For true blue supporters of the Kapamilya, Kapuso, or Kapatid networks, seeing your favorite celebrities go over the bakod from their home network to a rival station is such a big deal. This even becomes a national issue of concern, especially to those who view the Philippine showbiz as a huge network war where partisanship to one network is an indication of your taste. The recent artist to do this is Bea Alonzo, who transferred to the Kapuso network after being a Kapamilya for 20 years.
But we have to understand, our celebrity idols are humans too — they yearn for growth whenever they feel stagnant. Here are 8 celebrities who made the biggest network switch decisions that truly left us all shookt.
Before Angel Locsin has risen to be the pandemic’s real-life angel for less-fortunate Filipinos, she was known as the half-human, half-hawk Alwina in the hit fantaserye Mulawin. This propelled her career in GMA and made her one of its biggest stars back in the mid-2000s. Everything Angel touched back then turned to gold. Some of her other big-ticket projects included her iconic roles in Darna, Majika, and Asian Treasures, which further solidified her name in stone as one of GMA’s most prized talents.
However, after her 5-year contract with the network ended in 2007, she went on a break to take a fashion course in London. During that short time frame, speculations have already circulated about her transfer to the rival Kapamilya network, with her former manager Becky Aguila doing the papers. Wilma Galvante, GMA’s senior vice president for entertainment back then, even expressed her dismay, saying it was GMA that nurtured Angel to become the star that she is now. Angel has been in the Kapamilya network for 13 years and running.
Sembrano started her career in journalism as a newscaster for the IBC network. In 1997, she transferred to GMA and was given big-ticket shows like the investigatory documentary The Probe, Saksi and the iconic Wish Ko Lang. One of Sembrano’s biggest scoops as a journalist was when she, along with her The Probe team, reported about former PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino’s questionable wealth. However, GMA Network conceded in 2003 and released a statement saying the show didn’t have enough evidence to prove Genuino’s alleged corruption controversy. Shortly after, Sembrano left GMA Network and was fortunate to receive an offer from ABS-CBN. Sembrano maintains that the Kapamilya network did not pirate her, adding that it was a personal choice. She now joins veteran Kapamilya broadcasters Noli De Castro and Henry Omaga-Diaz as one of TV Patrol’s anchors.
Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez are a powerhouse couple in the showbiz industry. Even before officially becoming an item, they were always together. They have been mainstays of the Sunday variety show S.O.P. In 2017, Ogie Alcasid made a big return to ABS-CBN. Yes, you heard it right, before becoming a Kapuso in 1995, he was actually a Kapamilya first. He also ventured into ABC Network’s (Channel 5’s former name) Tropang Trumpo for a year. And exactly a year later, his wife Regine joined him. But this did not sit well with Regine’s fans. To answer her critics, Regine said “lumipat lang ako, hindi pumatay ng tao” to deserve such strong remarks. At the height of the pandemic and ABS-CBN’s franchise suspension in 2020, the Alcasids said they have no reason to be ungrateful for the Kapamilya network, saying they did not regret their decision to transfer.
Karylle did not exactly specify why she transferred to ABS-CBN in 2008. But before that, she was one of GMA’s lead roles in the hit fantaserye Encantadia (see the video at 2:30 for Karylle’s performance as Alena, the sang’gre of Adamya). Fans speculated it was because her then-boyfriend Dingdong Dantes was linked with his Marimar co-star Marian Rivera. Before Karylle’s transfer to ABS-CBN, she made headlines literally, when she started posing for Bench’s “Single is Sexy” billboard ads. Now, Karylle is a mainstay at the noontime show It’s Showtime.
Atom Araullo was one of the rising broadcast journalists in ABS-CBN, his network for 15 years. His most notable coverage was when he delivered a standupper while braving supertyphoon Yolanda’s strong winds in Tacloban City, Leyte in 2013, which also trended worldwide. But in 2017, his sudden change of heart came as shock to the industry. He decided to come home to his original network, GMA, to pursue more documentary-style programs. He clarified, however, that he had no bad blood with ABS-CBN and that his decision was for the best interest of both parties. Now, he’s one of the main anchors of GMA’s flagship evening newscast, 24 Oras.
Speaking of homecomings, Jolina Magdangal was one of the artists who ended up returning to her original network. Jolina’s impact on teenage girls in the ’90s was something you couldn’t erase in history. And that wouldn’t have happened if Johnny Manahan didn’t discover her in 1992. She became one of Star Magic’s pioneer talents. In 2003, she transferred to GMA, before coming home to ABS-CBN again in 2015. From being a teenage icon, we now know her as one of the quirky momshies in the talk show Magandang Buhay.
Some artists transfer to one network and stay there. Some transfer, only to come home to their original networks after quite some time. But some transfer from point A to point B, then from point B to point C. That’s what happened to singer/dancer/host Billy Crawford. As one of the late Kuya Germs’ alagas in the variety show That’s Entertainment, Billy debuted in showbiz at the early age of 4. Majority of his life he dedicated to performing. He even reached international recognition when his song “Bright Lights” became a hit in France. He made a homecoming concert in 2007. But just a year after, he made the big switch to ABS-CBN, leaving his ‘Pa’ Kuya Germs disappointed. They eventually ironed out their misunderstanding before Kuya Germs passed away. Since then, Billy has been one of ABS-CBN’s hosting icons. But in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he had to leave the Kapamilya network for TV5 in order to sustain his family.
Just like Billy, Willie had the same career path. But between the two, he’s the more OG, having done it earlier than Billy. His original home network was also GMA, where he started hosting the noontime variety show Lunch Date in the 1980s. In 1998, he transferred to ABS-CBN to host Magandang Tanghali Bayan. It was only in 2005 when he had his own show, and the most iconic of all, the Wowowee. But in 2010, Willie had a rift with entertainment columnist Joebert Sucaldito that didn’t end up well, leading him to leave the Kapamilya Network and transfer to TV5. After 5 years in the Kapatid network, Willie came home to GMA in 2015. Until now, he still manages to host variety shows that cater to helping the less fortunate.