“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” –Epicurus, Greek philosopher
May 1st is Labor Day. We celebrate the fruits of our labor, we fight for our rights as the toiling masses but that day was different for me. It was when I went out to a day’s adventure, albeit short, with my partner, my best friends and for the first time aside from family gatherings, with my brother. All of us, geeks in our own right. The trainers, the TL, the SME cum math wizard.
My best friend Sani drove Amanda to Nasugbu, we had to make sure he woke up at 1am because he’s driving from Antipolo to pick up Jons, Mary and myself and lastly, my brother.
It is a 2.5 hour-drive but because we had stops – buy coffee, get the gopro from my parents’ house, buy ice and drinks at a 711 nearby, we got there close to 7am.
It was, as expected, crazily jam-packed as it was a Sunday and a holiday.
TIP #1: If you’re bringing a car on a weekend, be there early to park at a good spot. You have to leave your keys to the Korean manager as they would need to move your vehicles at some point, when the other vehicles parked in the resort also leave. If you’re not comfortable, you might get a parking lot some meters away but nobody would look after it. You might end up scratching your head when you see a scratch on your car, so don’t gamble. Also, either make sure at least two of you in the group can drive, or take naps to ensure safe driving. Better yet, stay the night, and drive when fully rested. Sani had to endure the traffic back home, and by the time we were along Skyway, he was too sleepy we decided they sleep over at our place in Ortigas.
TIP #2: Get your GPS/ Waze/ Google Maps ready when driving. If you’re getting on a bus or a van it would be easier because the driver would drop you off where tricycles can take you to the beach resorts that have boats to take you to Fortune Island.
TIP #3: Must bring: Ice Chest, lots of ice as it is scorching hot there, drinks, food, fruits, tent, a knife and other utensils, snorkel sets if you have, action cameras, power banks, a beach ball, floating devices, a book, a portable speaker, sun block, towel, extra clothes and a lot of water. The heat is not a joke. Don’t get dehydrated. I’m sure the people close to our tent who heard us talking, would trade anything for our ice-cold beer and coke that simmering day.
TIP #4: While some women wore their bikinis, I would suggest wearing rash guards instead. There is no shade whatever in the beach area. You have to climb a good deal to get to the trees. If you want to imagine how hot it is, you have to know that Jons’ phone got fried as it lay there on a beach mat (although it was really a malong lol). Don’t get toasted in a day. Save some for another beach, another weekend.
TIP #5: All in all, what you are going to Fortune Island for, are the pictures on top of the hill, and the cliff jumping. However, if your group does not have a reliable swimmer, you have to jump with your life vests as the other side of the hill can have some strong waves and is deep. We weren’t able to jump because we didn’t have a life jacket. I would love to. The Magic Island jump in Boracay made me want to do it again and since 2013, I have not had the chance to do it again. I do not know how deep it is, as my sister’s group, when they went there, didn’t have the chance too.
TIP #6: Some of the groups who went there and didn’t anticipate the heat and the dragging hours of the day tour got bored and couldn’t wait to get onto the boat to get home. The latest boat ride back is at 4pm because beyond that the current would be too strong. If you’re spending the day, bring something to pass the time while you’re not beach-bumming, cam-whoring or cliff-jumping. Read a book, play some music – if you a guitar, write a poem, play games with your buddies, or simply catch up with your friends with stories on end. Make the most of it.
TIP #7: If you’re a sanitation officer, you would condemn the place. If you’re an environmentalist, you would probably be too angry at the campers. If you are headed to Fortune Island either to camp overnight or to spend the day, please be responsible. When we were there, there were beer bottles strewn everywhere. There were plastic bottles, filled garbage bags, and left-over food anywhere you look. The small structure that is supposed to be a rest room of sorts, which was either unfinished or dilapidated, was stinking with human urine. I don’t even want to think where night campers poop when nature calls.Yes, it is that bad. I hope the fees we pay for get to be used to rehabilitate or maintain the island. If not, it would only become a huge dump site. I won’t post a photo of the mess, I’d leave it all up to you to agree (if you’ve been there) or find out yourself (if you will go there).
TIP #8: If you’re not in too much hurry to get home, you can still drop by Tagaytay for some coffee, or Bulalo. Buying fruits and the CALABARZON famous “pasalubong” (buko pie, espasol, tarts, etc) can also be an option. Rowena’s in Tagaytay is famous for its delicious tarts and pies.
In the end, while Jami remained quiet almost the entire time (he is that – he remains quiet unless there’s a need for him to say something, he thinks deeply, often poetically), and Mary and I only took a couple of pictures of us, and Sani and Jons had to spend the night at home, it was a labor of love kind of day. We were exhausted, but our stories were told in that small tent (thank you again Gill for lending yours), sibling bond was strengthened knowing that no matter how annoying we both get to each other, I will always love my grown-up little brother. That we won’t always get what we want at work, and in life in general, that there are battles we choose to take, and some we choose to sit out.
A road trip is always about the trip on the road rather than the destination. It is trying to stay awake so your driver-friend won’t fall asleep. It is forgiving your friend who can’t distinguish the left from the right. It is knowing that your brother didn’t drown because of some stupid beach ball. It is staying up until your other friend gets enough recharge. It is knowing the person whose hand you’re holding is not only happy at the moment, but contented.
To more road trips, epic fails, adventures, stories and beach-bumming fun!
ITINERARY FOR DAY TOUR:
2am: ETD Manila – the farther you are from the metro, the earlier you have to start the day. If you’re taking the bus, get to the BLTB or JAM Transit buses in Buendia, Cubao or Pasay. There is no need to reserve since buses leave at a 30-minute interval. Please expect a heavier queue on weekends and holidays. Fare will not exceed PhP 200 per pax one way. Contact boat coordinator: 0939-489-5292
5am: ETA Nasugbu – adjust the time based on the number and length of stops you need to make along the way – like buying food, ice, drinks.
6am: ETA Fortune Island – the boat ride does not take 30 minutes, but you’d have to queue for the boat especially on weekends. I bet it’s best if you go there on a weekday.
4pm: ETD Fortune Island – if you can leave earlier than the rest of the visitors so you can shower more freely at the resort in the mainland. There is an open-space shower area, and there is a more private area which queued when we got there at almost 5pm that day.
5pm: ETD Nasugbu – take a stop over along the way to eat dinner, have coffee, take a restroom break
9pm: ETA Ortigas – again, this might be later depending on the traffic situation at the Nasugbu highway, and the amount and length of stops along the way.
It didn’t cost us anything more than 1500 Php for gas, toll fee, 2 Andok’s chicken and liempo, rice and adobo prepared by Jons, hotdogs and hard boiled eggs we prepared, soft drinks, beer, coffee on the way, boat and entrance.
Please take note that sometimes they charge an entrance fee per head at the resort on top of the boat rental (which I found odd that’s why I haggled) in total we spent about PhP 3500 for 5 (entrance and boat).
I hope this answers most of the questions I have been getting since I posted some photos on IG and FB. Have you been to Fortune Island? Please share your experiences and recommendations below in the comment section. Thank you and don’t forget to follow www.facebook.com/footloosetomcat , www.instagram.com/footloosetomcat , and www.twitter.com/migzhernandez17 !