[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/book.jpg" max="none" type="subheading" width="100%"]HEADER COPY[/text_image]
“In ‘Inferno,’ the fourth part in Harvard art professor Robert Langdon’s adventures, one of the characters goes through ‘the gates of hell’ in Manila.
She expects the Philippines to be a ‘wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains.’
But after setting foot in Manila, Brooks gapes in ‘horror’ as she has ‘never seen poverty on this scale,’ slamming Manila’s ‘six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.’
The description of the city is from the firsthand account of one of the fictional characters, the messianic Dr. Sienna Brooks, who works with humanitarian groups. She goes to the Philippines for a mission to supposedly feed poor fishermen and farmers in the countryside.
Tolentino, who is also the traffic czar, said Manila’s traffic is only around two hours long -- at most.” – from ABS-CBN News
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Nation, we’ve all heard the quote from Dan Brown’s latest book Inferno by now, or at least a paraphrasing of it. Manila has been called “the gates of Hell,” sound the alarms, Patriotic Filipinos®! There will be mayhem, and maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan! Let’s ignore the fact that disturbing victim-blaming mentality, sex trade in maximum security prison, and elementary school political mudslinging are all business as usual features for Manila.
It’s a bit weird that our very own MMDA Chairman, Francis Tolentino, even sent Dan Brown a letter to “correct him,” ignoring the facts that…
- Manila indeed is not a wonderland of geological beauty. We have Palawan, Bohol, Bicol, and about 7,000 more islands for that, but certainly not Manila,
- This was a work of fiction. You don’t tell Siegel and Shuster that you know Superman is fiction, but it’s unrealistic for him to be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound,
- Citing our Catholicism as proof that we are a “gate to heaven” is one of the most narrow-minded things you could offer up as a counterpoint. Between that and Burgos, Sta. Mesa, or Pasig, we know where our “gates to heaven” really are, amirite? And,
- Dan Brown is entitled to his opinion, whether or not he has been to the Philippines. You’re free to “correct” him, but you’re not free to tell him he has no right.
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With all the outrage against Dan Brown, a vocal chunk of Filipinos prove once more that we can’t take it the way we dish it out. He wasn’t the first, though, and certainly won’t be the last. Here are eight other instances when our vaunted Filipino pride was hurt, and establishes once and for all why the word “pikon” exists in our language.
And yes, in the event another incident crops up like this, with all the times we’ve brought out the torches and pitchforks, there will probably be a part 2. And 3. And 4. And 5.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/8t.jpg" type="subheading"]Claire Danes[/text_image]
The Controversy: In 1999, after filming parts of Brokedown Palace in Manila, Claire Danes clearly didn’t get the first-class tour of the city, and ended up evaluating Manila as a “ghastly, weird city,” and that the city “smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over…”
The Outrage: Welp, that escalated pretty quickly. It didn’t take long before the Philippines banned Danes’s movies from being shown in the country, which was pretty harsh for Pinoy Terminator fans. She was also declared persona non grata and has not set foot in the Philippines ever again.
It’s a bit funny that while Dan Brown hasn’t been to Manila, someone who has been pretty much said the same thing Brown has said about Manila.
But Then: You have to admit that it was pretty smart of Tony Gilroy, director of the Bourne Legacy, to call Manila “colourful and ugly and gritty, raw and stinky and crowded” only after the movie had been released in the country.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/7t.jpg" type="subheading"]Filipino Cookies[/text_image]
The Controversy: Around 1999, Nabisco Iberia manufactured cookies in Spain that they named “Filipinos.” It was dark on the outside and white on the inside, and actually very yummy. But it was named Filipinos, so we kinda had a problem with that.
The Outrage: The government filed diplomatic protest on our behalf, because clearly, that’s what we pay our taxes for.
But Then: Isn’t it strange that Austrians don’t mind that those tiny sausages we have for breakfast are called Vienna Sausage, that our unbeatable milk is Alaska, or that we paint our houses with Dutch Boys? Go figure.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/6t.jpg" type="subheading"]Teri hatcher[/text_image]
The Controversy: In a 2007 episode of Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher’s character, Susan Mayer, questions the credentials of her doctor, wanting to check if he got his diploma from “some med school in the Philippines.” There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth afterwards. Even if our med schools (okay, nursing schools) were suffering their worst reputation in decades at the time.
The Outrage: Completely forgetting that Hatcher was asked to portray a role and read from a script, so much hatred was thrown in her direction as if she meant every single word she said as a character in a fictional comedy television show. The network apologized, and was forced to edit out this part of the episode, and future airings no longer featured this line. That’s actually well and good, really. People got offended, outrage was contained by decisive action, and all’s well that ends well (Except for Terri Hatcher). Par for the course and not exactly overboard so far, right?
But Then: Not to let a chance to politically grandstand pass them by, our government then demanded the writers make fanfiction. And we were doing soooo well.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/5t.jpg" type="subheading"]Tommy Hilfiger[/text_image]
The Controversy: In a guesting on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1996, Tommy Hilfiger pretty much declared that had he known that blacks, Latinos, and Asians would wear his designer clothes, then he wouldn’t have made them. It’s pretty amazing he would say these things in front of the most powerful black person in America at the time, so you have to admire the sheer number of f*cks he had to give, which was somewhere between zip and nada.
