Horrific journey into madness at Asylum Manila

Opened in 1939, the Asylum was a premier psychiatric medical institution for the criminally insane. The worst and most violent of psychiatric patients were brought here for treatment and seclusion.

Dr. Vanicutt, a renowned psychiatrist from Pennysylvania, heads the asylum. When his wife died from a mysterious accident, the doctor sank into madness: tormenting and conducting grotesque experiments on the patients.

During the Japanese occupation, the Asylum was mistaken for an abandoned building and a garrison of soldiers was stationed there. They ended up going insane and slaughtering each other.

From then on, the Asylum has been abandoned. The poor souls who wandered there were never heard from again.

Now in 2019, the doors are open again, welcoming new patients while the many unthinkable events that took place in the Asylum are still waiting to be uncovered.

That’s the premise of Asylum Manila, the newest horror attraction in the metro. It is a massive walk-through of dark attractions with sinister live actors, jump scares straight out of horror movies and Hollywood-caliber special effects.

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

You and your gang (who will, hopefully, stand with you no matter what terrors you encounter inside) will enter the Asylum as its newest patients. Two creepy nurses will check your vitals (making sure that you have no pre-existing medical conditions that will make you unable to complete your journey), then they will reveal the Asylum’s sordid history before ushering you into the house of horrors.

Inside, you will be chased up, down and around by crazed orderlies, chainsaw murderers, cannibalistic undertakers and mutilated patients. You will even encounter characters straight from horror movies such as Annabelle and the Nun from The Conjuring series and Pennywise the Clown from It.

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

By the end of your 45-minute journey through winding pathways, moving floors and walls, flashing lights and creepy music, you will have experienced thrills and chills that will leave your adrenaline pumpin’ and your knees shakin’.

My friends from #SaanSaPH and I got a sneak peek of Asylum Manila’s attractions the day before it opened to the public and and let me say that the experience was one of the most fun, albeit scary, times we’ve all had together.

Asylum Manila

Asylum Manila

Tickets go on sale starting June 20, priced at Php699 Mondays to Thursdays, and at Php799 Fridays to Sundays. VIP tickets priced at Php1,200 are also available giving holders priority in queue. To buy online, visit AsylumManila.com.

Asylum Manila is located at 1148 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City (in front of Christ the King Mission), open from 4pm to 12 midnight. For inquiries or reservations, call +63 945 3007408, +63 945 3007404, +63 947 4612808 or +63 947 4612807.

Some reminders:

  • The attractions are not recommended for children under 12 years old or for persons with known and pre-existing medical conditions such as pregnancy, breathing/heart/psychological/joint/muscle conditions or any conditions made worse by physical exertion.
  • Wear comfortable clothes (no heels) and don’t bring backpacks or bags
  • No taking of photos or filming inside the attractions except in the assigned areas.

Thanks to Zarrah of TheBandWagonChic.com for extending the invitations!

Three things to know for your snowy adventure at Mount Rainier, WA

Having lived all my life in a tropical country, I have never experienced snow. Actually, I’m very sensitive to cold weather and prone to feeling the chills when the temperature drops so I have accepted that experiencing snow will never be a reality.

That changed when my bro decided to take Hubby, the kids and myself to Mount Rainier in Washington State during the fam’s US trip.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Famed Scottish-American naturalist John Muir once said, “Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier truly offers a lot of awesome sights to behold.  And if you’re planning a similar trip to this famous attraction, here are some things you might like to know:

1. It was formed by volcanic activity and is, in fact, an active volcano.

At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier stands at the center of the country’s fifth national park and is the most glaciated peak in the continental United States.  It is a product of many prehistoric volcanic activities as evidenced by basalt columns and other remnants of early eruptions and lava flows.

Mount Rainier

Active steam vents, intermittent earth tremors and its previous eruptions indicate that Mount Rainier is sleeping, not dead.  Set your mind at ease, though: there are seismic monitoring stations throughout the place that should be able to provide warning of impending eruptions days in advance.  You should still watch out for other geologic activities that occur with little warning such as rock falls and debris flows.  If you happen to be near a river and notice a rapid rise in water level or prolonged ground tremors and rumbling noise, the park advises to head on to higher ground, 200 feet above river level should be safe.

