Dan Brown's Inferno: Manila is 'The Gates of Hell'

Dan Brown's fourth novel, Inferno draws mixed reactions from Filipino netizens as it described Manila, the Philippines' capital as the 'gates of hell'. Though the novel is fictional, Brown became insensitive to the possible impact of his writing.

Dan Brown Inferno controversial novel in the Philippines
Paulo Coelho: 'Your souls lead to the gates of heaven'

Popular "The Alchemist" author Paulo Coelho expressed his sympathy to the Filipinos and tweeted a contradiction to Brown's statement.

"Dear Filipinos, your souls lead to the gates of heaven," Paulo Coelho said via Twitter, adding the hashtag "#fact."

"My tweet to Filipinos: another author, I am sure unintentionally, described Manila as 'the gates of hell' in his new successful book," he said in another tweet.

MMDA Chair reacts

On Thursday, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino sent a letter to Brown as a representation of disappointment of the Filipinos.

"While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis," Tolentino said in a letter to Brown.

"We are displeased with how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character's breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity," he added.


Dan Brown's novel, tackles a story of a woman who joined a humanitarian mission to Manila.

"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 reads.

It also described Manila as suffering from "six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade, whose workers consisted primarily of young children..."

Why Manila?

Dan Brown discussed the perspective of his novel, it somehow points the negativity of life. Many are asking why Brown chose Manila for his "gates of hell' setting in the novel. He also said that he worked hard for the research. Same with his other novels, 'Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons', his art tends to confuse readers between 'facts' and 'fiction'.

Though we know the scenario of different flaws of the city, the description in the novel is somehow exaggerated. Based from the Global Finance list of world's richest and poorest countries, the Philippines is many times better than other countries. Manila is far better in terms of development, high-rise buildings, parks, technology, culture and education.

Is it because the Philippines is popular in social media worldwide that will surely create a publicity of his novel online?

Possible effects

Philippines is one of the best leisure or tourist destination in Asia. 'Inferno' will probably have an impact on our tourism as the foreign readers who have plans to visit in the Philippines will have doubt on security and peace of mind.

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