Why Dan Brown and his description of Manila in ‘Inferno’ is relevant to Filipinos

Since the conclusion of this year’s Fiesta Election, a palpable void has been left. What now? What is the Next Big Issue to pump our fists in the air for?

manila_sewageOne realises in hindsight how little substance there was in much of the noise and colour that erupted during the campaign leading up to the 13th May 2013 mid-term elections. They were “movements” and “initiatives” aimed at superficial issues rather than on enduring systemic challenges that defy individual terms of offices and transcend any one inconsequential political personality — or family.

Indeed, outside of the context of Fiesta Elections, the topics — spun as the “issues” by one social media maven or another — are really not that inspiring. That is because they merely lend a veneer of tenability to what are really profound systemic problems that actually border on untenability. I discussed one of them in my previous article, the reality of the Philippines’ wholesale addiction to foreign capital and, as such, the tendency of its “thought leaders” to frame key solutions to economic recovery around the dubious notion of “attracting foreign direct investment” without addressing the other side of the equation: the absorption capacity of the Philippine economy; i.e., the inherent ability of Filipinos to turn capital into commensurate returns in a sustainable manner.

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Unfortunately, Filipinos are good at attracting wealth in short ill-thought-out bursts of marketing and promotions, but poor at employing it productively much less retaining it domestically.

If we were to identify a single statement that best encapsulates everything that is wrong with the Filipino, the above statement would pretty much be it. Seems like no amount of literacy, no amount of minerals, no amount of land, no amount of freedom, and no amount of money can make Filipinos sustainably and expansively prosperous. We then wonder whether all the political initiatives out there most if not all of which involves some form of force-feeding some kind of resource down Filipinos’ throats are simply all just a waste of time. If we want to go biblical, this isn’t different from the notion of sowing seeds on rock. There’s just no room for opportunity to take root in Philippine society until a major reconstitution of the very substance of the society is mounted.

Speaking of biblical, there is a new outrage fad making waves. It has to do with something about Manila written in Dan Brown’s new book Inferno.

Good timing indeed! Netizens have gone back to clucking about the latest Xbox incarnation, their pet peeves with their respective telco and internet services, and/or the infernal traffic jams of Manila. So maybe this new fad topic should at least get people’s sights back onto something relatively more important — the wretched state of the Philippines’ capital city.

Apparently, one of the characters in Inferno was portrayed as being traumatised by a visit to the Philippines and described the sights to behold in its capital city as akin to running through “the gates of hell.” Furthermore, as ABS-CBN News reports

The description of the city is from the first-hand account of one of the fictional characters, the messianic Dr. Sienna Brooks.

Brooks, who has been working with humanitarian groups, went to the Philippines for a mission to supposedly feed poor fishermen and farmers on the countryside.

She expected the Philippines to be a “wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains.”

Upon setting foot in Manila, however, Brooks could only “gape in horror” as “she had never seen poverty on this scale.”

She said her “dark depression” flooded back, with pictures of poverty and crime flashing through her eyes.

“For every one person Sienna fed, there were hundreds more who gazed at her with desolate eyes,” the book read.

One after the other, the book described chaotic Manila: “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.”

The book described the sex industry as consisting mostly 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.”

“All around her, she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival…When they face desperation…human beings become animals,” the book read.

Indeed, another outrage fad in the making, perhaps. But then the reality that Manila is in fact a dump has long been recognised by Filipinos and foreign nationals alike.

Much of the folk who tweeted and blogged about what they thought were the “important issues” during the election easily retreat from the banal nightmare that is Manila into the airconditioned bliss of their favourite Starbucks or Coffee Bean store. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. When the issues are out of vogue and out of the media’s radar as well, one easily falls back into the warm embrace of consumerist self-importance. This is probably the reason why a tidal wave of denial and pretentious “indignation” is now rippling across the Philippine chatterati. The whole idea that Manila is a dump consistently comes as a shock to Manila’s Starbucks crowd.

The Washington Post reports that “Manila officials [are] hounding Dan Brown” about this so-called outrage…

The chairman of metropolitan Manila, Francis Tolentino, wrote an open letter to Brown on Thursday, saying that while “Inferno” is fiction, “we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis.”

Tolentino objected to the “gates of hell” description, and to Manila being defined by what he calls terrible descriptions of poverty and pollution.

He said that the novel fails to acknowledge Filipinos’ good character and compassion.

“Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” Tolentino said. “We hope that this letter enlightens you and may it guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works.”

So now Brown joins American actress Claire Danes among others in a long-growing list of people considered persona non grata in chi-chi Manila. As we recall, Danes’s own observations were pretty consistent too

[In 1998], Claire Danes came to Manila to film Brokedown Palace. After returning to the states, she made several not-very-flattering remarks about Manila in the pages of Vogue and Premiere magazines. Specifically, she described Manila as a “ghastly and weird city,” said that the city “smelled like cockroaches”, and noted that “rats were everywhere”.

The whole country, led by the Manila City Council, was immediately inflamed and up in arms. There was a major move to ban all of Danes’ films in Manila and her name is now considered synonymous with “Ugly American”. Very few politicians or commentators were brave enough to note that Danes’ comments were basically accurate and that something badly needs to be done about the state of the Philippines’ capital city.

You just gotta laugh. When truths are sugarcoated or outright denied as a matter of policy and social convention, what you get is not very surprising: a society that does not learn. So Manila pretty much stays the way it is except that this sameness grows bigger, noisier, and smellier every year.

126 Replies to “Why Dan Brown and his description of Manila in ‘Inferno’ is relevant to Filipinos”

  1. Typical Pinoy – reacts emotionally to criticism instead of analyzing it, checking if it’s true, and improve if it were so.

  2. Reposted since comment more relevant to this article.

    A Hell of a Day in Manila by hey joe ‘just been gunned down’ brown

    Need to write this incognito since any dose of foreign reality makes you immediately deemed ‘persona non grata’ in true communist style by the house of congress, which itself makes those incarcerated in manila jail look like rank amateurs.

    NAIA visitors welcome sign – ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’
    And with no aircon working, it was certainly like an inferno. Dante would have been impressed.
    There was one small miracle – only 1 case got ‘lost’ – naturally it was the one with my spare rolex in it.

    3 hours from airport to hotel!. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to manila – EDSA – is paved by bad workmanship.
    “This ain’t no upwardly mobile freeway
    Oh no, this is the road to Hell”
    Chris rea

    “ Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed” (Bhagavad Gita) – i chose malate. The senate and congress were closed since noone ever turns up anyway.

    Good girls go to heaven, but bad girls go to malate. Should be the devil of a time.

    The tour guide took me to the designer shops in tondo, the chic residences in manila north cemetery, and the cultural epicentre of p burgos street! Good locations – for a film version.

    Wanted to see Francis Tolentino, but was told he lives in fantasyland, and anyway he was always abroad visiting nice places. Who can blame him.

    In london the streets are paved with gold, in manila the streets are pimped with children.

    In venice the rivers are streets, in manila the streets are rivers.

    In venice gaily colored gondolas are gently glided by dulcit toned gondoliers.
    In manila smoke-belching jeepneys are frantically guided by phlegm-spitting suicide pilots on a kamikaze mission.

    The english tongue is widespread, the girls legs spread wide, and you will soon meet more ‘friends’ than you have on facebook, and it is a place where everyone thinks they know your name!
    The children learn english at an early age, and everywhere you hear the Manila Mantra – “Gimme money”

    The cacophony of sounds is made up of constant car horns, endless karaoke, interspersed with sirens, gun shots, massacres, or a hostage crisis.

