Treasure trove: ‘Unscripted’

Sarah Meier-Albano and Vicky Herrera's collection of interviews from icons of Philippine pop culture continue to delight us

UNSCRIPTED. This book is a compilation of conversations with the Dolls and icons of Philippine art and culture. All photos by Pia Ranada

MANILA, Philippines – A pop culture treasure chest is one way to describe “Unscripted” by Sarah Meier-Albano and Vicky Herrera.

The book, launched in 2011, harks back to their days as radio DJs of “The Dollhouse,” a morning rush-hour show on the now defunct U92 FM.

The gorgeous tome immortalizes transcripts of interviews from a segment on their show called “The Real OG” in which they invite inspiring Filipinos to share their insights with listeners.

The 16 featured guests are as varied as the book’s playful, eye-popping pages and represent different aspects of the Philippine art and culture spectrum.

They are musician-writer Lourd de Veyra, fashion icon Tessa Prieto-Valdes, hip hop group Masta Plann, sportscaster Boyet Sison, composer-musician Ryan Cayabyab, fashion designer Jeannie Goulbourn, news anchor Rico Hizon, RockEd’s Gang Badoy, entertainer Kuya Germs, basketball player Jeff Cariaso, rock star Raimund Marasigan, composer-musician John Lesaca, history buff Carlos Celdran, educator and musician Jim Paredes and “Madam” Imelda Marcos herself.


Eye-popping pages

Each interviewee is given pages designed to reflect their personality and contribution to the Philippine cultural scene.

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ words are read on pages with tendrils of high-heels winding their way through her most memorable quotes like “Beauty is God made real” and her thoughts on the word “Imeldific.”

Kuya Germs’ pages depict the bright lights of entertainment and a comic-book style sketch of the legendary TV host complete with bow-tie.

Carlos Celdran’s are full of spirals and curlicues reminiscent of historic art noveau buildings and Spanish colonial period style houses.

IMELDIFIC. In these pages, Sarah and Vicky talk beauty and shoes with former First Lady Imelda Marcos

The only thing richer than the page designs are the interviews themselves.

Sarah and Vicky manage to ask all the right questions and throw in some quirky, wild card ones for good measure.

They delve into Kuya Germs’ humble beginnings as a sidewalk vendor who always sold the most goods among his friends because of his mestizo looks. A few paragraphs later, they lighten the mood by asking why he is always in a glittering outfit even at the height of noon.

In their interview with Tessa Prieto-Valdes, the Dolls ask for her fashion philosophy, revealing everything from her thoughts on matching colors to how she transformed from a Plain Jane to a walking fashion show after her brother died in a motorcycle accident.

A page later, they’re talking about plastic surgery.

During their session with Imelda Marcos, they ask the unaskable: has she ever worn sneakers?

In the middle of the show, they listen to a song called “Here Lies Love,” a song inspired by and dedicated to Mrs Marcos which, until then, she had never heard.

Jim Paredes shares with them his thoughts on family, social media, and what it means to be a Filipino in a world with cyber space.

With fashion designer Jeannie Goulbourn, they talked about losing her daughter to depression and the steps to overcoming the condition.

FIT FOR A ROCKSTAR. These pages are devoted to the Dolls' interview with musician Raimund Marasigan

Shared treasure

The words, thoughts, nuggets of wisdom and bits of craziness found in the pages of “Unscripted” are gems that any Filipino or foreigner interested in Philippine culture will want to keep and cherish.

More than a compilation of transcripts, it is a record of what mattered to Filipinos at the time “The Dollhouse” went live and perhaps what will continue to matter no matter what time period.

Together, the interviewees and the hosts offer a kaleidoscope of perspectives on art, journalism, history, health, sports, technology, patriotism, show business and all the other things that make a Filipino’s world go round.

On a personal level, “Unscripted” is also a collection of words of wisdom for the reader trying to make sense of Philippine society. Because the featured personalities are leaders in their field, the book is also a source for tips and advice for any young (or young at heart) reader wishing to succeed in that arena.

It was, therefore, only natural for Sarah and Vicky to write the book. The best thing to do with such beautiful insights and compelling stories is to share them. –

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