2. Its landscape is ever-changing.

From a distance, Mount Rainier may seem solid and permanent but, up close, it constantly changes. This spring, melting snow reveal subalpine meadows with flowers that rapidly bloom for pollinating insects, and foraging animals ensure the continuity of life despite the summer that lasts for only two months.

As a wanderer, you also need to be prepared for the changing conditions on the mountain such as retracing hiking routes, snow avalanches, rushing streams and changing weather.  Gear up for potential difficulties you may encounter when you decide to go hiking, snow boarding or climbing.

Mount Rainier

Our group, for example, was initially planning to enjoy the views at Sunrise, the highest point in the park reachable by car but closed roads going to the area made us change our plans to go to visit Longmire, the Narada Falls and the Paradise Visitors Center instead.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Factoring in some flexibility in your sightseeing will ensure that everyone still has a good time despite changes in plans. Be sure to note road closure signs and other safety notices on the way.  You can dial 9-1-1 from any phone located within the park for emergency assistance.

3. Its wilderness is home to diverse fauna.

Beyond the roads, parking lots and visitor centers is sprawling wild land: over 97 percent of the Mount Rainier National Park is protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act that keeps it free from development.  Here, animals such as black bears, beavers, mountain goats, spotted owls and the recently reintroduced Pacific fishers, can roam and live freely in the thick forests, lush meadows, rushing rivers and sparkling lakes.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

While exploring Mount Rainier, you can take the opportunity to enjoy all the relaxing green spaces to recharge and reinvigorate yourself away from the stresses of city living.  You can also take in the wonders of nature that are in abundance in the area, thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Parks Service.

Mount Rainier National Park is located in East Ashford, Washington, 90 miles (about 2 hours drive) from Seattle.  The park charges USD30 (Php1,565) for every passenger vehicle, or USD25 (Php1,304)  for every motorcycle.  Walk-ins and bicyclists are charged USD15 (Php783).

For more details about the Mount Rainier National Park, visit its website.

Check out the other attractions the fam and I visited during our US trip:

Sightseeing at the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, Snohomish County, WA

Did you know that aside from guiding mariners by night or during storms, lighthouses also serve as daymarks – landmarks that are visible from the sea during daylight hours.  To serve as a day mark, the light tower should be brightly painted, and feature distinctive colors and patterns.

One such light tower in the Mukilteo Lighthouse which the fam explored during our trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Designed by renowned  architect Carl W. Leick, this Victorian-style lighthouse, which stands 38 feet high (one of the shortest in the United States), has been operating since March 1, 1906.  By 2001, the US Coast Guard has transferred the Mukilteo Light Station property to the City of Mukilteo, although it still maintains the light and the foghorn as working aids to navigation.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

When it was originally built, the lighthouse was equipped with an oil lamp and a rotating lens; the oil lamp had to be refilled and the rotating lens had to be rewound every three hours.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Currently, its light is made possible by a fourth order Fresnel lens built in Paris, France in 1852 and brought to Mukilteo when the lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1927.  With a flash pattern of two seconds on / three seconds off which is unique to Mukilteo, the lighthouse is now fully automated and on 24/7.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Atop the light tower is a breathtaking view of the Possession Sound, named by George Vancouver in 1792 when he claimed possession of the land of “New Georgia” for Great Britain.  Possession Sound connects the main Puget Sound basin to the south with Saratoga Passage and Port Susan to the north.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Beside the lighthouse is a structure known as the Assistant Keeper’s House which was also designed by Architect Leick as part of the light station.  Today, it serves as a venue for historical exhibits and as a gift shop for visitors.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Encompassing the light station compound, the sandy beach and shoreline walkway is the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park.  This has one of the most easily accessible shorelines in the Snohomish County, especially among those needing ADA access.  It also displays sculptures by Tulalip tribal carvers and artworks by Joe Grobin and James Madison.