    The traffic is disgusting, and that’s just the underage girls en route to work in the cyber sex dens. 800,000 sex workers – that’s almost 10 for every politician, and even more for the philandering mayor-elect – from president to crook to mayor – rock bottom can’t be far away.

    Manila is paradise for politicians, purgatory for visitors, and hell, for the innocent

    The hardest working person in manila must be the tooth fairy – it certainly isn’t the rat catcher.

    Airbrushed posters of narcissistic politicians litter the streets and oversized billboards of scantily clad nobodies blot out the sky.
    ‘ Art, oh wherefore art though’

    As far as the food is concerned you can have anything fried together with the obligatory rice.
    Some dementia ridden politician recently talked about it becoming the paris of asia! French chefs and michelin inspectors laughed so hard they cracked their nuts. ‘Baluts!’

    If the buildings could speak they would be shouting ‘ murderers!’ to all those politicians who have shamed the country, neglected its heritage, and abandoned its people. Hope they think about that the next time they are cocooned in los angeles, las vegas, or on the ‘money run’ to hong kong.

    More fun in the philippines ?? – its mostly murder in manila, with blood on the boardwalk.
    Guns, goons, gangs, and girls.

    “Of all the inhabitants of the inferno, none but Lucifer knows that hell is hell”
    Arnold Bennett

    1. This is a little bit hysterical description of Manila. Manila is a megalopolis and a one-dimensional description of Manila is not giving it the justice it deserves. Manila shouldn’t be described like it is an inferno, as there are pockets of charms about it. Like any capital of a developing nation, it is struggling with lots of issues of efficiency, modernity and aesthetics. Parts of Manila are like first world cities. But because of its size, and yes, inept public officials, it has failed to live up to the ideals of what a functional mega-city should be. 800,000 sex workers? Wow, where did you get this figure? In Japan, 1/5 of world’s pornography is produced. Does that define Japan? No, a city should not be hysterically defined like you have described Manila to be. Mass media’s portrayal of crimes in Manila is alarming in its graphic hysterics. Comparative statistics do not show Manila to be the crime capital of the world though. Yes, there are lots to criticize about Manila, but it is not an inferno the fiction-writer wants everyone to believe. Parts of Manila are infernal, but not all of Manila is that bad.

      1. 800,000 sex workers are the figures by the United Nations – for the whole of the philippines but high concentration in manila.
        an additional 1 million sent overseas.
        its a sh!t hole so either do something about it or get used to the criticism.
        visit london, paris, new york etc and then make 1st world comparisons
        anyway pleased it is eden as far as you and your standards are concerned

      2. So identify the pockets of charm and culture for would be tourists, and critique the 1st first world cities you have visited as valid comparisons, otherwise you are just farting in the wind

        1. The Manila Bay sunset, open sea food restaurants called “dampa” on Roxas Boulevard, the Malate Church which is close to Aristocrat, my favorite restaurant (not all Filipino food is fried served with rice-an exaggerated lie). In Metro Manila, there are newly developed areas which have great restaurants and shopping. Makati has great places to hang out with friends. Plus,Manila is not that far away from Tagaytay, and beaches that are easily within reach. I find Manila a haven for satisfactory dining, something I truly miss, living in Kyoto. Sure, Manila is not orderly like any first world cities, but it is not also that expensive and having fun is affordable. 1 million Filipina prostitutes? Any reliable reference for this? As far as I know, the sex trade in Japan is international yes, but they are not all Filipinas, lots of Russians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Koreans etc. You are one hopeless rumor-monger.

        2. you mean the United Nations is a rumor monger.
          i only quote figures from generally accepted sources, and do not make them up. google it. surely that is not beyond you.
          and i have no idea about the sex trade in kyoto ( i never said all prostitutes abroad were filipino – of course they are also from other countries but thought we were talking about the philippines )

        3. F**k you Libertas! Our country has been suffering for decades because of crabs like you! I live abroad and can see that the central government is trying hard to get us out of this slump. Of course your kind would react by dragging us back in the sh*t-hole. “Parents pimping their own children”? Where is this? Of course there’s smell of fumes in the air, this is a capital of a third world country! I suggest you check out the most polluted cities in the world, you’ll find out we are very far from the top list. Most smog in manila is in your unthinking head. Try reading on the capital cities of Brasil, India, and China, and see the bigger picture.
          I have white friends and black friends and I promote the country to them. My slogan is always “See our beaches, spend a few days in our malls, but more on the beaches.”

        4. @geniot
          read and learn
          and far more world travelled and expert than you could imagine hence i know the subject. you clearly know jack sh!t

          “The Women’s Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organisation found that consumerism had infected some Filipino families to the extent that, dazzled by household appliances and electronic gadgetry, they actively encouraged their daughters to “take their chances abroad even if they risked having to sell their bodies”. The child that kept the family financially afloat was often accorded special status within the family. In 1994, the organisation End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT) International considered the apathy of parents who were the beneficiaries of ‘paedophile generosity’ to be one of the barriers to tackling paedophilia. Families are able to survive and even rise to higher standards of living on the money made by children.”
          UNICEF – Children on the edge

          Daily Mail – 2 days ago
          “A single tear rolls down her face as she hesitatingly explains what
          ‘those men’ made her do.
          The 12-year-old girl is just one of 100,000 children estimated to
          work in the terrifying sex trade of the Philippines where virginity is
          sold for $250 to foreign men.”

          Being an ostrich makes you either stupid, or unconcerned. Either way a traitor who does no good by not helping. Exposure is the first and most important step, or like so many other filipinos you condone it hence its unabated growth.

        5. @geniot

          You contest manila is not polluted!!

          Do just like to lie and make things up for the sake of it.
          It only makes you seem even more of a low-life.

          Stick to facts not your fantasies or propaganda in future, and engage brain first.

          “Manila is one of the five most polluted cities in the world”
          Huffington post 21 feb 2012

        6. “Recently, I was at an open-house in a penthouse suite in the Mirage
          in Las Vegas, hosted by a manufacturer of M-4 accessories for the special operations community. A Filipino present, who worked with the peacekeepers deployed to the Philippines , asked me bluntly:
          “You write about the rights of thugs like terrorists in your military tribunal articles and write with some distaste about the treatments of terrorists who are tortured. Why have you not written about a large group of helpless victims and their rights?” In the Philippines, he told me,
          many families sell their daughters for $350, and may never see them again”
          Dr martin brass
          Soldier magazine

      3. Sometimes, the good parts don’t matter; when the bad parts are so bad, they drown out the good and become more identifiable with the place.

        1. And hands up anyone who thinks the nearly octogenerian crook and hammer house of horrors actor will do anything to change it. He had his chance and screwed up and screwed around.
          Bad actors don’t change their script, but just want more limelight and greasepaint even in death’s waiting room.

        2. I dunno Chino, but two Japanese university students I took to Manila in March had a great time. We were in Manila for only two days and they expected it would hell like Brown described it, but in fact, they enjoyed, the food, people’s hospitality and the Manila Bay sunset. My experience in the Bronx was pretty bad, but I wouldn’t think New York is represented by bombed out buildings and police men ready to shoot at every corner of the Bronx when I was there. But, why is everyone getting so worked up with Brown’s fictional description of Manila anyway? He is a fiction-writer and that in itself, should not be taken seriously. Public officials should just concentrate on doing a good job, not pay attention to this author’s imagined reality of Manila. It turns out, he has not even been in Manila!

