Manila The Gates Of Hell and Jessica Soho's Gang-Rape Scene

Manila: The place of six hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and horrifying sex trade.
- Dan Brown, Inferno

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And yet again, the Philippines has been insulted by another foreigner, Dan Brown, author of the hit novels Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. And yet again, I am seeing a series of photos and statuses on Facebook ordering the government to sue Dan Brown and send him to the gates of hell. (Literally and figuratively)

I'm a fan of Dan Brown-I like his books because beyond all the mind-blowing plots, he is exposing the ills of our societies and religions-something that we know, but refuse to believe let alone see. (Now this a personal belief. Let us not debate on this)

I've been to a coffee date with some of my friends and as expected, this was the topic. Words like a$$hole, stupid, bastard, wimp, and all the names you can think of were thrown back and forth at our table-if words could kill, Dan Brown is double dead by now-no, make it quadruple dead.

I feel bad, you know. I love Dan Brown, but I absolutely think that it is cruel to describe Manila as such. Manila is a beautiful city, the Philippines is a wonderful country, but like any other place, it has its own demons-it's just that the demons outweigh the city's innate beauty. And if you haven't lived here long enough or if you've just been to this place once, you will never appreciate it--I am saying this because I've been to different countries and as a first timer, I kinda' felt the same way too-perhaps it's the same banana for Dan Brown.

But Manila is in question here. And I am torn. Shall I berate Dan Brown? I guess that's the obvious and nationalistic choice. But as I walk around the city, I can't help but think: Ladies and gentlemen, the truth hurts.

This is the truth-the sad, sad truth not only in Manila but in other countries as well: we all have our own demons that we have to fight-that we tend to focus on so many shallow things that we end up letting the demons grow stronger and when we are criticized for it, we fight back not only because it's insulting, but we're also reminded that it's an issue we are not working on. (More like rubbing salt to the wound and P.R.I.D.E.) I don't know what's in Dan Brown's head when he was writing the novel, but I am not that hurt because I know for a fact that other countries have their own "Manila" too and everybody knows it-it's just that it wasn't forged into writing by some renowned author. That, and I won't deny that what he said is somewhat true. Well, Manila (and the Philippines in general) is still on its way to improving itself and in time, this comment won't matter any longer.

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And then Vice Ganda made a tactless joke about Jessica Soho during his concert-it was about Gang Rape--he has been doing it to some of his audience in his shows too-it's not about gang rape though, but nevertheless, it's all about insult. It's as hurtful as Dan Brown's description of Manila, but it is appalling to know that some people still support this artist. You may not support Vice Ganda (I don't as well), but if we're going to consider the nation as a whole, why are we allowing this? Why are we hurt by Dan Brown's comment? Just because Vice is a Filipino, he's funny and Jessica is just one person, but Brown is an assuming foreigner and has attacked the whole? An insult is an insult-the more we allow these things to permeate amongst us, the more of it we shall attract.

I've read a tale about New York city, that it was once a place for smokers, drug pushers, and the likes and just like Manila, it was once criticized and lambasted too. So what did the government do? They responded by repainting the whole city, cleaning it, and putting everything in order. Not long enough, all the smokers and pushers vanished. It's all about actively responding here. Now Dan Brown has pointed it out, what do we do? How do we teach Vice Ganda his lesson? Posting rants about them on Facebook won't change the fact that they did what they did. I mean, it's okay to post and express your emotions, but at some point, we have to walk the talk.

What say you?

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16 Lovely Thoughts

  1. I went to Venice Beach in California last week and they were selling "medical marijuana" on the boardwalk. The people who came out of the joint looked high. Hubby and I were scared and pretty much wrote the place off.

    In tagalog, lahat naman may baho. Eh yun sa Manila lang napili ni Dan Brown na i-highlight. But his description does hold some truth. If people spent as much time as they did trying to clean up Manila as they did berating him maybe things would actually improve.

  2. I definitely agree with you. I like Dan Brown too and his works. But although I feel sad that he sees Manila this way, there's a truth in it and we as Filipinos must face it and initiate the change, not just rant about it over at Facebook or Twitter. In some extent, Dan Brown has helped us see the goodness in Manila, and even in the Philippines in general.

