Saturday, January 30, 2016

The mystic of MysterEscape

“The mystic of MysterEscape”
Sun.Star Davao, Jan. 30, 2016

Growing up reading Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and even my dad’s Perry Mason books, I always loved the suspense and mystic of solving a mystery.

So, when my kids and their friends wanted to try MysterEscape for the second time, I wanted to tag along for curiosity’s sake (yeah, right!). At first, I just wanted to quietly “observe” and let the young ones do the mystery-solving, trying to unlock every roomful of challenge. But, ten minutes after, my mommy friend Bobsey and I could not resist and joined in the action too, discovering some clues here and there.

After much intense deciphering and unlocking of codes, we finally broke free from our assigned escape room at exactly 60 minutes. What a thrilling achievement it was for Team Sibs!

Curious about MysterEscape? Let’s snoop around and get to know the brilliant and imaginative minds behind Mindanao’s first ever escape room!

*Who are the people behind MysterEscape?

There are seven people behind MysterEscape: Leilah Alpad (Lei), Ma. Cecilia Zamudio (Ces), Emily Quinton, May Ragudo, Precious Aurea Pojas, Pia Charis Pojas (Pia), and Philip John Pojas.

The barkada originally consisted of the classmates who studied and graduated together from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.  Lei, Ces, Emily, and Precious graduated from the UP College of Business Administration with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accountancy. All of them are Certified Public Accountants (CPA). Precious is a CPA-lawyer. They were later joined by May who is also a CPA and by Pia who is the younger sister of Precious. Philip is the younger brother of Precious and is also a lawyer. He is in the private practice here in Davao City. Except for Pia and Philip, all are based in Manila.

*Why did you decide to open MysterEscape in Davao?

We chose to open MysterEscape in Davao City for three reasons. First, Davao City is the biggest and most populous city in Mindanao. Second, there were no escape rooms in Davao City despite the fact that it is a major city and that several escape rooms have already opened in Metro Manila and in Cebu City. We wanted to be the first to introduce it in Davao City and Mindanao. And third, three members of the barkada (There are six of us) were from Davao City. We felt that Davao City is the most ideal place to open MysterEscape. It is a major city and Dabawenyos are very much sophisticated and fun-loving that they would enjoy the cerebral delights offered by MysterEscape.

*What is an escape room game?

Escape room games are live adventure games wherein people are locked in a room and they have to observe and use the elements of the environment to decipher puzzles, find clues and hidden objects, and escape the room within a set time limit.

Our escape rooms are practically for everybody – it is ideal as a bonding experience for friends or family and is an excellent mode of teambuilding for co-workers or employees. And, the rule of the game is simple: Solve the mystery and escape the room within an hour.

*How is MysterEscape different from the other escape rooms in the country?

MysterEscape is similar to other escape rooms located in Manila in that we all share the escape room concept. But, there ends our similarity.

In other aspects, MysterEscape is totally different. We have unique storylines and puzzles. And, most of all, we are proud to say that MysterEscape delivers quality escape room experience at affordable rates. The average rate offered by other escape rooms is around P400 to P600 per player regardless of the number of players in a room. In MysterEscape, the rate per player changes depending on the number of players. The more players in a room, the cheaper the rate each player needs to pay. For instance, if a group of six persons would play at one of our rooms on a Friday or the weekend, each player need only pay P230. On a weekday, it would only be P180 per player.
*Can you explain the concept of each room?

MysterEscape currently has three escape rooms: (1) Secret Agents or Spies on a Mission; (2) Murder at Apartment 999; and (3) Lucila’s Curse.

In Secret Agents or Spies on a Mission, players become secret agents or covert operatives who must infiltrate the den of the most dangerous criminal this world has ever known. They must in one hour locate and steal the secret formula for creating a zombie army that will lead to the zombie apocalypse.

In Murder at Apartment 999, players get to be like Sherlock Holmes as they try to solve the mystery behind the death of a famous model/endorser. They only have one hour to investigate and identify the killer before he or she forever escapes the clutches of the police.

And, lastly in Lucila’s Curse, players find themselves trapped in a haunted house cursed by Lucila’s tormented soul. They have one hour to escape or risk being trapped forever with Lucila.

*What are the mechanics/rules when you enter a MysterEscape room?

Before they can enter the room, players are made to register and sign a waiver form wherein they agree not to disclose game details such as clues, puzzles, and, most especially, the solution to the puzzles.

MysterEscape rooms can be played by a maximum of six persons for a time limit of 60 minutes. There will be an assigned game master who will be in the room along with the players to monitor the game and to assist the players depending on the level of difficulty of the escape room game.

Inside the room, they can touch, hold and examine anything except those with orange tape on them. Those with orange tape means they are fragile and need not be touched or handled.

*What are the levels of difficulty?

Each escape room has three levels of difficulty: Houdini, Difficult, and Easy.

In the Houdini level, players will have no chance to request for clues or assistance from the game master. They get a shot in our Hall of Fame in the event that they are able to escape the room within one hour. All teams start at the Houdini level.

But once the teams are stumped or are unable to move forward in the escape room, they can choose to downgrade to the Difficult level wherein they get two chances to request for clues or assistance.

They can further downgrade to the Easy level which entitles them to three additional clues or assistance from the game master.

However, if you downgrade from the Houdini level, the team will no longer qualify for the Hall of Fame, even if it was able to get out of the room within the allotted time.

*What room do you highly recommend for families to try?

All our rooms are great for families. It just depends on the inclinations and preferences of each family.

Where there are children as young as 8 or 9 years old, we recommend Spies on a Mission and Murder at Apartment 999. Both rooms are child-friendly. But, some families love the scare factor, in which case, Lucila’s Curse would be ideal for them. Most of the families that tried Lucila’s Curse are those whose children are already in the high-school level or are already young adults.

*What are your future plans for MysterEscape?

We plan to change room themes by April 22, our 6th monthsary, and we hope to further expand within Davao City and in other cities in Mindanao. We also plan to give promos and rewards to our loyal customers. So, always check out our website and FB page for the latest updates of MysterEscape.

MysterEscape is open on Tuesday until Sunday from 1 pm to 10 pm. It is located at the Mezzanine floor, Adelfa Bldg., Lanang, Davao City, right across the Davao City Water District.

You may try to book online through their website,, or email them at They may also be reached through their FB page (MysterEscape), cellphone no. 0929 381 6611, and landline no. 2244179.

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