Following the departure of Maja Salvador, Bea Alonzo, and some of ABS-CBN’s biggest female stars, the Kapamilya stronghold is left to a league of loyal royalties to rule and defend.
Will Bea Alonzo be the last? Likely, she is not. It’s hard to predict the future of ABS-CBN’s roster of stars, given that it is still in an indefinite phase of recuperation.
The institution stays, as Gabby Lopez once predicted, but you can’t say it is still as strong as before.
When ABS-CBN lost Jolina Magdangal and Claudine Barreto, decades ago, there were more than enough indications that fans could easily move on to the remaining and next big stars. Both Magdangal and Barretto were already among their generation’s biggest female stars, but many more others were quickly growing capable to take the thrones they willingly gave up.
As most fans may recall, Magdangal abandoned her then ongoing program Ariba, Ariba, when she decided to go to GMA-7, while Barretto was still Judy Ann Santos’ biggest rival when she moved to the Kapuso network.
With Bea Alonzo, the circumstances are both somewhat similar and completely different.
Similar in the sense that Alonzo, until she decided to leave, remained among the biggest Kapamilya homegrowns. It is also completely different because she is leaving at a time her home studio is at its worst.
What is that iconic line from One More Chance, the film that gave her the first Box-Office Queen title, again?
“You had me at my worst, she had me at my best. And you chose to break my heart.”
A perfect allusion to her parting ways with ABS-CBN and to the ones who chose to stay, don’t you think? She officially confirmed her exit from ABS-CBN on July 1, or just nine days before the Network marks the first year of having its franchise application in Congress denied.
While Maja Salvador, Pokwang, and Bea Alonzo are most likely not the last ones to leave ABS-CBN, it is worth noting that some of the Network’s longest-staying homegrowns remain, and have pledged to wait until the Network fully recuperates.
Of course, that can’t be taken at face value. Jumping ships is ultimately a career decision, and it’s not solely the artist’s decision, but also of her manager and talent management agency.
Still, here are the last remaining queens of ABS-CBN:
One of the longest-staying homegrowns, Panganiban started her career as a child star in ABS-CBN.
Among her biggest projects included TV series–Iisa Pa Lamang, Rubi, and Walang Hanggang Paalam, and movies–A Love Story, Here Comes the Bride, and One More Try.
The actress has recently expressed her intent to retire from doing new TV dramas, but she remains affiliated with the Network, for which she openly expressed her support last year.
Locsin’s shift from GMA Network to ABS-CBN during the peak of her career was wildly talked about in Philippine showbiz in 2007.
Among her biggest projects in ABS-CBN included TV series–Lobo, Imortal, The Legal Wife, and The General’s Daughter.
She has also starred in a number of award-winning and box-office grossing films like Unofficially Yours, In the Name of Love, and One More Try. She currently hosts the public service program, Iba ‘Yan.
Formerly a Kapuso, Anne Curtis-Smith rose to massive popularity when she moved to ABS-CBN in 2004.
Among her biggest projects on television included TV series: Hiram, Kampanerang Kuba, Maging Sino Ka Man, Dyosa, and Green Rose.
In movies, she achieved box-office royalty status via movies like No Other Woman, Babe, I Love You, and When Love Begins, among others.
She is set to resume her hosting duties on ABS-CBN’s longest-running noontime show, It’s Showtime.
Jodi Sta. Maria.
Set to star on ABS-CBN’s adaptation of the BBC hit, Dr.Foster, Sta. Maria has been with ABS-CBN for more than 20 years.
She has taken on some of the iconic Kapamilya roles including Amor Powers of the Pangako Sa’yo remake (which by the way catapulted Eula Valdes to great stardom after assuming the character back in the early 2000s), George Fuentabella of Tabing-ilog, and the latest bida-kontrabida character of Marissa Pineda of the recently concluded, Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin.
Magdangal’s exit from ABS-CBN was a major shocker in the local entertainment scene in 2000.
Her return to the network in 2015, however, was a testament to her commitment to remain a Kapamilya.
She has since appeared on various important projects, including the drama series, Flordeliza and the recently-released family comedy film, Ang Soul Mo Ay Akin. She currently co-hosts the morning talk show, Magandang Buhay, along with Melai Cantiveros and Karla Estrada.
Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo.
There is no doubt Santos-Agoncillo remains ABS-CBN’s biggest homegrown star.
She was first catapulted to fame by the wildly popular soap opera Mara Clara.
She starred in Philippine TV’s highest-rated soap operas, earning her the moniker Queen of Pinoy Soap Opera. She also scored several box-office hits, including movies she starred opposite Piolo Pascual, like Till There Was You and Don’t Give Up On Us.
