end of Palico-Nasugbu Highway. There’s a Shell gasoline station to your left, the road directly to your right will lead you to Nasugbu town proper, don’t take left for it will lead you to Lian, Batangas. Proceed to Jollibee right beside San Agustin Bus Terminal.


PEOPLE TO CONTACT:

Mang Dante
Smart – (+639394895292)


Mang Chris
Smart – (+639087225658)


Regular Rate : Php 4,000.00 per 10 pax 
Overnight Trip Rate : Php 5,500.00 per pax

Tip: You can haggle if you want to lower that price and reserve the boat first prior to your trip.

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...