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Manila: ‘Gates of Hell’ according to Dan Brown

May 23, 2013 7 comments

Manila

Photo courtesy of http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com

It’s more fun in the Philippines!” our Department of Tourism’s slogan.  Definitely a very successful campaign that even went viral with the help of millions of Filipinos worldwide.

For Dr. Sienna Brooks, the heroine in bestselling-author Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” part of a series of books on the adventures of art historian and Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon, the country certainly offered more — but it definitely not fun.

To those who don’t have the book yet and wish to read it for themselves please stop here.

Here’s how the book depicts Manila.

Dr. Sienna Brooks, a fictional character in the novel, visited the Philippines for a humanitarian mission. Initially, she thought that the country is a “wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains.”

Upon her arrival, Brooks did “gape in horror” because “she had never seen poverty on this scale.” There were “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.”

Involved in prostitution in Manila, the book states, were 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,” it read.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino sent an open letter to Dan Brown (who according to sources has never been to the Philippines) and his publisher and the letter focused on the following:

“We write to you with much concern regarding your recently published novel “Inferno” and its mention of Manila being defined by a number of terrible descriptions of poverty, and pollution, among others, having suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade and worse, being alluded as ‘gates of hell.'”

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity.”

“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. Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” Tolentino said.

“We hope that this letter enlightens you and may guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works.”

Tolentino defended Metro Manila is being a “center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope.”

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

I think government officials and netizens are simply “overreacting.”  The book is fiction so everything that the author says about Manila should just be taken as fictional and imaginary.

Government officials should focus on their job instead of riding this issue for publicity.  It does hurt when you hear the (near) truth coming from an outsider.  Why not just consider this as a wake up call?  Manilenos elected ERAP as their mayor and they expect changes to address their socio-economic problems in Manila so why not ask the local government of Manila to start working and do their job.

Dan Brown only used Manila and not the entire Philippines.  Yes, it is the country’s capital but remember that it does not depict the image of the country.  The Department of Tourism should just focus on promoting and developing more tourist attractions.

Lastly, if you don’t like what’s in the book then do not buy it.  Instead of criticizing the author (which is getting a lot of press because of this) and helping fuel the curiosity (that can translate to more sales), just keep in mind that it’s only but fiction.

What do you guys think?  Leave your comments below.

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50 Shades of Grey and the magic of Mike

July 9, 2012 2 comments

50 shades of grey trilogy

50 shades of grey trilogy

The “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy, which has occupied slots 1, 2 and 3 of Amazon’s best-seller list for months, toted through airports and subway stations by un-self-conscious women, discussed on morning chat shows (author EL James has appeared on “The View”and “Today”), and at family get-togethers. James is estimated to be earning over $1 million a week in royalties.  Even my favorite radio DJ Delamar Arias is very open in saying that she loves reading it in the expense of being the target of her male co-DJs Chico Garcia and Gino Quillamor jokes.

In case you hadn’t heard: Channing Tatum was once a stripper and the tales told in his new film, Magic Mike, are steeped in fact, and based on his own life: In the late 90’s, Tatum dropped out of college and worked as an exotic dancer in male revues in Florida, performing under the name Chan Crawford.

Magic Mike

Magic Mike

The movie is doing pretty well in the US and is currently at no. 2 last weekend.  Haven’t you noticed that other hits like “Twilight” and “True Blood” are basically about shirtless men?

Women today are definitely changing.  They’re starting to be more open with their feelings and are not afraid to show that they are powerful in more ways than is expected of them.

So should we expect more movies with shirtless men soon?

Devils wears Prada is getting a sequel!

June 1, 2012 3 comments

Devil wears Prada

Devil wears Prada

Remember Miranda Priestly?  How about Andrea Sachs?

The author of Devil Wears Prada,  Lauren Weisberger is working on a sequel called Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns.  10 years after the release of her her debut novel, Weisberger is set to publish the follow-up in April 2013.  This is very exciting to those who’ve read the original book and saw the movie.  (if you didn’t… where have you been hiding?)

In 2003, The Devil Wears Prada reached the top of the best-seller lists and went on to inspire the hit 2006 film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. The novel — is partly based on Weisberger’s own experience as second assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour —  that told the story of Andrea “Andy” Sachs, an aspiring journalist dealing with the increasingly unreasonable demands of her fashion editrix boss Miranda Priestly.

Lauren Weisberger Image Credit: Julie Brothers

Lauren Weisberger Image Credit: Julie Brothers

Revenge Wears Prada picks up eight years after Andy parted ways with Miranda on bad terms. Andy is now editing The Plunge, the hottest bridal magazine around, alongside Emily, her one-time Runway nemesis turned current BFF. While Andy is planning her own wedding to Max, a handsome media scion, she remains haunted by her impeccably heeled former boss — and the magazine world being as small as it is, it’s only a matter of time before she hears the dreaded syllables “Ahn-dre-ah!” again.

Weisberger has written three novels since The Devil Wears Prada, but this is her first return to the cutthroat world of Runway magazine. Are you excited for Miranda Priestly’s wrath? Do you dare dream of a Streep-Hathaway-Blunt-Tucci reunion?

Source: EW

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