Monday, May 26, 2014

An Overnight Encounter with Him at the Prayer Mountains

It was past 2 in the afternoon when I took another Jeepney ride to Cogeo market to find the jeepney route to Paenaan where the prayer mountain is located. I’s almost 4 in the afternoon when i reached Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain.


At the entrance I had to register and leave my ID. To those who wanted to get here, make sure to have a reservation as there are a lot of people during weekends. After logging in, the guard gave me my reservation slip and told me to proceed to the admin office  so I can settle my dues. I then proceed to the Female Dorm to rest and freshen up. I had a bumpy, dusty and exhausting ride going up here. Few minutes later, I found myself roaming and familiarizing the different spots I needed for my stay.

The Hallway to the Private Rooms and it’s Air-conditioned (2 pax @ 1200 and 4 pax @ 2400)


Female Dormitory (Fanned Room @ Php 250.00/person)


Fish pond where you can stay and unwind


Main Hall where gatherings and events are being held


Prayer Cells (this is the friendliest spot, a place for meditation and reflection)


Cafetorium ( serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks from 6 AM to 9 PM)


PC #23, you know what this means :)

It felt really good finding the time to spend an overnight weekend here. This by far can be considered as one of my most important travel for this year. Being alone, in a prayer cell/room felt surreal. Away from any distractions like what I used to have back home. I don’t have to think of anything at this time but myself and what this life is all about. As I read through the scriptures, I see not just words but a whole new meaning. I thought about my life in the: Past, Present and Future and this made me realize how blessed I am, how God has provided and taken care of me all throughout and of course we all know how emotional I can get, the next has been overflowing tears; might be regrets or joy I couldn’t describe it. I played “Take me Out of the Dark and Warrior is a Child”, these are my all time favorite songs. There maybe questions left unanswered but it’s all up to Him. All I know is that the moment I got out from that cell, I felt lighter.



After my ‘me time’ and clearing my mind inside the prayer cells, I hang out in the cafetorium while writing my journals. Facing the mountains while listening to soothing music gives me the relaxation and peace of mind I needed to think and compose myself.



It was a short stay at the Prayer Mountains but achieved my ultimate goal and went back full of hope and happy smiles and ready to conquer my fears. I have reloaded for my next battle and this in turn will help me face life with positivity, strength and gratefulness. My perspective will change as I move forward, that’s for sure.


Address : Bgy. San Jose , Sitio Calumpang, Antipolo, Rizal. Office Landline : 986-15-27. Mobile # 0917 840 12 88.

FX from Megamall – Antipolo RT (Php 50.00/way)
Php 100.00

Jeepney Fare from Antipolo Proper – Cogeo Market RT (Php 16.00/way)
Php   16.00

Jeepney Fare from Cogeo Market – Prayer Mt RT (Php 21.00/way)
Php   42.00

Accommodation (Dormitory)
Php 250.00

Dinner and Breakfast
Php 205.00

Other Expenses (Tric from Antipolo to Eds House)
Php   50.00

Total Expenses

Php 663.00

A Detour in Antipolo, Rizal

The road to the unknown overwhelms my spirit and as the journey towards strange places continue,I couldn’t help but feel a little bit worried if I am indeed taking the right way to my destination. This journey to the unknown makes traveling a little exciting and I missed doing this for the longest time ever. I missed traveling solo.

May weekends should be a series of beach bumming and exploration but I finally decided to take a weekend off my regular trips and head to the mountains of Antipolo. This should be a back to back getaway but my body reminded me that I am still human and sometimes I need to take a break.

There you go, at 830 in the morning, I found myself walking towards FX Ride to Antipolo with my usual weekend self, backpack, camera and this time I carry something very essential for this trip. My journals :)

After roughly 45 minutes, I finally reached Antipolo City. According to the informative WIKI, it is a city in the Philippines located in the Province of Rizal; about 25 kilometers east of Manila. It is the largest city in the CALABARZON Region. It is also the seventh most populous city in the country. The city is popular for being a pilgrimage site. It prides itself as the "Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines." The Marian image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or the Virgin of Antipolo, which was brought in from Mexico in 1626, and enshrined in the Antipolo Cathedral has a continuous following among Filipino Catholics since the Spanish era. Said to be the patron saint for sailors and travelers. I didn’t know this until I landed here. So there, I am now aware whom to call and pray for each time I travel.