        3. Thing is, Nieves, “Inferno” is a work of fiction, and although it may have been based on real impressions of Manila, it is not meant to reflect the real Manila. There is no reason to be riled up about it.

    2. So, Ms. Nieves, with all that what you’ve said so far, what exactly are you bitching about?

      If you like Manila so much, then there’s no point in actually saying that his work of FICTION is an insult to the Manila.

  3. Richard Gordon is proven right again: “The problem with Filipinos is that we don’t think…. we just react.”

    1. And the intellectuals is proven right again. Philippines will remain a basketcase of pure pride and stupidity for the rest of the century.

      And there is some picture of a letter from some MMDA official addressed to Dan Brown. Butthurt much, sir?

      Proud to be Pinoy!

    1. Manila I mean. Most of the Filipino don’t want to hear any destructive criticism, they only want praises so they can shout “proud Filipino”

  4. Kate mcgowan of bbc did a documentary of the 6,000 + people/families living permanently amongst and in the graves and mausoleums in north manila cemetry.
    I have never seen or heard anything so inhumane in a city anywhere, and that is what shamed the philippines, and manila, in the eyes of the world.

  5. am in singapore this week en route to london.
    if you want culture and cuisine visit and taste the difference.

    even antonio’s in tagaytay has gone downhill recently.

    1. UN figures say 1 million Filipina prostitutes work abroad? I happen to be a Filipina and have a reason to spend more time in the Philippines for my vacation, where I can easily find culture and good cuisine. What I really like about the Philippines is the affordability of fine dining. Everything is fresh and affordable. Singapore is a city state with high rise buildings, I have never really been enticed to visit this city state.

      1. yes. UN figures. ( and that includes housemaids as ‘casual’ sex workers on a sunday/day-off) which is 15 – 20% of OFW’s in certain countries – bad for their marriage but good for remittances and shopping.
        Certainly it was the case in cyprus where i lived and employed filipinas, so had inside knowledge, so to speak.

        1. I counter-checked your claim of 1 million Filipina prostitutes abroad and I found it to be consistent with your exaggerated claim of the flesh trade involving Filipino women. One shouldn’t go out of one’s way to respond to your fantastic statistics about Filipino prostitutes, but I wonder what has motivated you to blow out of proportion the fictional image of Manila peddled by a thriller-fiction writer. You must be a truly unhappy individual, who must have been victimized not just once but countless times during your stay in the Philippines. I feel sorry for you, and yes, I feel for my country, but to define it with only the negative adjectives and exaggerated at that, by someone like you, I feel more sorry for you!!!

        2. You may not be well read but that is no excuse for stupidity or an inability to stick to the issues. Typical.

          The philippines is now number 3 in the world for child prostitution ( 100,000) UNICEF
          And becoming second to only china as the world’s sexporter.

          Other countries, particularly thailand have implemented initiatives to curb the practice.

          As expected the lawmakers in the philippines have done next to nothing except try to avoid the issue as though it doesn’t exist.
          Standard operating procedure.

          It begs the question whether it is condoned because it contributes to the economy or because it is simply a dark side of the culture and psyche which does not condemn such practices in the way advanced countries do.

          “The statistic for the Philippines is alarming – an estimated 800,000 people are involved in prostitution with around
          100,000 children in the country’s prostitution rings”. The journal may 17 2013

          When mayors and members of the presidents team can rape young girls and get away with it, then the level of respect for humanity has clearly reached rock bottom.

          Hong Kong
          “Filipino domestic helpers who are terminated or out of work serve as prostitutes.
          Some Filipinos while working as domestic helpers will also
          serve as part-time prostitutes to make extra money. Each day about 700 to 1,000 domestic workers moonlight as “freelance call girls.” There are about 3,000 active prostitutes in just the Mongkok district.”
          Hong kong review

          I think you need to open your eyes and mind and do something useful than living in a state of denial. hiw sad for you

  6. 1) Dan Brown’s job is to tell a story. A story that he made up of course. He chose Manila as a setting for some sort of anchor. Or common term of reference. Based on what I understand , it works .

    2) Going back to Claire Danes. Even that is so indicative. So Manila wanted to ban her and her work. Sorry to say but I am a recent convert to Homeland and tore through the two seasons at a very rapid pace. That is quality. They would deny us of quality to satisfy their butthurt emo . Wait a minute isn’t that the exact logic of how Noynoy and Nancy Binay got elected??

  7. european and uk newspapers picked up on dan browns manila description and tolentinos amusing response to him.
    tolentino obviously never did marketing.
    have sent link to this article to the papers which featured an article
    telegraph uk
    daily mail

    they might as well get the facts not just the fiction

    1. Nobody denies there are prostitutes in Manila and so are other major cities in Asia. And it is a social issue when children are prostituted by their parents because of poverty. What I object to, is “Libertas” sweeping description of Manila as hell, and thus, dignifying the fiction-writer’s depiction of Manila in his novel. Journalistic accounts of prostitution in the Philippines are great because they alert authorities on how to address these issues. “Libertas” comments here however are not educating the readers as they are venomous and more like a projection of his own personal issues rather than arguing with reason to find solutions to these issues.

      Consider his claim that he has personal knowledge of Filipina maids in Cyprus who are married but still work as prostitutes to meet their financial needs to support family back home and their shopping. Now, that is truly fantastic that with the inclusion of these maids (mind you, it has not been established exactly how many maids do this), the figure of 1 million Filipino prostitutes is reached. “Libertas” needs to take out his venom somewhere else, for despite his attempt at being poetic, he comes across as just one pathetic, full of himself expat.

      1. “That is truly fantastic”

        Anything you don’t want to hear is a lie in your head without even having a clue about the subject or the facts. You are clearly ignorant, uninformed about anything, and part of the problem not the solution. Wake up to reality around you.

        Firstly the highest incidence of abortions in cyprus was filipina maids.

        Secondly, many went ‘illegal’ ( left their housemaid job), and then went to work in the ‘clubs’ in nicosia and larnaca

        Thirdly the recent report from unicef underlines what i say about child trafficking from the philippines, and please check out the visayan forum website.

        Daily Mail – 27 may 2013
        “A single tear rolls down her face as she hesitatingly explains what
        ‘those men’ made her do.
        The 12-year-old girl is just one of 100,000 children estimated to
        work in the terrifying sex trade of the Philippines where virginity is
        sold for $250.”

        Fourthly i do not lie and work with ngo’s here. Returning ofw’s tell horror stories which they hide from their families because of their shame.

        I feel sorry for someone who is so blinkered and incapable of even understanding facts and is a passenger in life.

  8. I also heard the argument he should use a fictional city. Huh???? Paint a picture and use Mos Eisley, King’s Landing, Racoon City or The Mushroom Kingdom?? Manila worked for his purpose. The atmosphere and circumstance fit. Sorry making up a city is a cop out. Whatever you think of Da Vinci Code he did use real cities and towns in France if I recall. That was the only one I read but if part of his method of story telling is real art history then making up cities is not even a consideration. Of course pinoys I know are not in a habit of reading books fiction or non fiction despite many of them being technically trained.

    1. If I had the time to read books of fiction, I wouldn’t waste my time reading Dan Brown’s books. Choosing reading materials is a matter of taste and Dan Brown’s works of fiction are not worth reading in my opinion. Not all bestsellers are worth anyone’s time for a read. This is not saying that I take personal offense for his choice of Manila as his “gates of hell”. I think he chose Manila randomly, there are certainly more hellish cities than Manila. This is why I find this whole hullabaloo about his fictional image of Manila stupid!

