Commentary: Filipino Schadenfreude, Network War Culture and The End of “Tahanang Pinakamasaya”

Warning: Looooong rant incoming!

Friday evening here in California at 10:32 p.m. Scrolling on Facebook, I saw that the TAPE Inc livestream of Tahanang Pinakamasaya was still on and live. I was surprised since obviously they had gone past the bottom of the hour. So I tapped and tuned in. But what I ended up watching was a big surprise.

All the hosts lined up in front of the audience, some seemingly in tears, as Paolo Contis and Isko Moreno gave what I immediately interpreted as something along the lines of a farewell and thank you speech. They expressed their appreciation to everyone who supported the show, from advertisers to viewers. And they even mentioned how the show’s mission of “tulong at saya” has been ongoing since 1979 when the show was still called Eat Bulaga and all the way through to the present time as Tahanang Pinakamasaya.

Then just as they signed off, the line of hosts, again in tears, took what looked like a final bow.

The first thought that came to my mind was why it seemed like this was a finale episode. Why did it seem like this would be their final show on the air. Noticing them crying and that finale-worthy bow definitely made me believe that yes, this was indeed their final show. But I didn’t think any more of it until a half hour later, after our family had finished watching the live episode of Eat Bulaga (the current one on TV5). When I clicked on over to the official TAPE Inc Facebook page to download the archived livestream in order to watch it on our TV instead, the page was nonexistent. Gone. Red flags definitely went up. And doing more digging, all the other official social media accounts of TAPE Inc had disappeared too.

Of course there had been rumors in the past few weeks that the show was on its last days. But also of course, the media has been fully in lockstep with the so-called “Legit Dabarkads”. So, I didn’t think any of that tsismis either. I just brushed it off as typical nonsense and part of the incessant smear campaigns by the tsismis media against Tahanang Pinakamasaya and TAPE Inc. Of which, there had been plenty since June of last year.

But more and more information started trickling out of APT Studios, including videos after the show went off the air for the day. Hosts and crew all in tears, hugging each other as if it were their last goodbyes. Though as of this posting, there is no official statement yet by TAPE Inc or GMA Network, which had been promised for Monday, it seems pretty obvious that yes indeed, that was the last live show of Tahanang Pinakamasaya.

It’s quite a shame because my family actually very much enjoyed the show. Our household was firmly a Wowowin et al household. But we also started watching Eat Bulaga primarly for their Juan For All, All For One and Sugod Bahay segment. That would be a year or so before the AlDub phenomenon took over the world. And since then, we’d continue watching Eat Bulaga as well as Wowowin for our daily variety game show habit.

But after the drama of last year, we stuck with the TAPE Inc-produced show airing on GMA Network. Especially in the month the “Legit Dabarkads” were off the air. The title of this show on GMA was Eat Bulaga. But of course, it was now with a bunch of different hosts. Similar, though different segments and games. But it was all in all typical noontime fare.

The first couple of weeks were definitely rough. The seeming mismash of hosts GMA Network provided to the TAPE Inc-produced show seemed like the most random and oddest mix of people you’d see on TV. But in the months to come, the hosts would end up forging quite a very good chemistry. And it was very obvious both on and off screem.

Though they may have been brought together through difficult circumstances, perhaps it is them having to face some of the harsh vitriol online that brought them together quickly.

The hosts would put on a brave face and helped to steer the TAPE Inc-produced show towards something that absolutely could go tow-to-tow with its noontime competitors.

The show also somehow endeared these hosts to us in a way they never did before. We’ve liked Buboy Villar since he was a contestant on ABS-CBN’s Little Big Star. We were rooting for Winwyn Marquez on Bb. Pilipinas and then was happy she went on to win Reina Hispanoamericana. We’ve seen a few soap operas of Glaiza de Castro. But the likes of Paolo Contis or Betong Sumaya or Chariz Solomon or Arra San Agustin or Kokoy De Santos or Michael Sager or the Legaspi Twins or Kimpoy Feliciano or Alexa Miro or Yasser Marta never entertained us or even caught our attention before. Isko Moreno was definitely not my family’s presidential choice. But by now, our family has ended up enjoying and liking these personalities and encouraged us to check out their work outside Tahanang Pinakamasaya. Even Bianca Umali, whose off-screen antics are what I know her most for, left a positive impression during her recent run on the show too.