The fam spent a long while here just enjoying the view, skipping rocks along the beach and cooling off with some ice cream at the nearby Diamond Knot outlet.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Mukilteo Lighthouse, WA

Diamond Knot, Mukilteo

The Mukilteo Lighthouse Park is a thirty to forty-minute car ride from Seattle.  It is located at 609 Front St, Mukilteo, WA 98275, open 4am to 10pm from May 1 to September 30, and 6am to 10pm from October 1 to April 30.  For inquiries or more information, call (425) 263.8180 or visit its website.

Check out the attractions the fam and I visited during our US trip:

 

Five things to enjoy at The Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, OR

After our visit to Cannon Beach, OR, the fam needed to rest a bit before embarking on our epic 9-hour drive from Washinton to California. After checking Expedia, bro suggested The Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA.

The hotel is styled as a rustic mountain lodge which just happens to be located in the heart of the city. Built with hand-hewn logs and decorated with indigenous artworks and crafts amidst its refreshing natural environs, The Heathman Lodge provides guests with the true flavor of the Northwest.

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

So what appeal can a lodge-style cabin hold for a family of Filipino tourists like us who found themselves in the Pacific Northwest? Let me cite five examples.

Convenient location.

Want to go all out on the shopping opportunities in Portland?  (By the way, check out my post on Outlet Shopping in Oregon.)  Want to check out the sights of Seattle?  All these and more are a short driving distance from the hotel.

If you’re feeling hungry, the hotel’s very own Hudson’s Bar and Grill can serve up your particular cravings, or you can venture some distance out to Thai Wok Kitchen where we had my Mother’s Day Dinner.

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

Heading off for the long drive to California? This hotel was our starting point for the epic drive to San Francisco.

Indigenous art and artifacts.

A significant part of Pacific Northwest character is the body of artwork and artifacts indigenous to the area.  These take the form of colorful blankets from Oregon’s Pendleton Woolen Mills, portraits of Western characters in the lobby, handcrafted antler and cut-metal sconces, and a fossilized fifteen-million-year-old tree trunk collected from Arlington, Oregon.

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

No-frills yet comfy accommodation.

To be honest, one really shouldn’t expect luxury at The Heathman Lodge.  What you can look forward to is understated comfort: from the comfortable queen-size beds with Tempur-Pedic mattresses and the spacious toilet and bath, basic conveniences such as unlimited WiFi, phone line, refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave, as well as exclusive access to a breakfast/reception room that serves continental breakfast every morning.

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

The Heathman Lodge

Recreation facilities.

Feel like working out? Hubby was able to spend some time with the treadmill and weights at the hotel’s gym while my little boy and myself enjoyed ourselves at the hotel’s indoor heated pool.

The Heathman Lodge

Service with a smile.

All the hotel’s staff were friendly and accommodating.  From the receptionists at the lobby offering the free gourmet coffee to guests, the staff assigned to the breakfast room providing us with trays since we opted to take our breakfast in our room, to the personnel we meet in the hallways, the people behind the hotel go the extra mile in meeting and anticipating our needs

We booked our overnight stay via Expedia for USD133.60 (Php7,188), which, for me, is quite a good deal.  Overall, our stay was quite lovely and I wished we could have stayed longer.

The Heathman Lodge is located at 7801 NE Greenwood Drive Vancouver, Washington, 98662.  For inquiries and reservations, call 360-254-3100.

Check out my posts on other accommodations:

Tips for Oregon Outlet Shopping

I’m not much of a shopper, probably because I’m inherently frugal and I get depressed when I can’t immediately find stuff in my size.

That aversion to shopping didn’t apply when my family and I dropped by the Woodburn Premium Outlets in Woodburn, Oregon on our drive back to Washington State from California during our US vacation.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Oregon currently enjoys a 0% sales tax statewide, a blessed trait it shares with only four other states: Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire.

Little wonder, then, that Oregon is one of the US’ prime shopping destinations.