      1. ” dan browns books are not worth reading”
        but you have never read any
        how idiotic can you get.
        the irony of your comment is clearly lost on you.
        in fact why bother reading books at all.
        after all shakespeare was also fictional.
        stick to comics

        1. Oooops, ad hominem attacks, why are you taking this whole exchange here personally? “a matter of taste” means one doesn’t have to read an entire book to decide whether it is worth reading or not. I am more of an “Angela’s Ashes”, “Daughter of Earth”, oh, and I happen to be a fan of Dorris Lessing, I must have read all of her books. And this is going to be the last time I will respond to your presumptuous posts here.

        2. you were presumptious by inferring i made up figures and calling me a rumor monger.
          more integrity than that.
          selective memory or dementia?
          get things straight.

      2. @nieves
        that is all he can do, the dumbass acts as if he is worldly(LOL!) but everyone (except his lame-ass ‘chrome-boy’jonny) knows he is just a flying jackass!

      3. OMG Nieves, wake up, I am Filipina & I live in the Philippines & it is painful to read the Dan Brown description of Manila but unfortunately IT IS TRUE! Unless we as a people admit it & call it as it is…… it will never be better. Instead of going after Dan Brown or Libertas & blaming them for the truth they speak, go after the politicians who allow our country & our people to live this way. Unless we as a people admit the problem…. the politicians that only are concern in fattening themselves & their pockets….. we as a nation are DOOMED!

        1. Is it perhaps that what Nieves meant in her posts is that, her personal experience of Manila is not hell as Dan Brown has described it in his book. And that she probably does not want government officials to get so excited about a fiction-thriller writer’s description of Manila.

          It is truly absurd that everyone is making a big deal of that guy’s book. Fans of Dan Brown should just enjoy the book and not give it too much publicity. Our public servants should double their efforts at cleaning up Manila, yes, but not on that novelist’s cue. Can the debate on cleaning up Manila be on a more rational level than this?

        2. “And that she probably does not want government officials to get so excited about a fiction-thriller writer’s description of Manila.

          “It is truly absurd that everyone is making a big deal of that guy’s book. Fans of Dan Brown should just enjoy the book and not give it too much publicity. Our public servants should double their efforts at cleaning up Manila, yes, but not on that novelist’s cue.”

          And on whose say so should Filipinos take action? When is it appropriate to address the problem? Years after the Philippines has been converted to a parliamentary system?

          “(N)ot give it too much publicity…?” Are we now supposed to hide the problems that Inferno depicts? We have Chairman Tolentino huffing and spouting off, haranguing Dan Brown over his description of Manila which, quite honestly, is A REALITY WE ALL COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYDAY. Not a few of the online Filipino community condemn foreigners and fellow Filipinos who agree with Dan Brown’s depiction of Manila. Yet all of us know that hours long traffic jams, suffocating pollution and a horrendous child sex trade describe Metro Manila perfectly. What the deuce is that about? Why is it alright for Filipinos to describe Manila as being the “gates of hell” (and shrug their shoulders in resignation) but when a foreigner makes the same exact observation, there is over-the-top indignation and outrage and a cry to declare that person persona non grata?

          How exactly is this inaccurate?

          When travelers from abroad alight and enter into the NAIA terminal, the very first sample they will have of the Philippines is the oppressive, oven-hot atmosphere. Its been two months now and the air conditioning is still not working. Imagine what it will be like when the rains start in a few months and the humidity levels rise even further. Already saddled with the international reputation of being the world’s worst airport, the NAIA will be unbearable.

          “(O)ur place is an entry to heaven.” Cynics might speculate that Chairman Tolentino was thinking of bank manager Rosemarie Gatan and others like her when he wrote this. Last 23 May, Gatan was shot in the head by a motorcycle riding assassin in front of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters.

          Last 17 May, CNN’s Freedom Project aired a documentary following the plight of sex workers and human trafficking. It depicted, on prime time, Manila brothels in all their lurid ugliness for all the world to see. Neither Chairman Tolentino, nor Ms Nieves nor Ms Miriam are complaining about how this documentary depicts prostitution in the Philippines. Essentially the same thing Brown presents in his book. Even Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao endorsed the report.

          Manila’s deplorable slum areas are prominently on display. You can’t fail to notice them as you commute to work through our overcrowded streets. The glacial pace of our buses and jeepneys will make sure of that. But Chairman Tolentino doesn’t mention any of that. In fact, it wasn’t a problem for him to approve the SHUTDOWN of TRAFFIC in Manila for a MONTH to allow a Hollywood studio to film the latest Bourne film. That movie didn’t exactly paint a flattering picture of Manila either. In fact, it showed an ugly, menacing city just like Dan Brown’s book in vivid, larger-than-life fashion. Why didn’t he complain then?

          It isn’t Dan Brown’s fault for pointing out a reality that is for millions of Filipinos a daily, hellish occurrence. Nor is it unduly negative or unpatriotic to voice an observation that there is something wrong in our country. We must not allow our officials to continue ignoring public complaints of inefficiency, incompetence, and corruption. If publicity over Dan Brown’s book can shame them into doing a job that improves our reputation abroad, then I am all for that. Let Tolentino catch hell for it.

          What we shouldn’t be doing is irrationally dickering over minutiae such as exactly how many prostitutes (A hundred thousand? One million?) are working in the Philippines in order for us to be genuinely concerned. Are we that desensitized that we no longer care?

  9. Personally, I take offense to Manila being called “The Gates of Hell.” Hell is a much better place than Manila.

    1. But seriously, all this hype against a work of fiction only shows how much these Pinoys have a false sense of self-identity, as well as a lack of humility.

      I’m already very tempted to write my own work of quick fiction right here, with Manila as a stinking dump as the backdrop.

  10. We shouldn’t be upset that Manila’s description in a fictional novel doesn’t sound appealing.

    In fact, we should be upset that the unappealing description doesn’t sound like fiction…

    Meaning we should realize that something needs to be done, not denied.

  11. I live in Quezon City now, but the first time I step foot in Manila I thought it was a dystopia not unlike the ones in movies like total recall. Those who say otherwise has probably not gotten out and walked on it’s streets. Parts of Quezon, the road from Espana to Quiapo even the nearby cities is a sight to rival an amateur post apocalyptic novel . Lets not talk of malls nor coffee shops nor Tagaytay and other places lets talk about Manila and what it really is. The streets and the things you see out there… it will make you wonder how they live. I think it’s a disservice not point these things out in that if everyone will just say it has its charms, what with all the pockets of heaven in it,nothing will change.

  12. As usual the defenders of the status quo will always protest, they want everybody to suck balut. Hell is a wonderful place to those who
    live there.

  13. Congresswoman demands correction by dan brown and says should be persona non grata – tribune 25 may

    “Rep. Carol Jane Lopez said what Brown wrote in his novel was far from the truth.
    “The Filipino people deserve an apology from him,” Lopez said.
    She called for a boycott of the book until after the negative write-up about the country is corrected.
    She added Brown could be declared as persona non grata if he does not remove the bad things he said about the Philippines.”

    Lopez has already been declared ‘politician without brains’

    This is the same nobody who wanted justin bieber banned. You elect monkeys and they show their arses in public. Predictable.

