Sunday, July 17, 2016

My 31st Birthday: A Party to Die For

I've always been fond of mysteries and solving puzzles. When I was a kid, my favorite books to read were Nancy Drew and a bit of Hardy Boys. Also read Encyclopedia Brown. Then in high school, I played Cluedo a lot with my friends after school. I also have this vague recollection of watching murder mystery movies/TV series - you know the one with the famous line "The butler did it!"

So I've had it in my invisible bucket list to experience a murder mystery party ala Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. I've even come as far as attempting to organize a DIY murder mystery party (not that I've gotten far on that). Anyway, earlier this year I read about Murder Manila. 

What is it exactly? Murder Manila gives you a private, role playing game where YOU are the suspects, the victim and the culprit. They bring the mystery right to your doorstep or they can also set up a venue just for you. Murder Manila is from the same team that organizes Mystery Manila.

What will you get when you avail of Murder Manila? For the price that starts at Php8,000 for 8 people (additional Php500 for every person in excess), you'll get the following:

- a mystery that can be played for 2 hours complete with individual roles, objectives and other pertinent guidelines for each player such as costume and background story per character. 

- a gamekeeper/facilitator and host for the mystery solving portion 

- minor props such as clues, play money and detective kits needed for the mysttery 

- Mystery Manila shirt for the best actor, best in costume, fastest solver and the one with the most play money left at the end of the game

Since it was my birthday, I chose to have the venue of the murder mystery at my house. Currently, Murder Manila has two murder mystery stories: Murder at the Mansion and Revenge at the Reunion. is my murder mystery party theme:

For this particular theme, this is the story: you received an invite to a mysterious dinner party where you don't know anybody in the famous Mystery Mansion and the host is unknown. The night turns fatal when one of you gets killed just after dinner! And what's even more frightening? The killer is one of you! So who could it be? It's up to you to find out!

We started a bit later than the expected time since most of my guests arrived late. It was a rainy night. Really perfect for a murder mystery party though right? 

Here is our gamekeeper explaining how the game was going to go. 

And my guests listening to the gamekeeper. 

And yes, they're in costume. Meet Ver (Sgt. Slate) and Florian (Senator Peacock). 

Some of my other guests weren't able to make it on account that they got sick at the last minute and so I asked my teenage cousins and my friend's teenage niece to participate in the game too! 

Here are some of the props:

Name tags for each of the guests and a brown envelope that contains the objective and mission of each participant. 

And the pile of evidence that one has to examine to solve the mystery. 

And here is Ver aka Sgt. Slate reading the evidence. I rated her acting 5 so she was definitely given a lot of air time. Plus she really made an effort to come in costume! So when it came to awarding best in costume, was there ever any doubt who would be awarded? (",) 

Most of the time during the party, no script was provided. You'll have to adlib. A true test of one's acting skills! Also you can lie, cheat and blackmail other players! 

And so after two hours of playing the game, our mystery is SOLVED! Guess who the killer is? 

Meet the winners of the game: Ver (best in costume), Anerine (best actress), Maila (fastest solver) and Jackie (richest player). 

Maila's the lone mystery solver. Not bad for someone who's never played Cluedo in her life! 

Each of the winner got a Mystery Manila shirt as an award. Here's Anerine modeling hers. 

And this is me with my mom, the one who worked so hard to ensure we were all fed and satisfied with the food. 

I am so glad I chose to throw a murder mystery party over a staycation. I honestly was hesitant at first to have a party because it means mixing my friends whom I've met on various stages of my life. Flashback to my 24th birthday - the first time I tried to throw a themed party. Oh what a struggle that was! I'm glad years later, that was no longer the case. 

My friends and I enjoyed ourselves. I'm glad they were all very much willing to come in costume, act a part and most importantly socialize. They were a big part of what made the whole party as fun as it was! 

You can't fake big smiles like those! Happy 31st birthday to me! 

If you're curious about Murder Manila or you'd like to experience it for yourself, check out their website. They're very responsive. I just coordinated the whole thing with them through email, deposited down payment at the bank and voila! My murder mystery party was all set!

Next time I hope I get to try Revenge at the Reunion. And hopefully other murder mysteries they would be coming up with. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Happy Looks Like (Formerly Moments) Vol. 6

So I decided to change the name of this blog series from Moments to What Happy Looks Like. After much contemplating, I realized the latter is a more apt description of what this series is about - they are moments of my life but they are to be more specific moments that made me happy. And yes, the title is from a book I read before - What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

Anyway, here are the things that made me real happy this past two weeks.

1. Ending up watching a movie with Ver that we didn't plan to see in the first place band unexpectedly liking it 

Ver invited me to watch Me Before You. But while she did check the movie screening time, she didn't buy tickets just yet and I didn't probe. I guess we were both thinking since it was a weekday, there won't be a lot of people in the cinemas. So we took our time. Ate our dinner in a leisurely manner and chatted away. And then we ran out of movie seats! Ha! Ha! 

She still wanted to watch a movie and I suggested Independence Day The Resurgence even though I've seen it. It doesn't have a great story plot to it. In fact that didn't do the original Independence Day justice but I'd see it for Liam Hemsworth. Ver instead suggested Achy Breaky Hearts and that's how we ended up seeing this movie.

This film directed by Antonette Jadaone had all the feels. I could relate to Jodi Sta. Maria's character and friends in this movie as they talked about the good things and not-so-good things about being single. I could relate to Jodi's character when she was incessantly bombarded with the "Kelan ka mag-aasawa" question. I loved how she ended up finding fulfillment not by having a special someone but finding it in herself. Feel good movie. I'm glad she suggested it.

Ver and I in the cinema

2. Mark celebrates his 30th birthday at Red Box and I get free head charge

This Red Box get together is particularly made me happy for a couple of reasons. One, I finally got to hang out with my cousin, Mark again. He moved out of the house a couple of months ago so he could be nearer to his work place and since then I haven't seen much of him. I missed him of course. So him finally going to Makati and coming to hang with me was a big deal! It's one of those rare moments I was willing to haul my ass out on a Sunday - a rainy Sunday night. Plus since July is my birth month, my head charge at Red Box was waived. All I had to do was show my ID. Yay!

3. I had a get together with my ONE LOVE friends 

Three years after Leap 55 ONE LOVE ended and we're still meeting up! And it's always nice getting together with them. These people inspire me to make things happen in my life while enjoying it of course. Catch ups with them are always fun. It's one of those moments that I would venture to Ortigas braving the rain and rush hour for a dinner meet up.  

4. I got my very first fan sign! 

... Well technically I got a video shoutout. Anyway what matters is it's a real awesome video shoutout from a celebrity crush. Have I ever told you guys that I have a crush on Kenneth from That's My Bae? Ever since I saw them perform last year in Assumption College. He's so cute. And my officemate knew about this crush of mine and so as a birthday gift, she got me a video shoutout from Kenneth.

I'd like to post the video but I don't know how to download it from Facebook. Anyway kinilig ako. Ha! Ha! I think he's really cute.

5. Experienced a fun Murder Mystery party! 

I decided I'd celebrate my birthday by having a party -  Murder Mystery party! Invited some friends to participate and we did it! We solved the mystery! I can cross that off my bucket list because I've always wanted to experience a Murder Mystery party. I'll talk about it more on a separate post.

So that's how my past two weeks had been. These are the moments that made me happy these past couple of weeks.