Fortune Island is one of those places you should visit at least once. Located about an hour away from the coastlines of Nasugbu in Batangas, this abandoned island features a Greek-inspired acropolis and white-sand beach, along with underwater reefs ideal for freediving and scuba diving.
- About Fortune Island
- Our experience at Fortune Island
- How to get to Fortune Island
- Things to do in Fortune Island
- 2 Days Itinerary in Fortune Island
- Where to stay
- Things to bring
- Reminders and Tips
- Budget and expenses
- What to read next:
About Fortune Island
This island was once a luxury resort in Nasugbu, Batangas, that was abandoned in 2006. Currently, there are no establishments in the island, except for open cottages. Fortune Island Resort, which can be found in the mainland, handles the tours going here. It is open for day trips and overnight camping.
Due to lack of basic amenities, this place is mostly suited for backpackers. Personally, I would not recommend it to families, especially those with children. There are tons of family-friendly resorts in Batangas you can book instead.
One thing that interested me while researching about the island is its ownership. It was owned by a former governor of Batangas and then transferred to different companies. According to DENR, the island should not have been privatized because it is located in a declared marine reserve. As far I know, the agency did not pursue the issue to the courts.
Our experience at Fortune Island
Hali and I had actually visited Fortune Island years ago on separate trips. (Unfortunately my photos were low quality, so everything I post here is from Hali’s trip.)
I remember being fascinated at the photos of the island’s Graecian pillars that I’d seen on the few blogs about it online. The wonderous night sky looking down on the ruins and surrounding white-sand beach seemed to good to be true. Weeks later, I booked a joiner trip for an overnight stay in Fortune Island.
I was solo, but I immediately made friends with the others on the tour.
Fortune Island was what I imagined it to be and more. The Greek-inspired ruins atop the hill looked old and beautiful. It offers a breathtaking view of the West Philippine Sea. I was lucky that there weren’t many people on the island that day, so I was able to take some solo shots in the pillar.
After the photo-ops, some people in our group went off cliff jumping, while I stayed with a friend on the beach. The beach was nice, but the waves were too rough for a proper swim, so my friend and I merely satisfied ourselves with sitting quietly and watching the waves.
That night, we had a socials and introduced each other. I remember stumbling drunk on the sand, looking for a private spot to pee. There was a toilet that was unfortunately clogged, perhaps due to lack of maintenance or just the sheer number of people on the island that day. It’s funny that this is one of the things I remembered most about this trip. No toilet, just vast amounts of sand in the dark.
That saying, it was a good experience. Hali’s trip was more or less the same, except being an extrovert and adventure junkie, I could tell he had more fun than I did. He particularly liked the cliff jumping area. He told me there was a lone jelly fish in the water that “threatened” them.
In my opinion, Fortune Island is unique that even if it’s bare of proper facilities, it’s still worth seeing in person. We liked our trips here, although now that Hali and I are both older, we prefer places that are more comfortable. For example, places with a bath and toilet, and preferably a nice tub as well.
Update: We were saddened to know about the trash being in the island. The island was clean on our trips, but these were a while ago. Apparently, some of the trash comes from tourists, while some is carried-over waste from the mainland. From people’s reviews, this is an issue that persists up to this day. I always advocate for tourists to practice the Leave No Trace principle and I commend those who do clean-up drives, but in this case, I believe the responsibility mostly relies on the resort’s part because they collect entrance fees from each guest, so they should at least implement proper waste management in the island.
How to get to Fortune Island
From Manila, it will take 4-5 hours to get to Fortune Island.
Here are the commute directions:
- From Buendia or Pasay, ride a bus to Nasugbu, Batangas. Travel time is 3-4 hours and fare is around 200. Get off at Jollibee Nasugbu.
- From Jollibee, ride a tricycle to Fortune Island Resort in Barangay Wawa. It is close by and the ride only takes 5-10 minutes. Fare is P10-15 per person.
- Fortune Island Resort is the one that facilitates tours to the island. Pay the entrance fee and then charter a boat. Travel time is 1-1.5 hour.
If bringing a car, you can leave it overnight in the resort’s parking area.
Here are some things to note:
- You may be able to haggle a lower-priced boat if you talk directly to boat operators outside the resort. However, you still need to pay the entrance fees.
- It’s best to get there early for the boat ride. Boat operators prefer leaving before 12NN to avoid strong waves.
- Prepare for a rough boat ride, especially during rainy season.
Things to do in Fortune Island
Here are the things you can do in Fortune Island.
1. Photo-ops at the acropolis
We know it’s the reason you came here. 😉 From the beach, there is a staircase that leads to the acropolis where you can see Greek-inspired pillars and statues. The best hours to go here are during sunrise and late afternoon (just before sunset).