Woodburn Premium Outlets, in particular, is conveniently located off Interstate 5 between Portland and Salem. It is the largest tax-free outlet mall in the western part of the US, with over 100 stores which include premium brands such as Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Forever 21, Michael Kors, Nike, and more. Aside from the 0% sales tax, shoppers can enjoy additional discounts from clearance sales and in-store promos. Shopaholics and even us frugal shoppers will definitely find great deals and savings here.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

As with most destinations and especially if you’re a budget traveller like me, it’s best to have a plan when shopping at Woodburn Premium Outlets. Here are some tips that served our family well in maximizing our Oregon shopping opportunity.

One: Do your homework.

Check out Woodburn Premium Outlets website – www.premiumoutlets.com – to scope out available merchandise and ongoing promos. You can also consult the site for a map of the outlets as well as dining options within the mall.

Two: Arrive early.

The fam discovered that it’s actually best to arrive as soon as the mall opens. The items are freshly and neatly arranged in their racks or shelves and you can easily spot and check out on limited-stock items.

Also, you will have more time to check in with your family and friends from back home on their bilins. Take advantage of the free Wi-fi in most stores to send your nears-and-dears pictures of their requested item in the store before you buy it for them.

Three: Divide and conquer.

One hundred plus stores are a lot to cover. So split up: those with kids can go straight to Disney Outlet Store or Osh Kosh B’gosh; those shopping for clothes can head on to Calvin Klein, Forever 21 or American Eagle Outfitters; the ones on the lookout for bags and shoes can look no farther than Naturalizer or Coach; while those looking for housewares can hie off to Corelle. This way, your group can cover more ground in less time.

Four: Dress comfortably.

With over 380,000 square feet of retail space to cover, you might want to make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Plus, expect to do a lot of fittings so wear something you cab fit clothes over or can easily be taken off in the fitting room.

Five: Be on the lookout for in-store deals.

The 0% sales tax already affords you with great savings but guess what, you can take advantage of in-store promos (such as buy one, get one at 50% off, etc.) for additional discounts of up to 65% off.

Don’t forget to scour the clearance racks! I scored a couple of hard-to-look-for boot-cut jeans at American Eagle Outfitters for USD19.99 (Php1,053) which would have cost me close to Php2,000 back home. And to think I was originally looking at a pair of jeans priced at USD59!

Also, upon checkout, the cashier may ask you for your email address or US phone number in exchange for additional discounts. I’m generally with this as I already have an email address dedicated to sales promotions.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Woodburn Premium Outlets is located at 1001 Arney Road, Woodburn, OR 97071-8447, open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. Special mall hours may apply during holidays.

For more details, visit its website.

Enjoying the wind, waves and wildlife at Cannon Beach, OR

The weekend before the fam’s epic road trip to San Francisco, my bro took us to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast, particularly the Cannon Beach area.

It is nearly four miles of publicly accessible fine-sand beaches with a huge rock formation called Haystack Rock rising out 235 feet from the shore’s edge. It was formed 17 millions years ago by the same lava flows that created many of the headlands and rock formations that make up the Oregon Coast. We were fortunate that it was easily accessible during our visit due to low tide.

Cannon Beach, OR

Haystack Rock is actually a National Wildlife Refuge where visitors can observe tidepools teeming with marine life. Tidepool creatures such as soft-bodied anemones, tidepool fishes and sea slugs are interesting to look at but are extremely fragile and may be senstive to exposure to air and sun. Visitors are advised to refrain from touching or moving the creatures they encounter in the tidepools.

How do you catch sight of these creatures? Here are some tips from the locals:

  • Be patient. You may need to take some time to see them.
  • Be still. Crabs, small fish, snails and see slugs nestled under rocks and seaweed may not be immediately visible.
  • Be careful. Walk on the sand or bare rock to avoid stepping on and harming living creatures like barnacles and mussels.

Haystack Rock is also an active nesting spot for many seabirds. Tufted puffins, in particular, are easily observable from spring to summer.

During quieter seasons, herds of Roosevelt Elk are sometimes known to emerge from the thick forests to graze along the coastal meadows, while Gray Whales make their annual migration.

Cannon Beach, OR

The wide expanse of sand also makes a great venue for jogging, walking with dogs, or just hanging out with family or friends.

