Monday, July 30, 2012
Got seasick, drenched by the rain to the point of getting hypothermia and was stranded in the middle of the sea battling waves as high as 10 feet for 3 hours just to see this Greek-like island off the coast of Nasugbu. Oh and I was still wearing my suit on the boat ride back to mainland since I am already wet. Read on to know more about this story.
I was browsing a forum about Batangas when I stumbled upon a photo of an island that has an acropolis with Grecian statues and pillars overlooking the West Philippine Sea - Fortune Island. I've already seen a lot of different beaches here in the country but I must admit that this island in Nasugbu, Batangas is definitely unique. Even my friend Ghe was so amazed that's why we suggested this to be the location of our annual group event for our anniversary along with other fellow travelers who wanted to join us.
The trip was actually fun as always having Ghe around and my other travel buddies but the boat ride to the island wasn't. Upon reaching the port of Nasugbu we were welcomed by huge waves and doubted if the plan will push through. However, the boatmen guaranteed that their boats can take us to the island but since it was already the monsoon season, the waves will be more rough and that it could take longer than an hour to reach our destination. And so the grueling 2-hour boat ride started. The first 30 minutes already gave us an adrenaline rush and a series of panic attacks because the waves were really strong and by far the worse that I have ever experienced. There were even a few times that I really thought that the boat could have capsized but we were so thankful that it didn't happen. The next 90 minutes was still hell because a lot of my travel buddies were actually throwing up due to seasickness. I was close to throwing up as well but I just kept calm and just looked straight into the island to overcome my motion sickness. And as the boat docked into the shore, I shouted on the top of my lungs for surviving the most treacherous boat ride I have ever had.
I was able to talk to one of the caretakers and he told me that it was previously owned by former Batangas Governor Tony Leviste and that a posh resort was built on the island which is only exclusive to celebrities and only a chosen few but now it is currently owned by a Korean who seems to be very strict in giving out permits to those who would like to visit the island. I only could imagine how the resort looked like during its pristine condition and that it could even rival other expensive resorts like Bellarocca or Sumilon if only it wasn't shut down in 2006. Unfortunately the place is now totally dilapidated and the once exclusive island is now an abandoned luxury resort. It's like seeing an empire that has slipped into decadence and destruction. The only remaining attraction in the island was the acropolis that was still standing at the edge of a cliff but upon seeing the structure, I could tell that it might not last for another decade because the pillars are quickly deteriorating from rusts and cracks.
Since our trip got delayed and the impending waves in the afternoon are more threatening, the caretaker of the island advised us to stay for less than 2 hours and head back to mainland to avoid getting stranded. And so we used our time wisely to change into our outfits as fast as we can and took photos as the skies were just partly cloudy. Unfortunately 2 hours is not enough and to make it worse, it started to rain but that didn't spoil our shoot as most of us just played around under the rain while still wearing our suits and gowns.
Now here comes the most memorable part of the trip, the boat ride back to mainland. We thought the boat ride to Fortune Island was the worst that we ever had but the trip back to Nasugbu port was worse. Way worse. And since I was already wet, I decided not to change so I was still wearing my suit while we were on our way back to mainland. The boat didn't have any roof to protect us from the rain so all of us got drenched to the point of getting hypothermia. I could even remember Gina shaking so I tried to cover her with the suit that I was wearing and all of us just kept calm as we battled the waves that reached as high as 10 feet. And so I told myself, "Relax, just wait for an hour and we will be okay." but unfortunately we were not even in the vicinity of the word "okay" because the rudder that is used to cause the vessel to change its course broke and to make matters worse, it happened in the middle of the sea so we were going around in circles for more than 2 hours as the waves got bigger and bigger. There was a point that I was actually thinking that we were all going to die so I just told myself, "at least I'm going to die wearing a suit!" Fortunately that didn't happen because our boatmen were skillful in steering the vessel even though the rudder was broken and thankfully there were a group of people who helped us dock back to the port safely.
I couldn't be thankful enough that we survived that grueling ordeal but if there's one lesson learned from this experience, it's to always take caution when you're traveling especially if it's by sea during the monsoon season. That trip to Fortune Island may not have stopped me from continuing my passion for traveling but it did made me a more responsible traveler.
How to get there:
It is important to contact Mang Dante (09394895292) first so you can secure a permit (Php300 landing fee per head) and hire a boatman that will take you back and forth to Fortune Island. Hiring a boat will cost around Php3000 for 12 persons. Be sure to keep the receipt because the caretaker will look for it before they allow you to enter the island. Once that is settled, you can choose to either drive by private car or just take a bus bound for Nasugbu early in the morning and ask to be dropped off at Jollibee Nasugbu Branch where Mang Dante usually meets up with his customers.