NEW YORK CITY, New York — Best-selling American author Dan Brown announced today through his publisher Doubleday that he is hard at work writing a new non-fiction book about Manila, after receiving a letter from Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.
In the letter, Tolentino expressed “disappointment” over the author’s “inaccurate portrayal” of Manila in his latest novel Inferno, in which one of the fictional characters alluded to the city as the “gates of hell”.
The chairman also said in his letter that Manila is an “entry to heaven” because of its religious beliefs.
“Metro Manila is the center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope,” he said.
“Mr. Brown was apologetic upon reading Tolentino’s letter,” according to Brown’s publicist Kristine Aragonzaga. “His heart was full of regret for his inaccurate fictional portrayal of a fictional city in his fictional book.”
According the Aragonzaga, Brown immediately called John Vincent, his editor at Doubleday to green-light his new book entitled ‘Heaven – Capital City of the Philippines‘, to which the latter immediately agreed to.
Heaven – Capital City of the Philippines is a non-fiction novel about a world-class city that has NO garbage, children sniffing solvents, criminals who can just shoot anyone in broad daylight, pollution, prostitution or other derogatory elements that can affect its proud citizens. A city called Manila.
(description from the press release)
“I feel bad and disgusted for what I’ve done,” said Brown in an interview following the announcement of his new book. “After reading Mr. Tolentino’s letter, I must admit that I was enlightened and inspired to immediately work on this new book.”
Brown was kind enough to give us a glimpse of what he has written so far:
Manila, the capital city of the Philippines can be described in one word: Heaven.
Upon exiting their world-class airport, you are greeted by Filipinos who are willing to help carry your luggage to an awaiting taxi without asking for anything in return. Their taxis are driven by the most honest people on Earth who will not try to trick you into paying a much larger fare.
I asked the driver to open the windows as he was driving along a traffic-jam-free avenue in order for me to breathe in the world renowned pollution-free air that this country has to offer.
I had to constantly remind myself that I was in Manila, a city that I once referred to in a fictional story as to having suffocation pollution.
Boy, was I wrong.
(Excerpt from page 1)
“And that is just page 1,” said Brown, as he handed me another page to read.
I asked the driver to bring me to Ermita, a popular place for sex trade in the city according to some of my friends.
“We don’t have sex trade here in the Manila,” said the proud driver in fluent English. “Or in other cities for that matter.”
At that moment, I glanced out the window to see a well-lit road lined up with grandiose houses and mansions.
I asked the driver where we were.
“We just passed Delpan and going to Road 10,” he answered politely.
I was in awe.
Manila, it seems, is a city where the meaning of poverty has been erased from the minds of its citizens, not because of lack of education, mind you; but because of the high standard of living the citizens are enjoying.
(From page 40)
The best-selling author handed me another page.
“If you think these houses are magnificent,” the driver quipped, obviously noticing my amazement, “Wait till we arrive at Baseco and Parola.”
Five minutes later, after carefully pulling-over to the side of the road via his disciplined use of the vehicle’s signal lights, rear-view mirror and side-view mirrors, we arrived at Baseco.
I stepped from the taxi, gaping at the large mansions that set beyond the sidewalk, towering over me as if attempting to intimidate me. The cream coating of the paint shined as the sun beat down on it, causing me to squint. Uniquely twisted fencing kept the houses enclosed, neatly trimmed hedges surrounded them. The roof was peaked, slanting down at an angle. The windows had royal purple curtains hanging on the other side of them, drawn so that the sunlight could stream through.
As I stepped onto the sidewalk, I noticed a marble fountain sitting towards the right side of the lawn. An angel holding a flower was perched on top, looking up towards the clear blue sky. Water spurted from its other hand, which lay gently out in front of it, as if waiting for someone to take it in return. The water fell gently towards the crystal blue pool beneath it, causing ripples to form and wave out until they were no more.
This is Baseco. But it felt like heaven…
(From page 41)
After reading, Brown cannot contain himself and said, “And that is just the tip of the iceberg!”
“Wait till you read what I have to say about your churches and its strict adherence to the concept of ‘separation of church and state”, teased Brown.
Dan Brown’s Heaven – Capital City of the Philippines is set to be released this Holiday season.