As someone who commutes to the Sampaloc, Manila area from Cubao on a somewhat regular basis, there’s been this little curiosity that’s been catching my eye around New Manila for quite a while now. You’ve probably seen it yourselves. It’s called Asylum Manila, and in a stroke of either sheer luck or genius in terms of location, it’s right in front of the Christ The King seminary. Banners on the outside tout Asylum Manila as a haunted attraction, not unlike the spooky funhouses you’d normally find in amusement parks and town fairs. This one, however, is a dedicated space all to itself. This one isn’t for the faint of heart, depending on your predilection for ghastly imagery and jump scares, and we’ve had the pleasure of being among the first to try it out before its full opening on the week of June 20th.

Let’s get this out of the way, and with a Doctor Who reference, to boot: it’s bigger on the inside. My friend who got me the invite to the test run kept on harping about how large the premises would be, but I still wasn’t prepared for how expansive the attraction really is. Now, this being a test run, a lot of things were still being ironed out at the time. Think of this as beta access, with the final product hopefully sorting out some of the issues we observed in our initial run.

The premise of Asylum Manila is that of an old… asylum whose founder disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Many say that he even haunts the halls to this day. That, however, is probably the least of your worries, as the patients have clearly taken over, and the staff even seems to go along with it.

A cautious saunter through Asylum Manila will take you through nearly every horror subgenre out there. Are you a fan of ghosts and apparitions? Check. Do you like body horror? Oh yes, check. Whatever your poison, that it’s lurking somewhere in there. And not to spoil anything, but sometimes, the scariest bits of Asylum Manila don’t even involve elaborate set dressing and actors in convincing make up. That said, I gotta give credit to the folks behind Asylum Manila for going all-out with the set design inside the attraction itself. More often than not, a lot of the set pieces and props will indeed make you wonder if something’s either gonna spring to life with animatronics or have an incredibly still actor just waiting to menace you.

And if that isn’t enough, even the floor plan itself should draw some oohs and aahs from those a little more curious behind what goes under the hood. Unlike your average haunted attraction, Asylum Manila is a multi-leveled maze with rooms of different shapes and sizes. No two rooms are exactly alike. Some may have consistent themes running through them, but they do have their own unique scares tied to them. The layout and for the lack of a better term, set design, tie everything together into one rather terrifyingly cool package.

Do we recommend it? Yeah! Do we recommend it even if you’re the type that consumes way too much horror media, thus leaving  you bit desensitized to some of the scares? Still yes, but bring your easily frightened friends along. Their reactions will be priceless! It’s easily one of the coolest mixes of amusement park terror coupled with live theater that you’ll get in Metro Manila, without having to travel to, according to my notes, Australia.

Asylum Manila is located at 1148 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, right in front of the Christ The King Seminary. For more info, visit them at asylummanila.com or check them out at asylummanila on Facebook/Instagram, and @asylum_manila on Twitter.

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