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Liza 'Hope' Soberano is proof that it could be impossible to pay off 'utang na loob'

By Ratziel San Juan Published Mar 05, 2023 4:04 pm

The career ladder is a steep climb up, but it's never in a straight direction.

It more closely resembles the popular board game Snakes and Ladders, where you can rise as easily as you fall.

While everyone theoretically has an equal shot at winning, we can't deny that luck plays some factor.

Hope Soberano was that lucky girl, chosen out of millions to climb that ladder. To reach new heights of wealth and success. To become Liza.

Suddenly It's Star Magic

Some ABS-CBN executives and netizens took offense when Hope posted her This is Me vlog, where she detailed in the span of 14 minutes how she truly felt about her showbiz career.

Specifically, that she was grateful and all for her rare experience, but it was time to move on to try new and not necessarily greener pastures under James Reid's management agency Careless.

"At this point, I had been working for over a decade with no real break since I was a kid. The pandemic was the first time in my life where I was allowed to stop and be still. This forced me to think: I didn't have a childhood nor did I have the chance to grow and become an adult on my own terms. I had always been told what to do, what to wear, what to say, and what not to say. I know this was for my own good. It was to protect me and my career, but it was a career I had no say in. A career that in many ways wasn't mine," the actress admitted.

She then clarified that her vlog is "not a story of bitterness or regret." Rather, it's quite the opposite, "a story about growth and gratitude."

One respected Kapamilya creative criticized her for allegedly toying with so many emotions all for one marketing campaign, which they said Hope couldn't have just thought up recently. 

They're right. It's not possible to ideate an entire campaign overnight. It requires months and months of extensive meetings, planning, storyboarding, and the like.

What they failed to mention, however, is how it's also impossible to build your own platform overnight.

The Alone/Together star didn't. It was likewise months of extensive meetings, planning, storyboarding, and the like. Only this time, she was included and doing all of those, plus directing.


In Hope's defense, an underrated aspect of professional success is the ability (and initiative) to finally stand on one's own.

It is not uncommon to read LinkedIn posts of office managers letting go of their best employees on good, healthy terms, supporting them fully as they attempt to lead their own startups—or even find mentorship in another company, as Hope did with James' opportunity.

Both, of course, are valid choices that one must decide for oneself. Why worry about what other people will think when it's your life, your success, your failure? Remember that you will be the one to reap most of the rewards and/or risks involved.

It seemed that Hope was well aware of this when she made that Careless gamble. But those who watched her vlog and listened to her own words would know that she had nothing to lose at that point.

She had already done over 500 teleserye episodes and six feature films usually revolving around the same three directors, one production company, and as half of love team LizQuen with her real-life boyfriend, actor Enrique Gil.

People must understand that a career isn't just about earning money, in the same way that success isn't only defined by being rich.

What was she going to do next that she hadn't done already?

People must understand that a career isn't just about earning money, in the same way that success isn't only defined by being rich.

Otherwise, humanity would never have invented feminism, labor rights, and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We would be cavemen seeking light in neanderthal nothingness.

Not to mention, it's not like she was a parasite feeding off an infrastructure and influence thinking only of herself.

The actress did her job and delivered box office hits one after another for her network. Was she the only one who profited from the hundreds of millions of pesos those movie and TV projects earned? Didn't think so.

'Flower,' no longer

Hope never even denied benefitting from the studio system.

Her only point is now that she has experienced and learned all of these things, the only natural next step is to progress.

Hope Soberano is that very public example of how the career ladder can run in all different directions.

Sometimes you go up, sometimes you go down. It's impossible to predict.

And as in our board game example earlier, the one thing you can be sure of is that, along the way, there could be snakes to bring you down.