Come Face to Face With a Nuno Sa Punso at This New QC Attraction

Mythology comes alive in Quezon City.

(SPOT.ph) Unless you grew up in the age of YouTube, Netflix, and Fortnite, you probably spent your summer vacation at your grandmother's house, which still has its capiz windows and wooden floorboards intact. Afternoons were for storytelling sessions, while you and your cousins gathered around lola's rattan-made rocking chair. It's where you had your first taste of Filipino folklore and tales from the underworld: the all-powerful kapre, the frightening tikbalang, and the beautiful diwata. You know better than to play after dark at the empty lot beside the old house, unless you want to be cursed at by the nuno sa punso. (And if you really must, you know how to say "Tabi-tabi po.")

Tipsy Tales is a new "immersive theater" attraction at Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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This scene from your childhood is returned to life by the makers of Tipsy Tales, "Manila's first fully immersive experience on Filipino folklore” at Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. It opened to the public on July 15, but is having a grand launch on August 19.

It reintroduces us to our mythology, which most of us have forgotten.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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Behind this one-of-a-kind concept are Quina Baterna and Wayne Yeang, who both decided to quit their corporate jobs and create something out of their experiences from around the globe. Yeang, who grew up in the United Kingdom, takes inspiration from the immersive concepts he has seen in London. “They are booming there. And it was one of my favorite things,” he adds.

Tipsy Tales is similar to the book series we used to enjoy as a child, Choose Your Own Adventure—only the characters are "alive" and your choices have real-life consequences (or, at least, for 75 minutes). It also brings to mind escape rooms, except you have a number of rooms to escape from.

“We wanted to create an experience that was a bit different from all the immersive things popping up now, which is mostly geared towards Instagram or social media. And we wanted an experience that would ask people to slow down, put your phones down, and enter a new world with people you know or people you don't know. And really have an authentic, fun experience,” says Baterna.

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The story of Lambana starts at Lola's house.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Do you remember the scary monsters from your grandmother's stories?
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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Lambana brings you a one-of-a-kind experience where creatures from Filipino mythology come alive.
PHOTO BY Christa I. De La Cruz

For its debut show, Tipsy Tales presents Lambana, which follows no one else’s story but yours. In this narrative, you are the protagonist who is visiting your grandmother with your cousins. The rest of it? Well, you’ll have to find out yourself. Just be prepared to meet creatures from the world of Lambana—from a cunning nuno sa punso to a seductive sirena. Unlike theatrical shows where you just sit back and watch the rest of the scenes unfold, Lambana lets you interact with the characters, touch the set, and decide what you—as the lead role in this story—are doing next. Choices range from something as blatant as drinking a magical juice or not, to something as big as saving a friend or leaving him/her behind.

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"When we're starting up and looking for concepts, we thought of Filipino folklore, sobrang rich ng content. But from a tourism standpoint, wala pang place na dedicated for it,” explains Baterna on why they decided to dwell on our local mythology. They read up on the topic, made use of published materials like 101 Kagila-Gilalas na Nilalang by Edgar Calabia Samar, listened to personal experiences of friends and family, and created this otherworldly place. They even wrote the script themselves, especially since Baterna has an improv background while Yeang followed the writing manual Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.

The nuno sa punso is the protector of our forests.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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It is believed that the nuno can curse you if you desecrate their home.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

“I like that they're very human. For example, when you talk about the kapre, he's a dual kind of person. He's a protector of the forest, but he's also known to smoke and kidnap people, plus the rumor that he fell in love once. There's a human element to our monsters that I feel is quite beautiful,” Baterna shares.

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But Lambana’s immersive nature is not all about deciding whether to go left or right—metaphorically. It also features a personalized experience, which means that every time you go into this world, you’ll never go through the same things. The characters, like the grandmother, call you by your name. There may even be a college diploma with your name on her aparador.

Careful, you might get trapped in the kapre's house forever.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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Clues around Lambana can lead you to your next adventure.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

“We wanted a level of immersion wherein even the scents of the room were different. We play with temperature, we memorize people's names, we act depending on where the guests are standing on the set,” adds Baterna. It’s 50% script, it’s 50% improv, she explains. They also add bits and pieces constantly, making sure that every “run” is a never-before-seen piece. "We believe that part of the magic is the mystery,” Yeang says.

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The show runs for an hour or so, but in Lambana, time seems to stop. For your “lola,” you were never gone; but for you and your “cousins,” the adventure is like no other.

Tipsy Tales is at 4/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City. Tickets for Lambana, which is priced at P2,000, are available through hello@tipsytales.ph or Tipsy Tales' website.

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