Dan Brown described Manila as the "gates of hell" in his latest book, the Fiasco, err, Inferno. He described Manila as a city of decay, of widespread prostitution and of poverty.
I don't fault Brown for saying that Manila is like that because he was born in a city, New Hampshire, where he always looks at the trees, and the frosty mountains, and never looked at his streets. New Hampshire is not as saintly as Brown probably thinks it is. His state, New Hampshire is not your usual paradise. It is home to prostitutes, decaying mine cities and extreme poverty as well.
Maybe Brown is just describing his own "town", don't you think?
Anyway, I would not fault him if he sees Manila like that because, most of his readers are not Manilenos. I find his books BOOOOring, and I read one, and really, I thought that a high school guy wrote it. I remember reading a similar book like Dan Brown's and it was somewhat of a journey, with situations and all. It was like a Dungeons and Dragon's book, albeit, the writing is extremely coarse I believe.
Anyway, who would fault Brown for saying that Manila is dying, decaying and poverty is all around? It does not take much of an effort to go to Ongpin and Recto just to see homeless people, looking like zombies. I don't really need SWS to tell me that self-rated poverty in the 1st quarter of 2013 is higher than 2012's because it is quite obvious. Prices of basic commodities have increased tremendously, and people's daily incomes cannot really cope with the prices of even the very basic of staples. What government intends to do is widen the net of people being given cash subsidies, when the main thing that they should do is encourage companies to generate jobs.
If you're poor and you're in Manila, you"ll die. Yes, you can scrape the bottom pit for some food but this will not tide you over poverty.
I would not dare say Manila as the gate to hell, because there are other cities in the Philippines which are more desolate than Manila. Look at Zamboanga City and Pagadian. These are more desolate towns made desolate by the very people living there.
I dare Dan Brown to visit the Philippines and see for himself, how paradise-like our country is. Manila maybe dying, and it is all because of poor management of the city. Yet, if the people rally around the new city administration, things would probably be better in the long run.