It was a fine and hot sunny Saturday in Antipolo and my first stop is of course, the Church. Just before I  entered, a lady approached me and gave me prayer leaflets and rosary in exchange for a donation. I brought them with me inside the church. I attended mass and took pictures after. As much as I would like to stay and take more images, the place is just too crowded and there’s an ongoing mass all throughout the day. So, maybe next time, I might get the chance to roam inside.





I hailed a tricycle going to my friend’s place. I was surprised that I have to pay Php 50.00, according to her it’s a special trip. yay! We went to her friend’s place and grab some lunch. We did a little chit chatting, recalling our childhood days and how we missed our beloved hometown.  So long my friend, till we meet again. It was nice seeing you and your kiddos.




The Journey to the Prayer Mountains ===> An overnight encounter with Him

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Taste of Athens in Fortune Island

Nestled 14-15 kms off  the coast of Nasugbu mainland was once a luxurious resort, Fortune Island; an extremely stunning island with pristine white sand and an acropolis with Grecian pillars and statues on the edge of the island overlooking the blue sea.

The island is long-owned by Jose Antonio Leviste, a former governor of the Province of Batangas who build a resort in 1995 that was shut down in 2006.  Fortune island has also been the site of modern day shipwrecks. Unfortunately, according to  Kuya Dan Dan,  it’s already sold to a Korean businessman.

Since I vowed to myself that I will experience summer to its fullest, I grab my backpack and camping paraphernalia and head for an overnight trip to this gorgeous Island. Thanks to Mam Ron again for letting me join their cool group and recorded  another amazing beach experience.

It was past 7 AM when we started traversing the south Luzon road all the way to Nasugbu Batangas and safely arrived after roughly 4 hours.  It should be way faster it just so happen that there were a lot of road commotions going on last Saturday.


Finally, welcome to Fortune Island Resort. The name above made sense when we arrive in the Island and found the chance to do chit chatting with Kuya Dan Dan while waiting for our boat back to the mainland.

We waited for the boat that will take us to the island. This will take another 45 mins to an hour depending on sea conditions. Glad that it was calm when we started cruising. All in all, it was a safe voyage. We safely docked on the seashore despite the strong current of the water. The Grecian Pillars on the top of the hill and the pebbles and white sand stretches along the island greeted us.



The island has long been abandoned and seeing how the structures has been wrecked is a testament. This made everything look so sad and forlorn but did not diminish the natural beauty of it.  The resort is still attractive despite of the abandonment.  The bungalows were half destroyed, cottages remain deserted, windows shattered, drained swimming pool as its center piece, some part which has been reclaimed by nature.  Arriving a bit exhausted due to the scorching heat plus  growling tummy, we settled our stuff and started preparing lunch. It was past 2 in the afternoon when we reloaded ourselves.


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Lunch satisfaction at its fullest and after which we started doing our thing. Some went all the way up to the pillars, others started swimming, and I started taking my well deserved rest before exploring the place.


It was past 4 in the afternoon when I grabbed my Camera and started exploring.  . Facing the sea, I started at the left side. Few meters from our surviving ‘cottage’ was a wrecked ship. This is just a replica of a ship that was found near the island (approximately 900 meters / 2,953 ft. northwest of the island) that the galleon San Diego was sunk on December 14, 1600 by the Dutch warship Mauritius under the command of Admiral Oliver Van Noort. The shipwreck was discovered in 1992 by French underwater archeologist Franck Goddio.) and was  once a restaurant. The ship that sunk but never sunk (from Tinker Bell :)  Guests can take pictures and climb on top with caution.



This monument with human bones inside is said to be found when the island is still under construction. Belonging to a woman and rumored that her ghost roam around the island at night (creepy! isn’t it?) Ironic though coz I pitched my tent right next to this structure which I wouldn’t do have I known it earlier. Just goes to show, it’s better if you knew nothing at all. The marble plaque was  dedication to Former President Fidel Ramos and  First Lady Amelita Ramos who were guests of honor  on the island.


If you wanted serenity and total relaxation, this is a great spot. Sit underneath the tree, listen to the crashing waves and feel the ocean breeze. Close your eyes and be carried away to paradise


Walking to the other side of the beach, I passed by some rocks and pebbles and from afar I can see the Pillars with guests taking photos. Can’t wait to climb up there and see how majestic the sunset would be and overseeing the island.