The Outrage: Not only was Hilfiger escorted from the show, but after the incident made the rounds in Philippine tabloids and emails, they moved to boycott his clothing line from the Philippines altogether, and maybe even ban his clothes from being sold locally. This boycott was so successful that the brand’s sales doubled, netting him a pitiful $2 billion. Poor Tommy. If he only shut up, we bet he would have made $4 billion, right?
But Then: If the first link didn’t already spell it out to you, the whole “controversy” was a hoax. Hilfiger never even guested on Oprah until 2007, a full eleven years after this supposed thing happened, and he did it specifically to categorically deny the rumors.
When Filipinos far and wide discovered their error on the matter, they were very quick to apologize and never went on to jump to conclusions and get outraged about issues without knowing all the facts first, ever again. Like, never.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/4t.jpg" type="subheading"]Tracy Borres[/text_image]
The Controversy: Proof that even Filipinos can be the target of Pinoy Pride ire, Tracy Borres was an Ateneo student who, in 2008, had an immersion with an Aeta community for her Theology 141 class. She didn’t take a liking to the experience, and proceeded to write about it on her Facebook. Then the message went viral because one of her friends decided to out her for being a, well, typical Atenean.
The Outrage: Oh, man, oh, man. People like Christopher Lao and Blair Carabuena may have had it bad, but if you’re a woman who is targeted by anonymous internet ire, you get rape threats on top of all the abuse they heap on you. Calling Tracy an embarrassment to her school and a self-loathing racist with a dash of colonial mentality was probably the nicest thing her detractors had to say about her. Her statement over the issue didn’t help her case, either. Sigh sigh sigh.
But Then: Internet hate is sadly therapeutic. It makes us feel better about ourselves because we get to judge other people with statements that begin, “I may not be a saint, but…” Well, who cares? Were you expecting a medal for not being a douchebag? You’re not supposed to be one, in the first place!
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/3t.jpg" type="subheading"]Justin Bieber[/text_image]
The Controversy: As if people didn’t hate Justin Bieber enough, and as if his horrible treatment of fans in the Philippines were just the tip of the iceberg, Bieber just had to anger the Filipino nation by poking fun at Manny Pacquiao in 2012 shortly after his stunning knockout loss to Juan Miguel Marquez. With all the attention Bieber got from that stunt, he was clearly One Less Lonely Boy that entire week.
The Outrage: Bieber learned pretty quickly what Adam Carolla had to learn the hard way: you do not touch Pacquiao. Ever. As if Bieber’s sexuality had anything to do with it, Bieber must have received so many homophobic slurs in his general direction shortly after his Instagram pictures came out that the only time you’d hear the word “gay” more is when it’s used to describe Christmas in the 1950s.
As usual, our politicians just had to jump into the fray, with the added excuse that Pacquiao happened to be one of them, since he is also a Congressman. Sigh sigh sigh.
But Then: Is it just me, or aren’t we kinda big hypocrites for poking fun at Pacquiao’s rivals then getting mad when it happens to Pacquiao, in the first place? Margarito? Mayweather? How about everybody else? Also, why is insulting one Filipino equal to insulting the entire race?
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2t.jpg" type="subheading"]Chip tsao[/text_image]
The Controversy: In 2009, Hong Kong-based columnist Chip Tsao came out with a satirical article entitled The War at Home, where he deadpanned how China should bully the Philippines because it doesn’t have the power to bully America or Japan or Russia, calling the Philippines “a nation of servants.” This quickly blew up in his face.
The Outrage: Well, Congressman Roilo Golez challenged Tsao to one round of boxing, so you can see that we were pretty level-headed about it. And, oh, the “maid” Luisa in the article turned out to not even be a Filipina, and is very well-treated by Tsao. Of course, that didn’t stop people from trying to mount a rescue for Luisa.
But Then: Don’t think Filipinos have a monopoly on misunderstanding satire. People do it all the time, even as early as when people took Nico Machiavelli’s “The Prince” at face value.
[text_image img="https://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1t.jpg" type="subheading"]The Beatles[/text_image]
The Controversy: In 1966, the Beatles went to the Philippines to perform. It was a pretty big deal. To kids reading this that don’t know who the Beatles are: imagine Justin Bieber going to the Philippines with One Direction, but imagine all of them actually had talent. To the parents of the kids reading this who don’t know who the Beatles are: shame on you, you’re not raising your kids right.
Anyways. The story goes that the Beatles accidentally (or deliberately) snubbed a courtesy call from then-First Lady Imelda Marcos, and if you’re not paying attention, bad things happen if you cross Imelda.
The Outrage: Unlike every other entry here, the outrage went far beyond online or maybe a simple protest march. The Beatles were pretty much left to fend for themselves for the remainder of their stay. Their hotel and transport accommodations were pulled, security detail for them was dropped, they had to carry their own instruments up non-moving escalators in the airport, bomb threats and death threats were levelled to them, their promoter attempted to not pay them for their performance, and yes, they were even violently manhandled by a mob of 200 angry Filipinos, all because the newspapers that morning declared that the Beatles stood Imelda Marcos up. Not that I wish Bieber got manhandled himself, but why this happened to the Fab Four but not to him will always remain a mystery to me.
Since barely escaping from the country in one piece, none of the Beatles has ever set foot on Philippine soil ever again and have very little love for the country, and who can blame them?
But Then: This may seem like the first instance of nationwide outrage over a foreigner visiting us and not finding things to their liking, but it is not. The first recorded instance of outrage was in 1521, when this guy did not find Filipino hospitality to agree with him. He then died of a fatal allergy to bladed weapons.