After a break from the holiday season we start the year once again with our first event for 2016. Today was special because I was celebrating my birthday, together with Ate Camille, who made the trip to Mystery Manila possible. As they say about birthdays, “Don’t just count your years, make your years count”. I was privileged to be given the opportunity to spend my birthday with the girls of Holy Family Home Foundation Inc.
Our partnership with Holy Family Home started in April 2013. Located in Pembo, Makati City, it is a non-profit organization managed by the Congregation of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters. It provides long-term residential care, protection, and rehabilitation for over 30 abandoned, neglected, orphaned, and physically abused girls. This is our 12th event with them to date.
Ate Camille, her friends, and the U! Happy Events core team arrived early and waited eagerly for instructions as for most of us, this was our first time in Mystery Manila.
Mystery Manila is an activity for people who want to try something different and be adventurous. You can choose from several themed mysteries offered in their various locations where you get to solve the mysteries using the clues within a given time period. They opened their newest location at the Century City Mall late last year.
The staff divided us into six groups of six with a mix of volunteers and kids. We did the registration and were given Mystery Manila vests to be worn during the activity. There are several mysteries in this branch. We participated in 4 of the mysteries.
Ate Camille’s team, as well as Ate Rica and Ate Issa’s teams were assigned to the Crime of the Century. Crime of the Century was the hardest of all the challenges as the players had to go around the mall to look for clues to find the hidden bomb planted in the mall and prevent it from exploding. The teams even had to go all the way to the basement where the office was to retrieve one of the clues. They had to ask security guards and information desks for clues that helped them solve the problem. The team had 90 minutes to solve the mystery. We picked the older kids to join this group since it was the most challenging one. Despite the difficult problems Ate Rica’s team was able to complete the mystery under the allotted time! Ate Rica and Ate Monica, with adrenaline rushing, really worked hard to encourage the kids to participate and solve the mystery as quickly as they could. Good job to her team team!
Kuya Richard’s team was assigned to the Pym Particle. In this mystery the players had to solve the puzzles and clues to prevent the Pym Particle from falling into the wrong hands. The players have to figure out answers to science-related questions to be able to unlock all the rooms one by one as the rooms got smaller and smaller. It was a bit challenging as you had to know the answers offhand, otherwise it was hard to figure out the answers. Kuya Richard’s team, unfortunately, wasn’t able to solve the mystery but the team had a great time playing.
Ate Chris’ team was assigned to the Virtual Voyage. Here the players were trapped in a virtual world and they must find a way to escape back to reality or be trapped in limbo forever. The teams were given visuals which had clues on how to solve the mystery. The team was able to solve the mystery under the allotted time!
Ate Amy and I were assigned to the Sinister Sensorium. In this room everyone was held captive and the killer had taken away the senses from each player. It was up to the players to figure out the codes to unlock and free ourselves from capture. Since we had 7 members there were 3 blinds, 2 deafs, and 2 mutes. The 3 blinds were the kids from Holy Family Home. It was funny as the kids kept trying to take of their blind folds and the gamekeeper kept reminding them they were still in the game so they weren’t allowed to take them off. It was a bit of a challenge since with one sense taken away from each player, it was hard to communicate with each other. I was one of the mutes and it was a challenge to say something to the deaf using signals, since they can’t hear, and they had to voice out the message to the blind, who couldn’t see. All of us were chained to the bench so we couldn’t not move around and had to rely heavily on the communication for the first clue. We had so much fun as we tried to figure out the codes of the locks to free ourselves. With the help of the gamekeeper who gave additional clues our team was able to unlock all the members and find the room key under the allotted time! Mystery Solved!
After the fun and exhausting game we had our early lunch. Everyone chatted in excitement as we talked about our rooms and compared it with the others. Groups came out one by one as the completion time varied among the groups. Some were able to finish within a short period of time. Only some teams were able to finish but even if some teams weren’t able to everyone definitely had a great time.
After our early lunch Kuya Harvard and U! Happy Events prepared a birthday cake for Ate Camille and me and the children from Holy Family Home sang us a happy birthday song. We made a wish then blew out our candles. We then gave out gifts to the girls. We gave pillows and toys since the ages varied among the children. We then had our group photo taken and kids hugged and thanked us as they said their goodbyes.
It was a wonderful morning celebrating my birthday with these children, Ate Camille and her friends, and the team of U! Happy Events who worked hard to make this event possible. As they say, “You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness.”