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The Grecian Pillars which looks like Parthenon from afar appears to be dreamy.


Just when I am about to climb all the way up to the pillars, I felt a little dizzy,maybe because it was so hot, so I settled just taking pictures near the rocks first and rested a bit.

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Yes! Finally, after several hours of waiting, I was able to climb the topmost part and waited for the sunset.  Aside from the photographic opportunities offered by  Acropolis, the sunset is also best viewed and photographed from this location.  There you can see group of photographers doing there thing. The place is really a perfect setting for Photo Ops themed after the Gods and Goddesses of Greece. 


On top,  right next to the acropolis were structures of Sphinx and Athena. At the back part were steep rocks and they’re perfect spots for cliff jumping. I climbed on the edge and it was windy up there. The Greek like columns looks fantastic regardless of the wrecked fraction. The statues along with the columns overlooking the sea were spectacularly a breathtaking view. I can tell the busted pillars and statues were victims of the forces of nature. It looks as if Zeus strikes its wrath through lightning bolt on each of the pillars nevertheless the ruins remains to be my favorite part of the Island.

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Just when I thought life can be tough at times, just looking at this breath taking views made me realize that there’s more to smile about it. And as the yellow blots of paint were slowly fading away and sky got darker as it stretched from one end to the other.  That very elegant sight revealed a smile from me in an instant. A new day was dawning. Just like all the challenges I am facing, I know tomorrow will always create a rainbow. That very reason is enough for me to keep on moving.



We met some new friends while taking some pictures.



It was getting dark when we went back to our spot, had dinner and socials after. It’s time to get acquainted with the new folks and learn little things about them. Yes, we had a great moonlight setting near the beach.



If you are planning to stay overnight on the island, your only option is to bring tents and to set up camp for you and your company. There are still a few standing structures however, most are boarded up while others can be used as "camp central" for cooking and evening socials. Also no bathing facilities or toilet so it’s really one hell of an adventure. We brought water for cleaning our stuff (eating/cooking utensils) but not for bathing.

Waking up with this view of sunrise is just amazing. I never thought that this place can offer stunning images of both sunrise and sunsets. Had some hot drink to warm and perk me up and for the second time I climb up to the acropolis to see how it looks like during sunrise and expecting less crowd.

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This beach get away will  not be complete without experiencing the water. Yes, I am happy that its clear and the seabed is clean as well aside from slippery rocks which is tolerable. Sands were fine too but not as powdery as what I expected it to be. Overall, great waters for swimming.


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Fortune Island did not just offer something breath taking for me see, experience and to take away as I go back to the hustle and bustle of the metro but restored the faith I lost in myself.  The fascinating view I saw reminded me that even if a thing is abandoned and totally wrecked, there is still goodness and beauty in it. You just have to continue believing and take that leap of faith and everything will fall into place. Just learn how to appreciate it.

I just cant imagine how beautiful this island 10 years back.



Van Rental Php  6,400.00
Entrance Fee Php  6,400.00
Boat Rental Php  9,000.00
Food and Drinks Php  4,773.00
Total Expenses Php 26,573.00 / 16 persons
Expense per Pax Php  1,661.00

You can also go to the island for a day tour and that would cost Php 350.00/person for the entrance fee and the boat is negotiable depending on the number of persons you have in a group.

Contact Person: Kuya Dante (0939.489.5292) and his son Kuya Dan Dan were very accommodating

Don’t forget to bring your costumes for best Photo Op ala Adonis and Athena and try cliff jumping (I have to try this in my future travels!)

Some things to keep in mind when you plan to go to the island:

- There is no electricity or functional faucets in the island
- There is no restaurant in the island. You have to bring your own food.
- There is dressing room. Abandoned but can be utilize (for your photo ops)
- There is smart and globe signal. (yahoo!upload pictures right away)
- They don’t provide tents, you have to bring your own.
- I don’t recommend visiting the place during rainy season. Waves can be dangerous.
- Expect some rubbish on the shoreline.
- The coastline isn’t pure sandy; there are tons of pebbles and stones. Make sure to wear your slippers most of the time.

Happy Travels to all! :)

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