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'Gates of hell' descriptor miffs Manila

Philippines | Religion & Society

MANILA, May 23 – Internationally renowned author Dan Brown was rebuked here in the Philippines for branding Manila as “the gates of hell” in his newly released book Inferno.

Taking the lead in condemning Brown’s novel is Francis Tolentino, chairman of Metro Manila Metropolitan Authority (MMDA), who expressed his disappointment over Brown’s inaccuracy about Manila.

In his book Inferno, Brown described Manila, the capital of the Philippines, where poverty, crime and sex trade thrive.

"We are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis," Tolentino said in an open letter sent to Brown.

Inferno, a best-selling novel, is now on sale in the Philippines.

Mr. Tolentino invited Brown to visit Manila to see for himself if the metropolis is the “gates of hell” as the popular author has described in his book.

"We write to you with much concern regarding your recently published novel 'Inferno' and its mention of Manila being defined by a number of terrible descriptions of poverty, and pollution, among others, having suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade and worse, being alluded as 'gates of hell,'" Tolentino said in his letter.

"While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character's breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity," the MMDA chairman stressed,

"Our faith in God binds us as a nation and we believe that Manila citizens are more than capable of exemplifying good character and compassion towards each other, something that your novel has failed to acknowledge. Truly, our place is an entry to heaven," Tolentino said in his letter.

He also said "center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope."

Manila is the home of thousands of churches scattered all over the metropolis, the majority of them Catholic, and the city established a record of sort when some five million people attended the Mass officiated by Pope John Paul II during the World Youth Day in 1995.

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