    As for the issue with Jessica Soho and Vice Ganda, I hope Vice learns from this and becomes more careful with his jokes. I've read his apology from a new feature, but it doesn't seem too sincere though >.<

  3. I love this post!! <3

    I'm not being racist nor I'm generalizing, but a lot of us Filipinos can't seem to accept that we're also wrong. A lot of us laugh at the demise of others but when the joke's on us, we can't take it lightly. I love the Philippines, it's my home, but of course, we can't help noticing all these points.
    I'm not very fond of Vice Ganda too, coz a lot of times he can be very offensive :/

  4. Re: Dan Brown
    I think if the people and government of the Philippines are too affected by what he said then they should accept the facts and do something about it rather than wasting time retaliating the issue.

    Re: Vice vs. Jessica Soho
    He really needs new content. No intelligent person would think that the bashing jokes on people are funny. What about Dolphy? He can joke around and make fun without hurting anyone. This is a giant form of BULLYING. Not funny at all.

  5. I totally agree! I, too am a fan of Dan Brown,of all his books he always says something about a certain country. Although I am quite hurt of what he wrote, on the other hand, I'm thankful coz its another sign for our government to take actions on those matters. I mean, do we really have to experience this much of publicity about our mother nation to change? And its not just about the government but all of us Filipinos as a whole, simpleng pagtapon nga ng balat ng kendi di pa maitapon sa tamang basurahan eh.

    I watched that concert of Vice Ganda on youtube, super offensive talaga lahat ng jokes nya. Di na nakakatuwa. Never been a fan of him ever since.

  6. There's truth in Dan Brown's words. Instead of taking it as an insult, we should take it as a challenge to make a better impression.

  7. I couldn't agree more. Minsan kasi diyan magaling ang pinoy. Mahuhurt tapos eh wala namang ginagawa. Every single person must take the initiative to improve. Kaya naman nagkaganyan ang Manila, dahil din sa mga tao kaya dapat sa atin magsimula talaga ang change.

  8. this is a good insight to what is happening in our country. i think people in media should be respected. this is a huge news like

  9. I agree with what you wrote about Dan Brown. What he wrote in his book may serve as a wakeup call to the people who run our country.

  10. But this is such a REALITY, I can take the Dan Brown's but gang rape is not a joke sabi nga ni JS, pero iba iba tayo ng opinion so better respond nalang in a good way.:)

  11. sometimes we say the worst things about our country and its leaders, but won’t hear it if coming from foreigners saying the same things.

  12. i agree on your article about this issue ms m...

    Manila: The place of six hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and horrifying sex trade.

    ahm... sa manila lang ba sobrang traffic? sa ibang asian countries ba hindi?

    pero err ha horrifying sex trade?

    hmmmm opinion nya yun, siguro he's been here in manila at naexperience nya ang sobrang traffic at pollution and even the last one he mentioned I dunno.. basta ang alam ko Manila is beautiful still kahit taga laguna ako at pinganak sa batangas =)

    about vice ganda show, napanood ko lang sa dvd,soldout ang tickets. though still hindi maganda na manginsulto ka ng iba para lang makapagpatawa ng ibang tao. foul yun. kahit ako ayaw ko ng maiinsulto ako just for others laughters..


  13. Have you even read the book?

  14. Rowena: Couldn't agree more with that!

    Anonymous: Hi and welcome to my blog! No, I haven't, but we have a copy at home.

    Rhaindropz: I guess the horrifying sex trade was a little harsh, but again, there is some truth to that. Go around Greenbelt and Makati Avenue at night.

    Ohms: agree!

    iznubadd: Hi and welcome to TBJ! Good point!

    valerie: hi there and welcome to my blog! Thanks for the link, will check it out.

    Paola ysabel: Hi and welcome to tbj! Well not only our country, but other countries as well. :)

    Gen Zel and Aviva: Hi dearies! thank you for sharing your insights. :)

    Mhisha: Thanks for your insight. Same-never really liked Vice Ganda.

    Vienasuncion: Hi and welcome to TBJ! Thank you for sharing. Regarding Vice Ganda, sigh...

    Kirin: Hi and welcome to tbj! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Same sentiments here-sometimes, Pinoys could get so 'balat sibuyas'.

    Sumi Go: Hello! That's the thing, if we'll only keep on accepting apology letters, then the insults won't stop. We have to do something about it and end it-starting with Vice Ganda... XD

  15. Tayong mga Pinoy, pikon. It may be nationalistic to be offended but doing something to alleviate the situation is SO MUCH MORE. We can't solve it overnight pero paunti into, kayang masolusyunan yan. Yung wrappers ng candy, ibulsa muna hanggang makakita ng tamang tapunan. Makakaya rin nating tumawid as tamang tawiran.We can wail all we want but unless we care enough and do something about it, Dan Brown won't be the last person to say anything bad about Manila or the country.


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