The day of November 25 of 2009 is probably one of the most shocking days in the history of Philippine show business.  This is for the reason that November 25 of 2009 is the day that long-considered Star Magic Queen Claudine Barretto signed a 2-year EXCLUSIVE contract with her 17-year home station’s rival network GMA 7.

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As a certified Claudine Barretto fan, I would say that this network transfer used to be the last thing in my mind.  I mean come on, she is not Angel Locsin who has just spent a few years in her home network and had an accidental fame when the first-ever fantasy series in Philippine TV in which she starred in got the support of Philippine TV.  Claudine Barretto transferring is like Judy Ann Santos transferring to GMA 7 or Vic Sotto/Joey De Leon transferring to ABS-CBN all of a sudden.  Aside from this, there have been already countless rumors over the years stating Barretto’s intent to transfer to GMA 7 but none of them proved truth so I kind of dismissed the idea that my favorite actress will be in my favorite network someday.  Being a Claudine Barretto fan was not enough reason for me to watch and support the Kapamilya channel so I have always been a Kapuso patronizer.  Hence, being able to watch my favorite actress of all time in the same Filipino channel that my household watches is such a joy for me.

Just like what happened to Angel Locsin who transferred to ABS-CBN from GMA 7 2 years ago, there are so many people who are frowning on this career move made by Miss Barretto.  This is primarily because for Filipinos, the concept of utang na loob is still preponderant.  A large fraction of Miss Barretto’s fame is because of ABS-CBN and transferring to its rival network after 17 years can be considered by many people as tantamount to spitting on that network’s investments that made Barretto.

It is said that Barretto’s link to GMA 7 first started when she signed a movie contract with Viva Films last October 8 of 2009.  Barretto claimed that the failure of Star Cinema to give her a movie to work on made her miss being active in the movie industry.  Hence, when Viva Films offered her a movie contract, she then grabbed the opportunity.  It is noted that Barretto’s last movie appearance was in Sukob (2006) which was produced by Star Cinema.

Barretto has also been very idle in terms of TV participation.  In fact, she can be seen more nowadays in TV advertisements only rather in soap operas which she used to be always in through the course of her career.  The last time she had a soap opera of her own was in Iisa Pa Lamang which concluded in 2008.  Albeit she had a guest appearance in ABS-CBN’s current Primetime bet May Bukas Pa. Her last stint for ABS-CBN was during the Star Magic Concert this year where she joined the finale performance of the said event with Piolo Pascual.

Barretto, who was accompanied by her parents and beau Raymart Santiago (who is a current talent of GMA 7) in her contract signing last Wednesday said that there are numerous projects that are already lined up for her in the Kapuso network.  As a matter of fact, one of these is an upcoming movie with old flame Mark Anthony Fernandez which will be co-produced by GMA Films along with Viva Films.  Barretto, who is very proud to be a new Kapuso is also very excited to have her first ever joint project with beau Raymart Santiago.  She also noted that she has been a longtime fan of the GMA network prior to her transfer and has been watching shows of Marian Rivera, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Rhian Ramos and Dingdong Dantes.

Aside from being one of the best actresses nowadays, Claudine Barretto is also one of the top 15 most effective endorsers in the country.  Currently, some of the products she endorses are Folded And Hung, Belo Medical Group, Belo Essentials, Secosana, Lactum, 555 Carne Norte, Pantene, Knorr Real Sarap All-Purpose Seasoning and Salon De Manila.

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Barretto joins the roster of old ABS-CBN talents who decided to cross the bridge for a career move namely Paolo Contis, Marvin Agustin, Camille Pratts, Patrick Garcia, Heart Evangelista and Jolina Magdangal.  While this decision is really surprising because everyone probably thought that Barretto is a talent ABS-CBN will always get a grip of, her decision to switch networks is perfectly understandable because it seems that she has been being neglected by her home network already.  Objectively speaking, a network does not have the right to make one of their biggest stars wait for a project for too long–even though people will say that this star owes its current fame from the network.  I believe that in show business, it is always a give-and-take kind of exchange.  The network gives its actors and actresses the tool for fame while the actors and actresses give the networks fame and income through their prowess in acting and performing.  Barretto uses her prowess in acting as her advantage for income so like anybody else who works to be able to sustain his/her needs, it is perfectly normal to find another venue where her best interest will be served.  We have to admit that Barretto is one of the most exceptional actresses we have today and it is also such a waste if her talent won’t be put in use.  But let me just say that I believe it is such a huge mistake by ABS-CBN to let go of Barretto just like that despite her “old” age and length in Philippine showbiz.  She was like ABS-CBN’s most priced gems.  Even though there is a flock of new faces and talents nowadays, a Claudine Barretto is very hard to replace!  I mean hello, that is why we still have Miss Vilma Santos and Miss Sharon Cuneta being offered big movies!  Well this might be already biased but I don’t think even Kim Chiu, Marian Rivera and Angel Locsin combined can outshine a Claudine Barretto in terms of audience rapport and talent!

However, I fear that because of this transfer, some budding stars in GMA 7 will somehow experience dryness when it comes to their careers.  Like for instance, Marian Rivera who is the current Primetime Queen of GMA 7 can really be outshone by Barretto once she gets her own break in GMA 7’s Primetime.  The same thing can happen for Rhian Ramos and even to Kris Bernal.  But anyway, these stars still have many things to prove and I guess Barretto who has already been in the business for 17 years will really have a large fanbase anywhere she goes.  I think the responsibility to distribute projects to their talents equally lies on GMA 7 so that Marian Rivera and Rhian Ramos and the like won’t think of transferring to ABS-CBN to serve their needs for projects.  This might be a good career move also for Mark Anthony Fernandez because as far as I can think of it, he is the most plausible loveteam-mate for Claudine Barretto if ever they give her projects that have love story plots.  I do not think it can be Richard Gutierrez or Marvin Agustin–most especially NOT Dingdong Dantes!  Hello naman!

What do you think of Barretto’s career move?

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