Fortune Island: The new 'It' Destination for beach campers

March 23, 2015 Beach Camping

Anawangin and Calaguas have found a new rival, and thanks to social media, Fortune Island is now benefiting from the significant surge in popularity that beach camping is enjoying.

Located off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas, Fortune Island is a breathtakingly beautiful 27-hectare island. It features a long stretch of mixed white and coral sand, crystal-clear blue waters, and lush greens. However, what captivates the attention of most travelers are the Grecian pillars, the most photographed feature of the island.

The island was formerly owned by the ex-governor of Batangas Province, Jose Antonio Leviste. Initially, Fortune Island Resort Club operated as a membership resort, featuring a salt-water swimming pool, clubhouse, cabana, basketball court, helipad, rest houses, and the acropolis with Grecian pillars and statues on the edge of the island. In 1992, the island gained attention when the shipwreck of the galleon San Diego, which sank in the 1600s, was discovered by a French underwater archaeologist.

Due to questions surrounding Leviste's ownership, the local government office assumed control of the island. It is now open for tourists at a fixed rate of P 400.00 for overnight trips and P 350.00 for day trips.

Visiting the Island:

We followed the Coastal Road - Cavitex - A. Soriano - Ternate Nasugbu Route, passing through the towns of Naic and Maragondon and traversing the Kaybiang Tunnel.

We were initially set to meet up with our contact, Gino (0935 232 8738, not highly recommended though), at Jollibee in Nasugbu, but he was assisting another group. Instead, he directed us to Wawawee Resort, owned by his in-laws. Before heading there, we stopped by the public market to gather our provisions for the two-day trip.

Notably, there were boat representatives in front of Jollibee, offering arrangements for Fortune Island tours. We paid Gino P 3,500.00 for the boat and added an extra P 500.00 as a tip.

As mentioned, we awaited our boat ride to Fortune Island at Wawawee. It was also where we purchased additional supplies, including drinking water and, of course, beer.

Landing in Paradise
The 2-hour boat ride was quite eventful due to the rough seas. Our boat even stalled twice, but we didn't mind as we knew paradise awaited us, and we were not disappointed.

We opted for the far end of the island to set up camp. Some of the prime spots were already occupied by other campers, but we found a good, quiet spot. As it was lunchtime, we decided to prepare our meals before exploring the rest of the island.

Visitors to the island should be prepared to rough it out, as there are no accommodations, stores, or restaurants. While there is a comfort room, it uses seawater for flushing, so cleanliness might not meet typical standards.
Exploring the Island
After an afternoon nap, it was time to explore. Of course, we headed to the Grecian pillars.

It was late afternoon, close to sunset, so we had lovely colors.

It is also good to climb up the acropolis at dawn.

We returned to our camp before the sun set and passed by other popular features of the island like this monument, which contains the remains of a woman found during the construction of the island's resort and the wreck of a replica of ship used as the resort's restaurant.

The best part on any beach camping experience for me is when we all find the best spot to sit down, drink beers and exchange stories, without a campfire of course.  We try to minimize our impact on the places we visit.  

Room with a view

Another thing I like about beach camping is waking up to this.

We enjoyed a tranquil morning, appreciating the breathtaking view. After breakfast, we decided to take a swim. Given that the island was declared a marine reserve in 1978, we encountered a variety of colorful marine life. Luckily, the weather cleared up after a brief morning shower. We opted to swim in this particular area of the island.

Saying goodbye

We decided to depart from the island before lunch, anticipating a longer and rougher boat ride back. Upon reaching Wawawee, we settled the bill with the resort owner, paying P500.00 for table rental. We felt the need to hurry as the nearby videokes were causing headaches. On our return to Manila, we took a different route, passing through Tagaytay, Aguinaldo Highway, Roxas Blvd., and then EDSA or possibly SLEX—I was asleep.

Postscript from an island lover

Some campers have been leaving behind a significant amount of trash on the beach. During our stay, we even discovered a busted light bulb on our campsite. Adhering to the principle of Leave No Trace (LNT), we made a conscious decision to pack all our trash. Surprisingly, our boatmen initially refused to transport it back with us to Nasugbu. This lack of respect is not just a loss for the island but for all of us who enjoy its beauty. The tourism office of Nasugbu should take decisive action to address this issue. Campers, particularly tour organizers, need to be more sensitive. Fortune Island remained pristine for the longest time, and it would be regrettable if our collective actions lead to its degradation now that it's accessible to everybody.

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