Horror house in Metro Manila


asylum manila

We Filipinos love our mythical stories and Halloween parties, but to get a proper chill down our spine, it doesn’t get much better than a dark haunted house with realistic ghosts jumping out from nowhere and shrieking at you every other step you take.

asylum manila

Scream your lungs out at Asylum Manila, the first horror house in Metro Manila that is a scary movie experience come to life, packed into a formerly abandoned 3-storey building in Quezon City. With 50 scare rooms, this place seemed like a bad idea for someone who watched the movie IT through his fingers like me.


The back story of Asylum Manila – a horror house in the metro


a ghoul sitting on a throne

The zombie nurse who guarded the entrance told us the fictional tale of Asylum Manila. Dr. Vanicutt, a once-celebrated psychiatrist, opened the Asylum in 1939 to treat mentally ill patients in Manila. When his wife passed away and his daughter Anastasia mysteriously disappeared, Dr. Vanicutt also lost his mind. Instead of treating his patients, he began performing grotesque and unthinkable surgeries on them.

Now, the Asylum is riddled with evil, haunted by tortured souls, and crawling with deserted patients seeking a way out. Rumour has it that Dr. Vanicutt is still residing in the Asylum waiting for new patients to torture.

Once we were all signed in, we were labelled as “patients” of the asylum before getting whisked away by another staff member dressed as a caped ghoul. We started on the third floor, and worked our way downwards…


Over 50 realistic scare rooms


a headless mannequin

You might think spending 45 minutes in a haunted house sounds way too long. But with more than 50 rooms to go through and ghouls to dodge in this period of time – you can get an extension to an hour upon request – you’ll feel as if you were running a marathon through operating rooms with realistic fake blood splashed on the walls, a mad scientist’s laboratory, and a human slaughterhouse.


The scariest – and most memorable – rooms


I walked in already shaking in my shoes, sweating through my cotton shirt after my encounter with the zombie nurses and caped ghoul. And the first room we entered was Dr. Vanicutt’s abandoned operating room, which had streaks of dried blood on the wall and a dissected cadaver resting on the surgical table. When I walked past it, a deranged patient popped out of its stomach – I screamed my lungs out, of course.

asylum manila
Image credit: @asylummanila

The scares kept on coming as I ran through a crematorium, where there was a skeletal ghoul burning what were supposed to be his past victims in a bloody prison cell. Deranged patients called out for help when I passed by, and I walked into a human body locker where I kept bumping into severed thighs and arms hanging like cold meat in a freezer.

These were unnerving, but the most skin-tingling room was the bedroom of Anastasia, Dr. Vonecutt’s missing daughter. The Victorian-style interiors were lined with demented dolls and stuffed animals. Before I exited the room, a life-sized animatronic Annabelle doll sitting at the center of the room in a rocking chair suddenly came to life.

a bloody ghoul
A common Asylum ghoul


Hollywood horror movie-inspired rooms


Besides the Vanicutt family members, some of the creepy ghouls you’ll find in Asylum Manila are villains and monsters from Hollywood films you wished stayed on the 2D screen. I was proud of myself for making it past the last few rooms until I entered a room painted red, with low drumming music signalling that something was lurking.

I first heard my companions scream, then shrieked myself as I laid my eyes on a ghost-like figure dressed as Valak, the nun from the “Conjuring” franchise, chanting incomprehensibly at me. She continued casting a curse on me, as my failed attempt at taking a close-up shot of her resulted in an unusable photograph.

the movie character it and a pile of toys
IT and his mountain of toys

Having an inexplicable phobia of clowns since childhood, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to face IT in this room. I slid down a sewer pipe and followed a trail of toys into a damp, dark room. As the group whipped out their phones and started to take snaps of the mountain of toys in the middle, I scoped the room for any sign of a blood-thirsty clown.

Everyone fell silent when we heard his hulking clown laughter. Then IT popped out from a hidden door with his threatening smile and signature red balloon. I hid behind one of my companions and covered my eyes with my fingers.


Why Asylum is next-level creepy


asylum manila entrance
Image credit: @asylummanila

The founders took inspiration from horror films and you can see this in the use of characters from horror movies such as IT, Annabelle from the Conjuring Universe movies, Chucky from the Child’s Play movies, and more who are familiar to the horror-movie educated.

The sets and special effects were reminiscent of the haunted houses I’ve been to in California. The dried blood looked and smelled real, the surgical instruments had a used quality, and the delipidated furniture, prison cells, faux straitjackets and every little prop suspended our disbelief.

asylum manila
Image credit: @asylummanila

The tempo of the music whether instrumental or eerie electro would slowly increase, signaling a scare from a caped ghoul – timed perfectly to the accelerations of your heartbeat.

What tips the scales of this horror house into true terror are the actors. No matter how intensely you scream, run, or hide, they never break out of character, and know how to prey on your fear.

While I was too chicken to goofily interact with any of the ghouls and asylum patients, others did. One of my companions tried taking a selfie with a ghoul but the ghoul simply growled and continued trying to scare us, like a true member of the walking dead.


Enter at your own risk


coffins and a sign saying the smart local

Asylum is a fun and thrilling bonding activity to do with friends and family any time of the year besides just Halloween season. But it’s not for everyone. Because of the high scare level of the attraction, those below 12 aren’t allowed. Everyone is required to sign a waiver before entering and those with asthma or heart problems are advised against the activity.

If you’re thinking twice about heading to Asylum Manila because you’re not sure If you can build up the courage, you’ll be relieved to know that there are well-lit areas to catch your breath and interspersed photo breaks where you can pose for souvenir photos in front of wacky backgrounds.

asylum manila
Image credit: @asylummanila

While you can’t take photos in every room at the Asylum, there are designated rooms where you can capture content for the gram. Unfortunately, some of my pictures were blurry because I took them while shivering in fear.

At any time when you feel that you cannot continue, you can signal to one of the many CCTV cameras with a simple wave, and the non-costumed staff will guide you outside the premises.


Haunted house attraction in Quezon City


If you want to experience world-class thrills or test your courage this spooky season, Asylum Manila is your best bet for a legitimate experience of a horror house in Metro Manila. While I had my fair share of screams and embarrassing scares, I truly had fun and came home with great stories to tell coworkers.

Admission fee: P699 (~USD13.69) Mon-Thurs, P799 (~USD15.65) Fri-Sun
*Take P100 (~USD1.96) off with a valid student ID.
Address: 1148 E. Rodriquez Sr. Ave. New Manila, Quezon City
Opening hours: 4PM-12AM, Daily
Telephone: (02) 243 9322 / 0917 300 7408

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Photography by Ken Coseto