The announcement that Eat Bulaga! will now be parting ways with its producer Television and Production Exponent (TAPE) Inc. has shocked many celebrities and loyal fans of the the country's longest-running noontime variety show.
“Simula ngayong araw, May 31, 2023, kami po ay magpapaalam na sa TAPE Inc.," Vic Sotto said as he stood beside other main hosts Tito Sotto and Joey De Leon. "Karangalan po namin na kami’y nakapaghatid ng tuwa’t saya mula Batanes hanggang Jolo, at naging bahagi ng buhay ninyo. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat."
The move made viewers speechless, despite rumors have long circulated that there was a supposed "rebranding" going on because higher-ups believed they were losing profits.
Celebrities and other prominent personalities in the country were particularly saddened by this but nevertheless expressed their support for the decision.
Alden Richards, a longtime Eat Bulaga! host for eight years now, posted a picture of himself kneeling down with the show's initials in the background.
"Verified Always and forever…" he simply captioned.
Ice Seguerra, who first made his television debut as a contestant in Eat Bulaga's "Little Miss Philippines" before he subsequently became part of the show, admitted that he feels conflicted about the recent development.
"Malungkot ako sa nangyayari. Sa kawalang respeto. Malungkot ako dahil sa hiwalayang Eat Bulaga at TAPE, mayroong mga taong mag-iiba ang lagay sa buhay. Nalukungkot akong umabot sa ganito," he wrote in an Instagram post.
He continued, "Pero masaya ako dahil malaya na sila. Bakit ka mananatili sa isang relasyong hindi ka naman masaya. Hindi rin ako natatakot sa kinabukasan ng programa. Ang Eat Bulaga ay Eat Bulaga. Kahit saang network sila mapadpad, walang paltos silang makakalipad."
Vic's daughter Danica posted a more positive reaction to the announcement, writing "We love you Daddy! We love you TVJ (Tito, Vic, and Joey) and EB fam! You will always have our full support! Eat Bulaga forever! The best is yet to come!"
Tito Sotto's daughter Ciara similarly posted a hopeful message, "We may all feel like it’s the end of an era, but we hold on to God’s promise that 'God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.'"
Former President Joseph Estrada's son Jake Ejercito took the time to express his gratitude to Eat Bulaga!, having been instrumental in his career as he once made guest appearances as Jake, a classmate of Maine Mendoza's character Yaya Dub, in the show's "Kalyeserye" segment in 2016. He also later appeared in its Lenten specials and was awarded Best New Male TV Personality.
"Will always be indebted to Eat Bulaga for the opportunities they gave me. No doubt they’ll be back bigger and stronger. More years and more power, dabarkads!" Jake wrote.
Comedian Gladys Guevarra, who was a former host in Eat Bulaga! until she resigned in 2007, expressed her sadness at the noontime show's departure and wished that the hosts had a more proper way of saying farewell.
"Sobrang lungkot naman ng ganito. Napabilang din ako sa pamilya ng Eat Bulaga and sana lang may maganda o maayos na pagpapa alam ang mga hosts at co-hosts. Hats off sa tatlong institution . . . TITO, VIC and JOEY. At sa lahat ng co-hosts. Kahit saan kayo dalhin, panonoorin kayo ng tao," she wrote.
Another former host, Isabelle Daza, also shared a tribute via Instagram Stories, sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos with her co-hosts and staff members.
"On my last day at Eat Bulaga they surprised me with a flashmob song of my favorite song. All the writers, floor directors, stylist, makeup, assistant, hair, and the whole team behind the camera were so so sweet[.] The best people I've ever worked with," she wrote, adding that leaving the show was "one if the hardest decisions of my life."
YouTube celebrity Jinky Anderson or Madam Kilay, who had also been featured in the show in their "Juan for All, All for Juan" segment, also expressed her thanks for the opportunities it gave her.
"Sobrang salamat Eat Bulaga at kahit ilang buwan lang naging bahagi ako napakalaking karangalan po na nakasama ko ang mga legend TVJ at lahat ng cast and crew ng paborito kong noontime show simula pa nung bata ako!" she highlighted.
Maine's former manager Tristan Cheng was also grateful for being a part of the show, sharing, "Pinagsabay ko ang pag aaral ng college at pagtatrabaho, malaking tulong sa akin 'di lang sa financial pero pati na 'din bilang isang artist ang maging dancer at choreographer sa Eat Bulaga!
"Gusto ko lang i-alay itong post na to bilang pasasalamat sa isa sa pinaka matatag na show na kumumpleto ng ating tanghalian, salamat TVJ, salamat Dabarkads!" he added.
A fan from Eat Bulaga's rival show It's Showtime also paid tribute to the former despite having switched networks, saying that there was a special place in his heart for the show's classic segments "Bulagaan" and "Pinoy Henyo."
"I feel sorry for those Dabarkads na nawalan ng 'happy pill' with what happened today, lalo na 'yung mga elderly na kasabay nang tumanda ng Eat Bulaga. We would feel the same kung Showtime ang mailagay sa same situation," he wrote.
Previous Eat Bulaga! staff members have also sent their well-wishes for what the future holds for the show.
Resident director and writer of GMA Network Mark Reyes, who once served as one of Eat Bulaga's live TV directors for their Saturday shows, highlighted that he "truly enjoyed working with the Dabarkads and cherished to be invited to their inner sanctum for post show lunches with Mr. Tony Tuviera, TVJ, and the rest of the EB Family."
"I am very grateful to have been part of this Philippine pop-culture Titan. Salamat sa apat na dekada ng pagmamahalan, kantahan, sayawan, biruan, tawanan at bulagaan," he added.
Perci Intalan, a former copywriter for GMA Network, recalled his time working with Eat Bulaga! and said that it was there that he met some of his favorite and most respected people in the industry.
"Eat Bulaga became like an extended family to me since then.They were there for me twice when I was starting anew. Now that they are the ones starting anew, I send them all my love and support. God speed Dabarkads! No matter how you do the math, Eat Bulaga will always remain number one," he wrote.
Jio de Leon, who once worked as one of the show's writers, shared, "My first job was being part of the writers team of Eat Bulaga. I learned so much from my time there and I have so much respect for everybody that made that show run. EB forever."
Eat Bulaga! first started airing in 1979 and has gone on to release over 13,000 episodes. Aside from Tito, Vic, and Joey, other celebrities including Jose Manalo, Allan K., Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros, Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, and more serve as hosts.