Of course everyone has their own tastes and preferences. And people should be able to freely choose between It’s Showtime or Eat Bulaga or Tahanang Pinakamasaya. I have always hoped and advocated for more options on Philippine television. I’ve certainly posted a lot about it here on

But the fact that consolidation continues to happen in the Philippine entertainment industry does not help anyone at all except rich fat cats wanting to get richer.

So Tahanang Pinakamasaya being no more is a loss. Thus returning noontime to only two major, mainstream options. Though the ratings for both remaining noontime programs have declined very much in the last few years, it is still a pretty important timeslot on Philippine television. Our family enjoyed watching both Eat Bulaga and Tahanang Pinakamasaya here in California. But we don’t subscribe to GMA Pinoy TV or TFC. And we can’t even subscribe to TV5’s Kapatid Channel even if we wanted to.

So our family relied on unblocked online livestreams on the official Facebook or YouTube pages of both programs. And we would end up always having something to watch whenever we need something on the TV. Perhaps at lunch or dinner or just free time for relaxation. Simple, easy, mindless fun. With also the possibility of emotional tears when we see everyday Filipinos grateful and feeling blessed for receiving even the littlest bit of help from these shows.

But what probably annoys me the most in these last few days and has been annoying me over this last year is how Filipino television fans repeatedly show that the most toxic Filipino trait is that of Schadenfreude. For some reason, Filipinos (and I will speak specifically to blind loyalty fans of ABS-CBN or GMA or “Legit Dabarkads”) continue to cheer for and celebrate the failure of others. And I feel like it is really some of the most disgusting kind of behavior. What do you get out of celebrating the failure and humiliation of others?

I have been very consistent and saying that there should be more options and choices for Filipino viewers. Whether that be on television or online through streaming.

When ABS-CBN lost their franchise (and again, it was not a “shutdown”) and lost their free, OTA television frequency, I was shocked. Because I never thought it would happen. I thought that they would of course find a way to remain on the air as an independent network. Now, I’m no fan of ABS-CBN. Once upon a time, yes. In fact, I was also a blind loyalist in another life. But never did I celebrate what happened after the loss of franchise. I was actually confused because why would anyone want to limit options for Filipino people. And this is for everyday Filipino people. Because you and I both know that the people watching television every day are everyday Filipinos who are not so well off that they can subscribe to all the random streaming services online to watch foreign television programs or movies. The main source of entertainment and news for Filipinos across the country will be free, OTA television.

So ABS-CBN getting yanked off free TV was not something to be celebrated. Kapuso fans celebrating the fact that GMA would now have a monopoly on local television should not have been happy at all.

Let’s take it on the flip side as well. Kapamilya fans ridiculing and hoping for or wishing GMA programs get canceled and yanked off the air or rooting for GMA shows to fail miserably. That’s also horrible behavior as well. Again, what do you get out of reveling in the failure of others. Not only that, but wishing for the most horrible of outcomes just because of your blind loyalty to a network or celebrity? For a country that is so religious, the idolatry of networks and celebrities is baffling.

Which brings us back to our earlier discussion which is the ending of Tahanang Pinakamasaya. What did (and I will be blunt and direct here)… What did “Legit Dabarkads” and TVJ fans get out of hoping for Tahanang Pinakamasaya to fail and be yanked off the air? What do you all get from hoping the show gets canceled? If you hate it so much, then just ignore it. Is it that hard? Is it really that hard to just ignore something that you dislike or hate so much that you wish for it to fail and get thrown in the trash?

Every day during the Facebook or YouTube livestream, you would regularly see fans of “Legit Dabarkads” in the comments section posting trolling and even hateful comments. Instead of watching Eat Bulaga on TV5, they were watching Tahanang Pinakamasaya in order to post things like “TVJ EAT BULAGA #1” or “Tahanang Pinasara sana!”

