VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sydney Opera House NOT lit up with images of Marcos, Duterte


A fake photo of the Sydney Opera House supposedly flashing the faces of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio is circulating online.

On May 13 and 14, several Facebook (FB) groups and pages published a photo of the iconic Australian landmark with the images of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio allegedly illuminating its arched sail-like white roofs.

One of the posts’ captions read: “Wow! Australia Congratulates President Bongbong Marcos  and VP Mayor Inday Sara Duterte through the vivid lights at the Operah (sic) house!”

Jayne Blackwell, the Opera House’s Head of Venue and Event Sales, disowned the circulating photo in a May 16 email to VERA Files Fact Check.

“The Opera House has not lit the sails in connection with the recent Philippines election, nor was it involved in any way in the production and distribution of this image,” Blackwell said.

An FB netizen with a history of superimposing the faces of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio on famous international landmarks created the image, which has gone viral. 

The creator shared the image with a friend, who explained in an FB post that it was with the “intention of just being creative and in tune with the political climate in the Philippines,” and not to mislead people into thinking it was real.

The fabricated photo appeared on the same day Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulated Marcos for winning the presidency. Morrison said he looks forward to further strengthening the ties between Australia and the Philippines.

The photo was published by FB pages BBM SARA 2022 Solid South (created on Oct. 6, 2021), Love Yoo, CPA (Feb. 12, 2022), Team Sario (Oct. 28, 2020), BOBON Hotspot (Sept. 19, 2016), Lorna Tv (Oct. 3, 2018), Joharty Vlogs (March 12, 2018), Mang Ernie’s TV (May 20, 2010), and FB group Bongbong Marcos’ Presidency 2022 (Oct. 11, 2021). Their posts have collectively garnered more than 17,590 interactions, 1,340 comments, and 2,470 shares.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)