It is quite a challenge to explain how this island got its name, considering that what remains to feed the traveler’s eyes here are the misfortune of a resort who folded up, and the feel of an eerie past that spelled loneliness and bad luck.
Acropolis at Fortune Island
Fortune Island lies about 14 km off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. It is an island surrounded by reefs, shipwrecks and points offering varied views of the island, the sea and the horizon. It used to be an exclusive island resort, when the former Batangas governor (Antonio Leviste) acquired it from Laurentina Pestano. The Fortune Island Resort Club was opened in 1995 which featured a museum dedicated to the San Diego, which was a sunken Spanish warship, found near the island.
There were controversies that hounded the resort because it sat in an area which was classified as a marine reserve. The area of the island did not also meet the requirement under the Revised Forestry Code, thus the subdivision of Fortune Island into 7 various parts and selling it to the present owners, did not conform to the code and was deemed entirely wrong.
As to what happened to resort that led to its demise, I could not say much about it except that now, the island is managed by a Korean company.
How to get there?
To reach Fortune Island, you need to go to the town of Nasugbu, Batangas which is a 2.5 hr travel from Manila. You may also reach Nasugbu, Batangas thru Tagaytay City.
Once you reach Nasugbu, head off to Apacible Boulevard in Barangay Wawa and look for the Fortune Island Resort. This is the jump off point to the island. It also has a parking space where it’s safe to leave your car. There is an entrance fee to Fortune Island: Php 300 per person (2016) for a day trip, Php 400 pax if overnight. Please be advised that there are no shops, restaurant and toilets in the island. Bring food, water and basic toiletries. Be sure to drop by the market or grocery shops in town before heading to Barangay Wawa. The resort sells food and drinks as well.
For the boat ride to Fortune Island, we initially planned to join a group to cut on cost. But we arrived a few minutes after a boat for joiners left the resort. Our next option was to hire another banca for the round trip. After much haggling, we were able to settle for Php 2,500 trip (3pax).
Outrigger boat for Fortune Island
It was about an hour trip to Fortune Island. It is best to go there early in the morning and return to the mainland (Nasugbu) early afternoon. Waves at Nasugbu Bay tend to get rough in the afternoon.
View of Acropolis from the beach
Our primary objective in going to this island was to visit the ‘ruins’ that resembled a bit of Athens’ Parthenon in the Acropolis. The ‘ruins’ in the island is also called Acropolis. It is the most photographed portion of Fortune Island. The Graeco columns were of two sets. A pediment is on top of 8 columns of the northern set, while an architrave is on top of the southern set.
A view of West Philippine Sea
Greek sculpture in the Acropolis
These columns, which are literally left in ruins provide the needed vibe of the grandeur that was Fortune Island of several decades ago. For Filipino travelers, it is a welcome opportunity to experience a place that was once exclusive to the rich, and marvel at the ‘oxymoronic’ name of the island.
Things to do in Fortune Island:
1. Go up to the Acropolis at mid-day, wear you brightest colored clothes and take pictures amidst the Graeco columns and some sculptures of gods and animals.
2. Cliff Dive at the west side of the Acropolis. Jump off a 25-30 foot cliff into the turquoise sea.
3. Bask in the beach, frolic and enjoy the white sand and the waves.
4. Snorkel around. There are several reefs near Fortune Island. Arrange this with your boat guides.
5. Visit the light house on top of the hill. Get an amazing view of Nasugbu Bay or the sunset.
6. For divers, there’s a shipwreck site nearby.
7. Stay overnight. Just bring your tent, food and drinks and personal effects to last you all night long.
We left Fortune Island a little past 2pm, putting in mind that rough waves may be a challenge on the way back to the mainland. It is another hour of travel. Indeed it was a fortunate daytime getaway. We got the photos that we wanted, we get to enjoy the beach, and we get to tick off this island from our bucket list.