What was wrong with those people? It is not hard to just ignore something you don’t like. And instead of supporting the show that they do like, they make the effort to post trolling and bashing comments on another show’s livestream. You’d see people commenting “There are so little views on this video”. Well, there would be even lower viewers if you weren’t there adding to the count. Wouldn’t lower view counts actually make these trolls happier? What is this paradox?

No one was holding a gun to your head and forcing you to watch GMA Network at 12 noon. Even moreso, no one was controlling your cell phone or device and only showing you a livestream of Tahanang Pinakamasaya. If you want to watch Eat Bulaga on TV5 or It’s Showtime on its SEVERAL different platforms, no one is stopping you. The existence of Tahanang Pinakamasaya or It’s Showtime is not going to stop you from watching and enjoying Eat Bulaga. And vice versa x2. You are free to watch whatever the hell you want.

So then why must you push for or celebrate cancelling a show. Which in turn costs the jobs of more than 100 people. It makes absolutely no sense. In what world does any of this make sense?

Let’s be absolutely blunt here. A lot of people celebrating the ending of Tahanang Pinakamasaya are fans of TVJ and the “Legit Dabarkads”. Or fans of It’s Showtime wanting the show to move to GMA Network for many different reasons.

Even though TVJ and the “Legit Dabarkads” won their cases and are using the title and have higher ratings than Tahanang Pinakamasaya, fans and even some of the hosts continue to waste their time and energy trying to bring down a show they supposedly hate and don’t care for. If you really don’t care about the show, then leave them alone. Let them be. Let the 5 or 10 people who actually watch the show enjoy it. They’re not hurting you or anyone in doing so.

But no, instead, these people attack the hosts, attack the crew. Not physically of course. Though I wouldn’t put it past anyone in this day and age. But online in these people’s official social media accounts. They harass a little girl who is one of the hosts of the show. They inundate the comments section of anyone who appears as a guest on the show. They even attack people who merely watch the show. Regular Filipino people who watch the show are somehow equated to trash just because they watch a show that you might not particularly like.

Somehow it is okay to shame people who might enjoy Tahanang Pinakamasaya. Somehow it is okay to shame people who are in studio hoping that maybe they can win a few thousand pesos in a game. Somehow it is okay to make fun of people who scan a QR code on screen to enter a drawing. Somehow it is okay to spout vitriol at a seven, eight year old girl. Or direct hateful comments to an actress doing her job and including her family in your nonsensical online trolling.

(And to be very clear again, these two examples are Alyona Baquial and Rochelle Pangilinan. Though there are many other examples of simple guests on Tahanang Pinakamasaya on the receiving end of trash comments online.)

Laughing at and making fun of or celebrating people losing their jobs is such trash behavior. And this applies to lost jobs at Tahanang Pinakamasaya which will no longer be in production. Or ABS-CBN needing to lay off most of their workers because they can’t pay them all. Or TV5 needing to continually downsize because they are always in the red.

But I have noticed that this schadenfreude is a very Filipino trait. You don’t see fans of American television programs celebrating the loss of jobs when a show gets canceled.

And that is because #NetworkWarCulture does not exist anywhere outside of the Philippines.

If anything, who is to blame here? It’s the networks themselves. Specifically ABS-CBN and GMA Network who have cultivated this toxic environment where you must be 100% blindly loyal to either or. A country that promotes needing to stick to one lane and not be able to absorb and enjoy a wide array of entertainment options beyond your chosen Kapuso or Kapmilya team. That is one of the two biggest reasons TV5 has not been able to make a dent in the Philippine entertainment duopoly. (The other of course is reach.)

But the fact that fans of these networks and celebrities will go out of their way to attack other regular Filipinos for simply liking something that they don’t personally care for is incomprehensible. That somehow it is okay for a Kapamilya loyalist to attack a Kapuso loyalist for watching certain shows and vice versa. And then you have both Kapuso and Kapamilya loyalists ridiculing anyone involved with or watch the distant third network TV5 for simply existing.