She is one of the country’s most-awarded actresses. Santos-Agoncillo has repeatedly affirmed her commitment to remain with ABS-CBN until things are better for the Network.
Undoubtedly this generation’s movie queen, Bernardo started her career as a Kapamilya child actress.
Among her most iconic roles on television, she portrayed were: Maya in Super Inggo, Mara in the 2010 reboot of the 1992 TV series of the same title, as Chichay in Got to Believe, and as Yna Macaspac in the 2015 reboot of Pangako Sa ’Yo.
Bernardo’s success in movies remains unrivaled. She is the Filipino actress to lead the only two Filipino movies (The Hows of Us in 2018 and Hello Love, Goodbye in 2019) to gross more than Php800 million in the box office.
She will have a reunion project with long-time onscreen and real-life sweetheart Daniel Padilla in an upcoming movie and a TV series.
Chiu’s loyalty to ABS-CBN goes back to as early as when she won the first edition of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition in 2006.
She has since grown to become one of the Network’s biggest female stars.
During the Network’s franchise renewal woes last year, she was among the most vocal about her support for her home Network. Although initially made her the subject of hilarious and bashful memes, her ‘bawal lumabas’ statement ultimately thrust her to social media attention, but it paved way for a streak of movie and TV projects.
Soberano joined ABS-CBN in 2011.
She rose to fame for her lead role on the TV series, Forevermore, where she starred alongside long-time reel-to-real partner, Enrique Gil. But, before that, the tandem between her and Gil came from a Bea Alonzo-Dingdong Dantes’ 2013 romantic melodrama film She’s the One, directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar. In the film, she was Gil’s (as David Esguerra) girl best friend Gillian.
In movies, she achieved similar success through her high-grossing films, My Ex and Whys, and Alone/Together. A planned movie under Star Cinema will serve as her comeback project.
Lustre’s legal woes with her talent agency, Viva Artists, seem to bother her loyalty to ABS-CBN, which has been serving as her home Network for the past six years.
Among her biggest projects with the Kapamilya network included the cult favorite–On the Wings of Love (2015) and Till I Mett You (2016). The movie Talk Back and You’re Dead (2014) was also the follow-up film after the successful tandem with James Reid in Diary ng Panget (2014).
The young actress continues to affiliate with ABS-CBN up to this day. She also won three times as best actress for her portrayal in Never Not Love You (2019) in award-giving bodies like Young Critics Circle, 67th FAMAS Awards, and 42nd Gawad Urian. She also won the best actress award for her film Ulan in Asian Academy Creative Awards (also in 2019).
The Diamond Star Maricel Soriano made iconic TV shows with ABS-CBN since the 90s.
Her drama specials, including The Maricel Drama Special and sitcoms Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis were consistent top-raters. In 2013, she briefly transferred to GMA-7 but started doing projects again with the Kapamilya Network in 2018.
Her most recent memorable projects are The General’s Daughter and the recently-concluded Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin.
Before her transfer to ABS-CBN in 2018, Velasquez-Alcasid was with GMA Network for two decades.
She has served as the main presenter and performer to some of Kapuso Network’s major talent and musical variety shows.
In 2019, she sat as one of the judges of ABS-CBN’s Idol Philippines. She joined as one of the hosts and performers on ABS-CBN’s longest-running Sunday musical-variety show, ASAP Natin ‘To.
Geronimo has long made fans wonder whether she will be sticking it out with ABS-CBN after its shutdown in May 2020.
She has, however, repeatedly expressed her willingness to stay, and continues to appear on some Kapamilya shows, including the musical-variety show ASAP Natin ‘To.
Geronimo was the winner of the first and only edition of the Viva Television-produced talent-reality contest, Star for A Night in 2001. She rose to prominence and become among the biggest female musical acts in the country.
Toni Gonzaga, the undisputed romcom movie queen joined ABS-CBN in 2004.
In 2005, she started hosting the longest-running reality show, Pinoy Big Brother.
She has since scored several box office hits like My Amnesia Girl (2010), This Guy’s in Love with U Mare (2012), Four Sisters and A Wedding (2013), and Starting Over Again (2014).
A multimedia star, Gonzaga is also a top-selling recording artist and a concert performer.
It should not come as a surprise should some of these Kapamilya queens ultimately decide to join the ongoing exodus of stars from ABS-CBN.
GMA Network’s aggressive steps to absorb some of its rival network’s biggest stars may likely further weaken ABS-CBN’s institution of stars.
Faithful Kapamilyas and fans who do not find comfort in following their idols to another network will now have to endure the heartache of seeing some of ABS-CBN’s most prized talents somewhere.