This immersive play is like ‘Bandersnatch’ IRL, except it’s about Filipino folklore

This immersive play is like ‘Bandersnatch’ IRL, except it’s about Filipino folklore

Remember all those superstitious rules your lola told you to follow? Always say “tabi-tabi po” when passing through a wooded area, say  “tao po” when calling someone inside a house to assure them you’re human, and don’t forget the practice of pagpag after a wake, lest a malicious spirit follow you home. Since we were children, we’ve all been taught that we Filipinos aren’t the only creatures living on our islands.

So what happens if you break the rules and get some elementals angry? In “Lambana,” you get to experience what it would be like to get on the wrong side of our magical neighbors. Trust us—it’s not a world full of Princess Ariel-type mermaids and sunshine.

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Located at Eastwood Mall, “Lambana” is a 360-degree multi-sensory experience created by Tipsy Tales where you are the story’s main character. And if you’re the main character, that also means the story is tailored to fit you. In “Lambana,” no two shows are alike—the cast and crew tailor each experience specifically for you. Don’t be surprised if you see pieces of “personal belongings” that eerily resemble your stuff IRL.

This also means you decide what happens. Ever tried “Bandersnatch” on Netflix where you decide Stefan’s grisly outcome? Well here, you are also the story’s decision-maker, but the catch is you decide your own fate.

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Sounds interesting, right? We thought so, too. That’s why we had to try the experience ourselves.

The 90-minute show starts out in your lola’s sala. The rattan rocking chair is front and center, you see photos in sepia, and the smell of baby powder is wafting in the air. After your lola greets you by name and tells you a majorly creepy bedtime story, she sends you off to bed (in her dead husband’s room, of course) while sinister thunderstorms sound in the distance.

After that, things get really crazy. Each space’s design, lighting, and even smell is engineered to transport you to the dark and treacherous world of “Lambana.” We were whisked away to a bizarre realm, made to drink mysterious potions, travel through a neon forest, and constantly look over our shoulders for a menacing kapre. We won’t tell you much, because we don’t like spoiling. (Also, a certain duwende might get angry with us if we do.)

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But we can tell you that every minute inside “Lambana” was thrilling. According to the show’s creators Quina Baterna and Wayne Yang, the experience wasn’t designed to be scary. But full disclosure: As a fairly nervous individual, I screamed in fear more times than I’d like to admit.

Lambana” is a great way to get your friends together if you’re tired of your usual hangs. It’s also a good way to find out if your friends would be willing to rescue you from a monster or use you as a human shield. Now, ready to have your third eye opened?

Photos from Rogin Losa and Tipsy Tales

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Giselle Barrientos
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