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Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho to Pinoys: Your souls lead to the gates of heaven

Famous Brazilian author Paulo Coelho told Filipinos that their souls “lead to the gates of heaven,” an apparent reference to the recent brouhaha that American thriller writer Dan Brown sparked by calling Manila “the gates of hell” in his latest book “Inferno.”

Coelho sent his message to Filipinos on his Twitter account, which has almost eight million followers, on Saturday, and also said that he is “sure” Brown "unintentionally" gave Manila the "gates of hell" moniker in his book.

"Dear (F)ilipinos, your souls lead to the gates of heaven," Coelho said, adding the hashtag "#fact" after the tweet.

"My tweet to (F)ilipinos: another author, I am sure unintentionally, described Manilla as "the gates of hell" in his new&successful book," he said in another tweet.

Several Filipino users reacted positively to Coelho’s tweets.

“We love you Paulo. #fact,” said cultural activist Carlos Celdran.

“What a beautiful message to wake up to! Thank you!” said Twitter user @mindanaoan.

Brown sparked controversy in Manila recently when it was found out that the Philippine capital was used as a setting for a character in "Inferno," Sienna Brooks, on a humanitarian mission where she was raped by a group of ruffians in the city.

Manila in the book was also described as a city with kids "with desolate eyes," "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.”

Reacting negatively to Brown’s description of Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino even wrote a letter to the author expressing his “disappointment” over the “inaccurate” portrayal of the Philippine capital.

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis,” he said.

“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,” Tolentino also wrote. - Gian C. Geronimo, VVP, GMA News

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