    “A Philippine congresswoman, You Against Corruption and
    Poverty (YACAP) party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, is urging her
    fellow lawmakers to officially ban Justin Bieber in the Philippines as
    well as the Filipinos not to patronize his songs and albums,
    according to a report by ABS-CBN News this afternoon” nov 2012

  14. i’m kinda good looking person and if somebody call me ugly i would not even feel insulted in the slightest because i and many people know im not.
    on the other hand, if i’m really ugly…

  15. Unfortunately, our rich politicians are very sensitive to the truth. People have eyes, but they refuse to see. Truth hurts, but it is the truth. Too many poor in our country. Only few rich. the rich controls the political system. Look at the family political dynasties. Look at the Greed of the Hacienda Luisita owners. Most of the rich are the politicians. To me, if I have seen Hell…it is Metro Manila, and the Philippines, as a whole. So, Dudes, accept the truth. You cannot argue with REALITY…

  16. Every time the fils gets a bad rap in the press someone in the gov’t. gets up and acts all indignant and demands an apology, as if the guy is going to offer one,LOL!!
    NYC gets a bad rap from almost everyone and you’ll never hear Ed Koch, Blumberger or any other New Yorker complain about it because they are tough enough to take an attack/insult and not get all sensitive as if their cities depend on someone else’s opinion.They don’t give a shit who likes it or not!
    Manila is going to be around for a long time no matter what Dan Brown thinks…his books suck and why any Filipino cares what he thinks is beyond ridiculous!besides,
    in the immortal words of Bonn Scott:”Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be,”.

  17. i live in New York City for the past 12 years…yeah the subway is is heavilly infested with rats..big rats..most comerciall aprtments is infested by roaches… i can publised that in a newspaper or in a book and Im sure Mayor Blooberg and the die hard New Yorkers will never react at all…No big deal..

  18. on prostitutes, yes they do have prostitues in NYC…but its illegal here, so tey have to do it in a very discreet manner.. the child protection agency will never allow a minor to be sold …eh kung yung maiwanan mo nga lang ang bata sa loob ng kotse na walang kasama, andyan na kaagad an police and a cild endagerment case will be filed against you….

  19. The state of manila shames the city, but some of the reactions to dan brown’s book in many ‘senior’ quarters shames the philippines, and makes the country seem even more backward, insular and uncultured and only reinforces the points. Mmmm.

    Malacanan ‘ foreigners know its not true and a work of fiction’. The thing foreigners don’t believe is malacan propaganda. You can try to fool filipinos but not your superiors. Political marketing is a black art, but in malacanan it is just a black hole devoid of any creativity or integrity.

    Congresswoman gomez – “declare brown persona non grata” ( she also wanted justin bieber declared persona non grata). 6 years, 420 million pork barrel and that is her sum contribution to progress!

    CBCP’s Lucas ” brown gets rich by fooling people” . Idiotic saying of the year. Pot, kettle, black.

    MMDA tolentino – too naive and incompetent for words, or letter writing.

    An online reaction – by some:
    “Fictional books should be set in fictional places”
    Obvviously never read dickens, shakespeare et al. just comics and colouring books.

    What about songs, tv series.
    No hawaii 5-0, CSI etc.
    Ban everything and live in the jungle. Oh, they already do.

    1. Its actually funny as hell when you think about it… Dan Brown (and Ron Howard respectively) has stood fast against the entire Catholic Church and WON! What does the Philippines, its Government & “some” of its people hope to gain by this latest childish outrage and how can they possibly think they will win? Is it their intent to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Filipinos are inherently psychotic?

    2. Dear Libertas
      Would it be ok if I create a fictional story of your mom in that light? its fiction anyway 🙂

      1. @samantha stevens

        The difference is that, with Manila, there is some truth to the traffic, sex trade, pollution, poverty and so on, hence, may actually be believable, regardless of how disturbing it is to some people.

        The reaction of people, especially our officials, actually bring even more shame than Dan Brown’s novel. Our officials are just embarrassed by the exposure—They felt threatened and humiliated at the realization that there’s so much more work to be done than they care to admit.

        Kudos to Dan Brown on this one!

      2. go ahead
        try to be creative
        i am more thick skinned than you.
        and if that your only retort to major social issues
        then it explains why nothing gets done or iproves.

    3. Even some comics are based on real events and places. Hell, Spiderman lives in NYC while most Anime and Manga have characters living in Japan.

      There’s a truth to that CBCP guy’s statement, if you’re a fiction writer who can’t fool your reader into immersing himself in the story, you’re a failure.

  20. No one gives a hoot about that “persona-non-grata” edict. I get a laugh whenever I hear politicos imposing this fatwa on people they don’t like.

    I doubt if that could be enforced in the first place, and I find it difficult to believe that they’ll refuse a visitor like him.

  21. i don’t think simeone like him cares less or would want to visit a jungle nation where people struggle to read and clearly don’t think.
    national iq – already nearly the lowest in the world at 86, just downgraded to 8.6

    1. The problem with your posts is not that you are lacking in statistics taken from newspaper articles (dubious sources)and U.N. agencies sources (reliable sources) to support your bashing of the Philippines in defense of the characterization of Dan Brown of Manila, but that, you come across as a venomous and malicious observer of problems in the Philippines.

      Not only that you don’try to enlighten the readers on solutions, you tend to make generalizations about Filipina maids, who I am sure you are not all that familiar with. (how many have you met, or are you relying on dubious sources?) By highlighting cases of maids in Hongkong or wherever who are moonlighting as prostitutes, you seem to invite ridicule for the hardworking and dedicated Filipino maids everywhere. You seem to be full of contempt for these people. And by the way, if Filipina maids want to avail themselves of the legalized abortion and decide to moonlight as prostitutes, it is truly none of anyone’s business. These are adults and it is not of anyone’s business if for example housewives in Japan work as prostitutes to augment their income. They are not children, they have free will. . . Just take your venom somewhere else, and don’t spew it all Filipina womanhood!

      1. What a ridiculous person you are.
        Completely devoid of logic and rational thought and unable to discuss issues but prefer to close your mind and try to divert the point.

        Head up @rse meets verbal diarrhea without a single point of relevance.

        Can’t handle the truth.
        Know nothing, do nothing.
        You give filipina women a bad name. That is obvious.

        Guilt trip? Relying on ofw remittances!
        ok for them to be prostitutes so you say. you really are lowlife

        Give me your research that you say you did if i am so wrong.

        1. If they choose to be prostitutes, that is their choice, it is not my judgment, they already have a job, and are already married, and yet, they still decide to moonlight as prostitute, should I get work up on that? It happens in many countries where housewives work as prostitutes to satisfy their materialism, should I cast judgment on their personal choice? And I am not going to use these cases of to generalize about the housewives in this particular country. Not everyone chooses to be prostitutes, only those who have a weakness for brand name goods or those who have fallen in misfortune. And certainly, prostitution is not only thriving in poorer countries, it is thriving in developed countries as well,only that it is practiced differently. If children are sold to prostitution, then, that is of course the business of the state. Prostitution is illegal in many countries, but it is still a thriving industry, one wonders why.

        2. Your premise is:
          Adult prostitution is ok. Their personal choice.
          Child prostitution is the responsibility of the state.

          Please don’t become an advocate for womens rights or a social worker!

          Glad you posted that.

          You have been hoisted by your own petard. No further comment is even necessary.

        3. “And I am not going to use these cases of to generalize about the housewives in this particular country. Not everyone chooses to be prostitutes, only those who have a weakness for brand name goods or those who have fallen in misfortune.”

