The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday wrote a letter to American best-selling novelist Dan Brown expressing “disappointment” over his “inaccurate” depiction of Manila in his latest novel Inferno.
“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a letter.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino's letter to novelist Dan Brown. Ian Cruz
“We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity,” read the letter dated May 23.
Tolentino told GMA News that rather than the "gates of hell" that Brown called Manila, the metropolis is more of a "portal to heaven" because of the residents' religiosity.
One character from the novel, Sienna Brooks, joined a humanitarian mission to Manila only to be shocked by its poverty
and then raped by local ruffians.
An excerpt from the book goes: “When the group settled in among the throngs in the city of Manila—the most densely populated city on earth—Sienna could only gape in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale.”
The novel likewise described that the city has “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade, whose workers consisted primarily of young children, many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”
“More than your portrayal of it, Metro Manila is the center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope… Manila citizens are more than capable of exemplifying good character and compassion towards each other, something your novel has failed to acknowledge,” Tolentino stressed.
“Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” he added, reversing Brown’s depiction of Manila as “gates of hell.”
“We hope that this letter enlightens you and may it guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works,” the MMDA chairman noted. —KG/HS, GMA News