(Note: The Greek statue above is now head-less and damaged. But you can still take pictures at the ruins and the lion statue.)
2. Swim in the white-sand beach
The island has a wide patch of white-sand beach, which has mixed fine sand and corals.
3. Cliff jumping
There is a cliff jumping area in the island where you can dive at 15-30 feet high, straight to the ocean. If it’s your first time, you can start with the low spots first and then proceed to the high cliff edge.
4. Snorkeling and freediving
The island is surrounded by thriving reef; just make sure to bring your own snorkeling equipment. If you snorkel 20 meters from the beach, you’ll find colorful corals and fish. If you have chartered a boat, you can also ask your boat operator to drop you off the nice spots around the island.
There are interesting reefs and shipwrecks at 65 to 120-130 feet that you can explore by scuba diving. The waves here are gentle, so this activity is good even for amateurs. The Blue Hole features three large holes in the reef that open up into a large cavern. The Fortune NW diving site has deep valleys that drop down to 120-130 feet. The Wreck lies 70 feet below and features a Dutch ship and even a Volkswagen mini-bus.
If you’re a typical day tripper and only interested in photo-ops, you’ll find that there’s nothing much to do except chill and beach bum.
7. Night sky photography
On good weather, the view of the night sky here is filled with stars.
There is a monument featuring a human skull, but for me it isn’t really memorable. There is also a bat cave and lighthouse in the island, but these are now off-limits for safety reasons.
2 Days Itinerary in Fortune Island
Here’s a sample 2 days itinerary in Fortune Island for your weekend trip.
|Day 0||3AM Departure from Manila|
|Day 1||6AM Fortune Island Resort|
6 – 6:30AM Breakfast
6:30 – 7:30AM Arrival in Fortune Island / set camp
7:30AM – 5PM Free time / photo-ops at acropolis / swim / snorkel
5PM Sunset watching at the acropolis
|Day 2||6AM Sunrise watching at the acropolis|
8 – 11AM Free time
11AM Break camp / departure to mainland
12NN Back to mainland / lunch
1PM Departure to Manila
4PM Back in Manila
Where to stay
If you want to stay overnight, you can do so by camping. You can bring your own tent or rent one.
You can also stay in one of the mainland resorts. These are some resorts close by:
- Fortune Island Resort. This is the resort that arranges tours to the island.
- Club Punta Fuego. Book discounted room via Agoda.
- Coral Beach Club. Book discounted room via Agoda.
Things to bring
- Food and bottled water. There are no stores in the island.
- Reef-friendly sunblock.
- Insect repellent. We were fine during our trip, but we’ve read that other people had sand flea bites.
- Flashlight. A must-have especially if you are staying overnight.
- Snorkel set and fins. If you want to snorkel and/or freedive in the surrounding reefs, you need to bring your own equipment.
- Tissue or toilet wipes. The toilet uses seawater for flushing, so you need to bring your own tissue or toilet wipes.
- Garbage bag. There are no trash cans in the island, so make sure to bring at least one garbage bag for yourself or your group.
If you are staying overnight, you need to bring everything that you need including utensils and cooking equipment.
Reminders and Tips
Here are some reminders and tips before your trip to Fortune Island.
- It’s advisable to go here during summer (March to May).
- There are no amenities in the island, except for open cottages and a toilet. There is also no electricity or running water. The basic toilet uses sea water for flushing.
- You can wash up back in Fortune Island Resort or other resorts lining up the coastline in Nasugbu.
- Mobile signal is good.
- It’s best to go here on weekdays. It can get crowded on weekends and holidays. Also, level your expectations — no matter what day you visit, it might be a challenge to get photos at the acropolis without other people.
- If you plan on staying overnight, I suggest booking an organized tour instead. It can be a hassle to bring your own tent or cooking equipment to prepare your own meals.
- My most essential tip is to prepare to rough it up. If you are a backpacker who’d been to similar places, this might be okay, but if you’re used to proper resorts, I suggest looking for other destinations in Batangas instead.
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2021):
|Fees||Fortune Island Resort entrance fee (per person) – P350 (day trip) / P500 (overnight)|
Tent rental – P300 (day trip) / P500 (overnight)
Tent pitching fee (if you bring your own tent) – P100 (day trip) / P200 (overnight)
Open cottage rental – P1500 (day trip) / P2000 (overnight)
|Boat rental||Day trip:|
2-3 people – P4000
4-7 people – P4500
8-12 people – P5000
13-15 people – P6000
16-20 people – P6500
In a group, a safe budget per person for an overnight trip to Fortune Island is P2500.
There are also lots of organized tours you can find in Facebook, which includes transport, tent rental, and food. Rate for a joiner tour is P2000+ per person.
Fortune Island Resort: 09155047166
Have you been to Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments section below.
What to read next:
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).