          But you just did. You’ve reduced women to immoral, materialistic, money grubbing leeches whose only objective is the acquisition of designer clothes and accessories. That is unfair, irresponsible and shameful. It’s an excuse to condemn those who engage in the profession, women and men. Will you also condemn women who are kidnapped in the Ukraine to be sold in Saudi Arabia because they wear Chanel for their owners? That is disgusting!

          The issue of prostitution is messy. And the most responsible thing for us to do is to leave elbowroom for the mess. Especially if you have no inkling of the individual’s story.

        4. You hit it right in the head Johnny Saint. My long squabble with Mr./Ms. Libertas is his/her statistical lie about the “1 million Filipina prostitutes” working abroad. And then, he uses random cases of Filipina maids in Cyprus and Hongkong who are moonlighting as prostitutes. It is a fact that Filipinas who are working abroad are often mistaken as such because of irresponsible posts on blogs and disagreeable news like this in the mass media about Filipinas. Sure, there are Filipinas who are probably working as prostitutes abroad, but I doubt it if they number 1 million. Domestically, they may number 1 million with 100,000 child prostitutes. That is sad and tragic, that is why we are campaigning hard for more FDIs to enter the country through the lifting of the constitutional restrictions. The more job opportunities there are, the more choices are going to be available to women. But to paint a picture of 1 million Filipina prostitutes abroad is not only misleading, but it is an outright lie.

          My point about some Filipina maids that Libertas has used as examples, who have chosen to work as prostitutes is that, they cannot be used to generalize the situation of OFW maids who are hardworking and are moral. And a country makes it easier for those who choose to prostitutes despite their secure employment and marriage to host country nationals, it is obviously their personal choice and is not the business of anyone to judge them for their choice.

      2. My contempt is reserved for people like you who prefer to ignore and do nothing about any social issue – not even acknowledge it, but just talk about ‘dubious sources’, trying to cast doubt on reality.
        I know more ofw’s than you have ever met, in different countries having employed them, and run free english language classes for them.
        I don’t disgrace them. I disgrace people like you who don’t even want to help their own country women, and the govt who do nothing in practical terms.
        I had an ofw student in cyprus who was being raped by their employer and his sons – happened to be the city chief of police. I got the person out – the consulate didn’t want to know.
        That situation/story was repeated by many once they started talking. ( obviously a lie in your mind – but thats more shame on you)
        Sounds like you want to follow something or somebody and live a cosy uninvolved middle class existence but actually do nothing yourself except spout academic and ill informed verbage.

        1. As you may recall, you posted a rather exaggerated version of Dan Brown’s characterization of Manila. Somehow, the conversation on this led to the statistical data on the “1 million Filipina prostitutes” working overseas. This was precisely what I found fantastic. It is great that you have helped human beings in a dire situation you described above. And please do not presume that I have not done anything to help Filipinas or anyone else in the same situation. Having helped them does not of course give me the right to patronize them as victims, or to give a less than accurate picture of this social problem involving Filipino women.

        2. 1 million is the figure i got from UN, and even if that is 500,000 or 100,000 it is still x number too many.
          Drop the academics and start having some compassion and a world view.
          And to talk about political reform as the solution/same sentence is warped, or you are seriously obsessive, but about the wrong things.
          Bye for now

        3. P.s
          I also remember an american ex pat who worked in kyoto. He said the philippines were issuing 100,000 ‘entertainer’ visas a year.
          You seem to have a thing about japan and americans. Was he right?

        4. P.s
          The figure did include ladyboys, which judging by singapore is a significant number – also high number in kyoto according to my american friend.

        5. 1 million does not seem far-fetched ( even an underestimate) judging by the quote i found on internet – 100,000 in japan alone – according to you!. You should research, even your own posts!

          “100 ,000 visas a year were
          made available by the japs to the Flip women , it made a big
          trade out of sending entertainers to Japan , entertainers being a
          euphemism for semi-prostitution work”
          miriam quiamco

      3. Johny Saint, did not read your entire post. I meant to say, I agreed with your idea that prostitution is a messy one. But you are wrong to misconstrue my post to mean that I view materialism as something peculiar to women. Certainly, there are male prostitutes as well. But since Libertas and I have been talking about Filipina prostitutes, I simply brought up the example of women prostitutes in developed countries where the motivation is not only poverty but also because of wanting to buy brand name goods. I have certainly read this in some Japanese journal. Even high school girls (talking about underage prostitutes) in Japan engage in prostitution to be able to buy Chanel bags and the like.

        1. Point taken. But your phraseology suggests as much. It is a mistake to bring up in this context what selfish materialistic reasons men or women have that may lead them to decide prostitution is a viable option for making money. The more alarming concern is that the horrible practice of sexual abuse and human trafficking persists to this day. People are not potatoes.

          As I said, it is a messy issue. Let’s not diminish what is a serious problem by going off on a tangent into what the Japanese or Americans or Europeans may think constitutes acceptable behavior as regards selling sexual favors for a living.

        2. Let me tell you that many filipinas abroad are ‘happy’ to be part time sex workers – ‘friends’ as they euphemistically like to call their regular sunday customers, and naturally do not even regard themselves as prostitutes – easier for them to accept just as having 5 ‘boyfriends’ on a sunday.
          You come up with your own definition and am sure you can get the global figure down to zero.

          Monthly salary in cyprus – housemaid 20,000 pesos
          Monthly sunday payments – circa 40,000 pesos
          Monthly ‘illegal’ club – 80,000 + pesos
          ( small compared to what the russian women got)

          All good for ofw remittances.

          I certainly do not condemn their behaviour, but neither do i bury my head in the sand and condone a society/govt that almost promotes it through inaction, ease of trafficking, lack of consukar/embassy help.
          ( ‘illegal’ filipinas caught and deported from cyprus were back within a month under a new name/passport). It was the same in bahrain/ abu dhabi
          Sex in its widest definition is most probably the number 1 contributor to gnp hence the govt reticence to do anything.

          They prefer to have ‘good’ sex and be paid for it abroad, than be raped or abused by family members, boyfriend or layabout husband awaiting the next remittance – to spend on drink and prostitutes here!

          And if you think the domestic situation – 1 million prostitutes – as you reluctantly acknowledge is driven by foreign men then think again

          Conservatively each girl ‘services’ 5 customers a day ( many talk if 20 – 30 a day). Thats 5 million customers a day. Single foreign men at any one time – ? 10,000 – not even 1%.
          Like everything the issue is the culture. Prostitution/mistresses/ ‘2nd ‘wives’ etc is accepted here. No respect for women and human life is cheap. That is the over-riding point. Low values and bad role-models results in continuing 3rd world mentality. No political system changes that.
          The change in culture must always come first.
          Expand your horizons and get involved in life. It may even help you.

          And focus on the philippines rather than always trying to deflect it to what another country does. Take responsibility.

        3. The context Mr. Johny Saint is the generalization that Libertas has put made about OFW maids or the statistical lie he brought up. If you have been following our exchanges, there was no mention of human trafficking at all, but there was his reference to his personal knowledge of Filipina maids opting to work as prostitutes despite the fact that they are already married in Cyprus Certainly, the maids in Hongkong have not been trafficked into prostitution, they have taken advantage of their presence there to make extra bucks. Do you really believe there are people in their right minds who are not outraged by human trafficking not only of women to become prostitutes but also of children and the poor in general who are victims of organized crime syndicates worldwide?

        4. I will redefine as filipinas abroad if it makes you happier and not just ofw’s – i used it generically, you took it academically, literally.