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Well, our group certainly took advantage of the photo opps that the place afforded!

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Interested in visiting? Here are other attractions nearby that you may want to include in your itinerary:

  • Ecola State Park. It boasts of easy walking paths, hiking trails and picnic areas, brrathtaking views of the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and vantage areas for bird- and whale-watching.
  • Arcadia Beach. Located two miles south of Cannon Beach, it offers beach access to Lion Rock and beach walks to Hug Point to the south and Silver Point to the north.
  • Oswald West State Park. Stretching four miles along a temperate rainforest, this affords visitors with a picturesque secluded sandy beach and hiking trails that lead to awesome views of the Pacific Ocean.

For more details or help in planning your visit to Cannon Beach, visit CannonBeach.org.

Check out my posts the other attractions the fam and I visited during our US trip:

What to teach kids about traveling

Traveling is a rewarding activity for many of us. Going to unfamiliar places broadens our horizons by exposing us to novel experiences, diverse cultures and to new friends.

It can be more so for kids; taking them on out adventures into the wider world affords us opportunities to teach them lessons that will prove valuable to them in the future, not just when they venture out on their own trips, but as they go through their daily life.

Here are some of the lessons that you can impart to your kids as you go on the road.

One: How to travel light.

There is a limit to what you can take with you as you move from one place to another. Whether it depends on what your body can carry or the luggage capacity of your means of transportation, this limit forces you to prioritize which of your possessions will be of most use to you as you travel.

You will need to guide your little ones as they pick and choose items for the trip such as clothes that are easy to clean, those that don’t take up much space in your luggage and their essential toiletries.

Two: How to keep themselves entertained.

Not every moment you spend traveling will be exciting or interesting. You can expect downtimes when you can either rest or find a way to occupy your time.

The little ones may get antsy or bored during long wait periods or while in transit. So it would be wise to plan ahead with them on how they can keep themselves entertained while still packing light. They will need to leave behind their bulky game consoles in favor of easy-to-carry books, a pack of cards, and, with your permission of course, mobile electronics.

Traveling Kid

You can also take the opportunity to point out the sceneries you’re passing through or fill them in on the places where you’re going to drum up their excitement or spike their interest.

Three: How to discover on their own.

Some kids are adventurous by nature. They will want to strike out on their own. Nurture this inclination by helping them identify interesting places where they can safely venture out by themselves such as parks or play areas, with you keeping yourself easily accessible to them should they need you.

Of course, you will need to equip for their quest. Teach them to read maps and road signs, agree on places where they can meet up with you and point out places they can go to in case they need help.

Traveling Kid

Four: How to keep themselves safe.

Foremost among our concerns as parents is the safety of our kids. When traveling, little ones should be instructed to always stay near or within your sight, to be wary of strangers and to keep your contact details handy so that they can ask someone to get in touch with you should you get separated.

Five: How to stay on budget.

A big consideration in traveling is, of course, our budget. There may be times when the things you want to buy or the activities you want to experience may be beyond your means. Usually, you prioritize those that are more affordable or you limit yourself to those that are essential to your travel experience.

Similarly, you need to help your kids understand that they won’t be able to buy all their hearts’ desires during the trip. You can negotiate with them on which purchases you can afford that they can still enjoy.

Six: How to be good guests.

Remember, no matter which place you visit, you are basically visitors there. You and the kiddies should therefore behave as good guests. Aside from being polite to the people that you meet, you would also need to brush up on the basics of local customs so as not to offend anyone.

Traveling Kid

Furthermore, it is important to respect the local environment by following their conservation laws and cleanliness practices. As the famous quote among travellers goes:

Leave nothing but footprints.

Take nothing but pictures.

Kill nothing but time.

Seven: How to be thankful.

Not everyone has the means and opportunity to travel. It is therefore important for the kids to realize and appreciate the fact that they are able to.

For me, the best way to be thankful for opportunities such as these is to make the most of them in terms of learning and enjoyment.

Planning a trip with the kiddies any time soon? Do share your tips for traveling with kids.