Inferno's description on Manila fictional: Palace

MALACANANG urged Friday the public to believe more on the testimonials of real people on the beauty of the Philippines than on the fictional character of an American novelist describing Manila as "gates of hell."

"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," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

The official was reacting on Dan Brown's published novel "Inferno."

Sienna Brooks, a character in the novel, describes Manila as a city of "six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade."

"I've run through the gates of hell," she said.

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino earlier expressed his dismay over how Manila was described in the book.

He issued an open letter to Brown, saying, "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."

More than Brown's portrayal of Manila, Tolentino said that Metro Manila is the center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope.

"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," he said.

"Truly, our place is an entry to heaven," he added. (SDR/Sunnex)

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