          Try the issues rather than the semantics

        5. Thanks for the detailed info. Mr./Ms. Libertas about the life of Filipina prostitutes. I certainly have no interest in knowing how they view their associations with men for a fee. This is certainly a social issue, but the fact that this is how they deal with their desperate lives is I think a personal choice. 20-30 men a day! Wow, considering this, it is surprising why we don’t have the explosive number of HIV infected cases that are reported in countries like Myanmar, Thailand, and even Vietnam. We do have rising numbers, but they are still way off the levels in our neighboring countries.

          I do not know any Filipina prostitute and so I do not know anything about their personal pain. What I know are the terrible statistics about human trafficking in general. Filipina prostitutes could work anywhere in the world where they are welcome, after all, we now live in a globalized world. It is when they are victims of human trafficking that they should be helped.

        6. The culture that you want to change in the country Mr./Ms. Libertas is one of poverty and ignorance. Why do you think I am here posting comments and sending my views on how to institute reforms in the country? That is because we care, and we want to change the culture of poverty and ignorance in the country. So, you don’t have to preach from your high horse and tell us exactly what to do. We are all doing what we can, especially, Filipinos who are working hard to help family members get educated. As one American expat living in the Philippines wrote, he has never been in a country where everyone is working to support brothers/sisters or even distant relatives in school. In a way, millions of Filipinos are already trying to change the system by sending their brothers and sisters to school. And it may be that even those loose women/prostitutes you have met are also helping educate family members. I see hope and that is good.

        7. I know you don’t care, – it shows in your postings – but thats your issue.
          what has one american expat got to do with anything.
          That is the extent of your ‘research’!
          And am sure the filipina prostitutes are helping to pay school fees. You see that as commendable. I see it differently. Thats why you are no help to the country.
          Thanks for the amusement.
          Bored with you now.
          A brick wall learns faster

        8. “Do you really believe there are people in their right minds who are not outraged by human trafficking not only of women to become prostitutes but also of children and the poor in general who are victims of organized crime syndicates worldwide?”

          You are taking my comment literally to refer to the phenomenon of “human trafficking.” What I meant was that to this day people, men and women, sell themselves — traffic in sex — for money. It suggests a deeper social malaise if even rich societies produce individuals who feel they have to turn to prostitution for a living or for fun or out of some misguided need for fulfillment.

          My point of contention is that you conflate what occurs in Japan with the issue of prostitution activity in the Philippines and/or Filipinos abroad who may engage in the activity. I submit they are entirely different and should not be scrutinized or judged in the same light. Are you saying that we should have less concern for a Filipino abroad who engages in prostitution because she desires to have more money? That she deserves to be left to her own devices if she gets into trouble because she doesn’t meet the criteria for being a “good” sex worker? Or that a prostitutes at home should have more consideration because she has to pay for her younger sibling tuition fee before school starts in June?

          You are sadly missing the point. That Filipinos need to resort to prostitution AT ALL is the horrendous fact that needs to be addressed. There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that produces people who are so desperate they will sell themselves — engage in the most demeaning and degrading acts — simply to get through the day.

          And I have been following this exchange. It’s a simple matter enough to resolve. You say the information libertas posted is at best dubious. Do you have a source to refute the statistics mentioned? Is there a rebuttal to Tingting Cojuangco’s Philippine Star article (which libertas cited) that disproves the ILO claim of 100,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines? Something more substantial than your “doubt” and MMDA Chairman Tolentino’s outrage.

        9. Libertas, you are beginning to sound like a truly obsessed man with prostitutes!!! Yes, 100,000 entertainer visas were issues to Filipinas to go to Japan yearly, but for your information, this system was abolished during the time of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Why? Well, because she is a sensible woman and when she saw for herself how these women entertained drunken Japanese salary men, she worked hard to eliminate the practice. The number has gone down considerably, around 10,000 or so. And for your further information, not all the 100,000 who go to Japan as entertainers work as prostitutes. Only some do, not all, and that is probably why even in the Philippines where there are a lot of GROs, our HIV infected stats are not as high as our neighboring countries. They may work as agogo dancers or whatnot, but I don’t think all of them are prostitutes in the sense that they are for hire sexually. Enough with your ill-informed generalizations!!!

        10. No
          I simply value the truth and do object to being called a liar when clearly i am not.
          Don’t project your OCD on me.
          Don’t think that is the first time you have been told that either!

          And since i work with ngo’s on child trafficking i am ‘obsessed’/determined to do anything to stop/reduce it. Amazed you have such little feelings/connection about the issue. Mmm

          Focus on issues in future.
          And yes i am very successful. Get over it, and it is nothing to do with the points made.

          Clear why your group achieves nothing, and never will when you avoid questions, divert issues, are devoid of facts. Try to be rational in future.

          And as usual you avoided the point.

          Get gerry to join your group. Birds of a feather.

        11. @Ms. Miriam,

          I have been ‘SCHOOLING’ these two idiots for months and all they come back with is their not-so-witty/lame-as-shit insults (see above!), coz they got NOTHING!

          Jonny-BOY still can’t wrap his dwarf-ass mind around the fact that there is no list of “Founding Fathers” in the USA and therefore they can not be QUOTED as such(but he still quotes then every chance he gets,LOLOLOLOL!). the liberty-ass drags his ass here constantly to try to impress people ‘AS IF’ he is some sort of sherry-drinking socialite, but he is a wanna-be ‘philanthropist'(see the post where he is thinking of ‘funding a study’,LOLOLOLOLOL!!!) ROTFLMAO at both of them!
          they truly are a couple of self-important,know nothing, ‘flying jack-asses’.
          ‘Schooling’ them is becoming boring as it is not even a challenge!Tell us about what the ‘Founding Fathers’ said jonny-boy,AS-IF,AAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

      4. Way to go Miriam. This libert-ASS and his buddy Jonny think they are know-it-alls about everything but the truth is they are clueless flying jackasses. When anyone discredits what they say, they get all high-browed( AS IF,LOL!) and start with the insults.(as proof of this read sentence 1 of his reply to your comment.) the guy is a D.Bucket and THANK YOU for setting his ass straight.

        1. Little man, back on your envy trip.
          Woof, woof. Fetch the bone.

          Envy is a compliment from people who do not matter.

          Your obsessional problem with your superiors is boring.

          If you have no ideas or achievements, then zip it and back in your kennel.

        2. Dog owners should really learn to pick up after themselves. They leave Gerry all over the sidewalk.

        3. Gerry, take note, Libertas calls you “little man”, is he a “big man”? What makes him a “big man”? Ah, as we already read, he was an employer of Filipinas in Cyprus and perhaps, he is also an employer in the Philippines which he bashes no end. He thinks of himself as a “big man” and an expert on Filipina prostitutes. He further considers himself a “big man” because he has helped Filipinas in Cyprus learn English, how do you call this kind of human being? What exactly has this “big man” accomplished that we are supposed to grovel at his feet?

  22. well, i will buy and read that book. Most of us are always in denial about the state of manila and of course the country in general..almost all highly urbanized cities in the country are seriously in need of general cleaning..result of poor urban planning- does that even exists to the minds of our leaders? Reality check and it hurts most of the time…

  23. We shouldn’t be whining after what Manuel L. Quezon said: “I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans.”

    1. You are correct again.SIR!! as long as you are running YOUR own country, fuck whoever doesn’t like it!
      BUT,here is the bad part: Aquino doesn’t run anything, except his mouth…and usually at the wrong time! The USA is a sort of ‘guardian/big-brother’ type that is always called when things get a bit to heavy for li’l bro to handle, and maybe soon CHINA will become a sort of ‘step-Dad’, IDK,BUT… It makes me laugh when guys like DUFFUS Rodriguez and that orangutang Miriam start spouting off about not being American colonies and then a disaster strikes Manila and what is the first thing they do? Pick up the phone and call Big Bro/USA and they always come running w/buckets of U.S. tax-payer $$$$.

