Gates of hell? Palace says Manila ‘beautiful’

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Malacañang on Friday cast a critical eye on bestselling author Dan Brown’s unflatterIng description of Manila as “the gates of hell” in his latest book, Inferno.

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The book, which is being sold in the Philippines, includes a character who visits Manila and is taken aback by the poverty, crime and the sex trade.

The story, drawn partly from the epic Dante’s Inferno, again features Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. In the book, Langdon’s companion depicts Manila as a city of “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.”

“I’ve run through the gates f hell,” she says of Manila.

Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that they are counting on readers to give more weight to “real” experiences about “beautiful” Philippines than the work of fiction.
Valte admitted that she has not read the book, but said Brown’s description of Manila was made by a fictional character.

“We trust that ordinary readers will give more weight to the testimonials of real people who have enjoyed their stay here in our beautiful country over the experiences of a fictional character whose narrative is written for maximum effect,” Valte said.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino has also taken exception to the book and has even written the author to complain of what he says was an unfair portrayal of Manila.

Brown is best known for The Da Vinci Code, a global best-seller that was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.

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