  24. Satan is in Malacanang. The Devils and Demons are in Congress and Senate. Feasting on Pork Barrels. While hungry parents sell their children to prostitution. Kris Aquino, the Harlot is decked in purple cloth, with many jewelries on her. Is not this in the “Book of Revelation”, in the Christian Bible?
    I’ve seen Hell, already…Dan Brown is correct…Greed prevails in the Philippines, because to them : “Greed is good”…

    1. YOU are correct again,SIR! it is fuckin sickening, is it not? why someone with BALLS doesn’t step up…IDK!

  25. “Reports have it that there are at least a million Filipino prostitutes
    in the country. According to ILO ( international labour organisation) estimates, there are 75,000 to
    100,000 children engaged in the sex trade. Judging by these reports, prostitution may now be the country’s fourth largest source of GNP”
    Tingting cojuangco – philippine star – may 2013

  26. I think Mr. Dan Brown had told behind the truth in Manila, he told facts of proverty , sufferings of jobless and other not good happenings to everyone! But Mr. Brown should careful telling for his feelings, what is the real “Gate of hell”, For me! Gate of hell starts to everyone, to ourselves! If anyone choose to be bad then you opening the gate of hell for himself and If anyone choose to be good then you opening the the gate of heaven himself!

  27. Instead of bashing Mr Brown, why divert their energy to improve Manila.

    Anyway, it’s Mr. Joseph Estrada opportunity to prove that (1) he can improve the image of Manila, and (2) Mr. Dan Brown is wrong with the image of City of Manila. Hopefully, he can see it that way.

    1. Estrada will improve Manila by further spreading his seed . Which is one reason he plundered to begin with. Yeah! Vote him in again, proud to be Pinoy !!!!!

      1. I wonder if Mr Estrada holds the record for the most number of cities / municipals he held as mayor in Philippine politics.

        Crazy election indeed :-S

  28. This is what I hate about Filipinos: WE don’t want to hear the ugly truths, WE prefer sugarcoated comments that further boost our unnecessary egos.

    And I don’t think Manila’s a “Gate of Hell” in my book, there will be other cities that are way worse than Manila.

    1. ,,And I don’t think Manila’s a “Gate of Hell” in my book, there will be other cities that are way worse than Manila.

      In that case, Manila would still be considered portae inferi…with the worse cities considered Hell itself, if we base the notion on your statement. 🙂

  29. With francis tolentino’s worth doubling in 2012 from 21 million to 43 million pesos (SALN), maybe it explains why he has done nothing to inprove manila.
    Maybe he should also explain where the money came from, – a deal with the devil no doubt.

    1. Like his boss, Francis Tolentino has little to show after three years in office. It isn’t really surprising why he emailed Dan Brown; the depiction of Manila directly reflects his failure as MMDA Chairman.

      Halfway through the Aquino term and traffic on EDSA is as hellish as ever. In fact, Tolentino himself contributed greatly to the suffering of Metro Manila commuters when he shut down traffic in Manila for a month during the filming of the Bourne movie. Hold up gangs and murderers prey on the public with impunity. On buses and jeeps and on the MRT/LRT. Garbage collection is (quite literally) a mess and when the rains come, we can be assured that Tolentino’s inaction on Manila’s clogged esteros will result in more drowning victims when the flood waters start rising. Addressing these problems is what Tolentino should be doing. It’s a hell of a lot more useful than wasting the taxpayers money trying to debunk a work of FICTION on a local broadcast that few people care about outside the Philippines.

  30. Gloria Arroya should really be sent to the electric chair. She is placed Manila in a bad light. Can you then blame Dan Brown for having a negative perception of Manila? The past Arroyo administration has caused all these unegative image of Manila and the country as a whole

    1. TROLL. 😛

      Thank you for admitting that you’re indeed STUPID. 😀

      What does Gloria have to do with this? Everything in Manila was better because of Lito Atienza.

      Again, thank you for admitting that you’re STUPID. 😛

    2. Congratulations TROLL

      you just went full retard with your post.

      Do you really think that you are correct with your baseless assumption?

      This video should provide you with the right answer:

    3. “Gloria Arroya should really be sent to the electric chair. ”

      And how is she once again to be blamed for this???

      “She is placed Manila in a bad light. Can you then blame Dan Brown for having a negative perception of Manila?”

      Baseless accusation number too many to count

      “The past Arroyo administration has caused all these unegative image of Manila and the country as a whole”

      Seriously? Is that all you guys can do but repeat severely flawed propaganda?
      Mr. Carandang shouldn’t be hiring a retard like YOU if that’s all you can say.

      Oh and by the way,

      TROLL harder,eduardo

      1. The troll never falls far from the ogre.The bumbling bald, brainless one makes for a great ogre. Like I said in a previous GRP post, Noynoy’s rule 1. When in doubt blame Gloria 2. Always be in doubt. That edict has since been implemented by the Carandang shock troops AKA Malacanang Communications Group. Not sure what fantasy world anyone is living in that Manila slums are a GMA creation. All the Gloria accusations in the world does not make Noynoy one iota smarter.

        1. I don’t think noynoy has realized it yet that by blaming every mishap that happens under HIS adminstration on the previous administration, he is only creating an impression of his administration as being incompetent.
          He keeps blaming but does he do anything about the problems the country is facing? Nope.
          Just look at what is happening right now between our country, taiwan and china.
          Take a look at what happened during the luneta hostage crisis, that should already be a warning sign that this president is too incompetent to lead us but sadly a lot of people can’t accept the truth that they supported an incompetent idiot.

  31. benign0
    “a society that does not learn”.

    To be more precise, a society that never wants to learn.

    It’s been pictured over and over especially in this site that most Filipinos never want somebody telling them about their slob, egocentric and irresponsible nature.

    Majority of the citizens in this country are so comfortable and proud of their irresponsible behaviors.

    The people love their pig’s ways and most politicians and government employees make their quick and easy money without any consequences. Therefore, who needs change?

    1. It takes a lot of self-awareness to escape the prison of one’s own flawed thinking. Until the Filipino mind is liberated from the ravages of traditional thinking, the same mistakes will be made over and OVER again.

      1. There’s a an old adage which says: “If you keep on doing the same thing you’ll end up with the same result”.

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  33. talaga masakit ang katotohanan. pero kailangan tanggapin ang katotohanan lalo na kapag may pagtatanggi sa katotohanan. sa umaga, paglabas ko ng bahay ito ang karaniwang tanawin nakikita ko. 1) pader na may marka ng ihi at ihing nagpuputik sa ibaba; 2) may taong nakahiga at natutulog sa bangketa; 3) mga batang walang damit na naglalakihan ang tiyan; 4) mga babaing naglalaba sa kalye gamit ang tubig mula sa sirang tubo ng tubig; may nagsisigarilyo sa kalye; mga dura at plema; pader ng PGH na mapanghi na sa ihi ng mga nagtitinda sa Padre Faura; 5) mga drayber ng pampasaherong dyip na walang konsiderasyon sa ibang drayber; 6) at mga tauhan ng MTPB na walang pakialam sa mga barker na nagtatawag sa kanto kahit pa nakaaabala sa mga tatawid… atbp.

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