This kind of toxic mentality is what always turns me off to Philippine entertainment. I think that is part of the reason why I have gravitated to other entertainment options across Asia; whether it is content from Korea and Japan or Thailand and Taiwan. The toxicity of Philippine entertainment and its fan culture is the biggest “ick” you could think of. Of course people are going to go elsewhere.

If you click through my previous posts about Network War Culture, and it’s not just about the recent noontime tumult, but many topics in years passed, I have always talked about the double standards and toxic fandom culture of the Philippines. It is quite unique and incomprehensible. The need to put down and drag down other people, other shows and other Filipinos just because they are on another network team than you. It’s mind-blowing.

And it is that kind of vitriolic and toxic behavior that once again flooded the internet over the weekend.

Never believe if somebody says “Oh this side is worse than the other” or “It’s only that side doing it, not us.” Nope. It is universal. I don’t care if you’re a Kapamilya fan or Kapuso fan or Kapatid fan or Showtime fan or Eat Bulaga fan or TAPE Inc. fan. Whatever you are a fan of, you will always have a huge chunk of people who have nothing better to do with their lives but to try and bring other people down. It is very sad that this is a very Filipino trait. It’s embarrassing.

Yes, Ninoy Aquino International Airport being infested with rats and cockroaches and bed bugs is an embarrassment. Airport employees planting bullets in passengers bags (my own Grandma being a victim of this in the past) is an international embarrassment. But so is the kind of toxic mentality in Network War Culture which is 365 days of the year. (366 this year.)

You can fumigate the airport. You can fire the people planting bullets on people. But what can be done about the toxic mentality that has been instilled in the Filipino people over the last 20 years. There is no cure or therapy or medicine or vaccine or insecticide for the vitriolic, toxic and hateful behavior that has been fueled by Network War Culture.

When ABS-CBN and TV5 started a partnership and when ABS-CBN and GMA co-produced a program, everyone said “Oh, network wars are over.” In fact, the CEO of GMA Network himself said that network wars were over. And yet, his own network continues to post ratings art cards bragging about GMA Network getting 10x the ratings of an ABS-CBN program that airs on a channel that doesn’t even reach half of the same audience as GMA.

If network war is truly over, then why the need to still brag about ratings? When in fact, the public doesn’t need to know the ratings at all. The ratings are used for you to give to your advertisers in order to set ad rates. So there is really no reason for networks to continue posting bragging social media posts about ratings unless it is to continue to fuel the dumpster fire flames of Network War Culture.

Network War is Over? No it’s not. It is alive and well. And when I say Network War Culture, that also applies to something as innocuous as noontime shows. The same attitude that permeates Network War Culture is exactly what fuels the needless vitriol that gets hurled between fans of Eat Bulaga and Tahanang Pinakamasaya and yes, I’ll throw in It’s Showtime too.

Again, it is as simple as allowing Filipinos to watch whatever the hell they want. Period. End of story. You have no right to dictate what other people can or will watch. Wishing for the cancellation of a show just because you don’t like it, thus depriving other people from watching that show; you have zero right. What gives you the right to want to make it happen? It’s that kind of thinking that stems from Network War Culture that will be difficult to remove and eradicate from Filipino life.

Competition is good when it is healthy. But instead of Network Wars being something that pushes and drives these networks to be better, it merely feeds and fuels the division and unnecessary toxicity between Filipinos. That has ultimately extended beyond television and into other aspects of Filipino life. Whether it is politics or business or even barangay squabbles, it is not healthy competition. It is a destroy and conquer mentality. You want to eliminate the competition instead of helping to foster a vibrant and diverse array of options for Filipinos.

When you hear people in the industry saying “Oh, it’s a new era. Now everyone from any network can collaborate blah blah.” No, they are just paying lip service and trying to hide what you and your networks continue to push. And that is the toxic and vitriolic behavior which has fueled the kind of disgusting commentary that was seen this past weekend celebrating more than 100 crew members losing their livelihoods.

That was not karma. Because if there really is karma at play here, then every single person who decides to spend and exert so much energy and effort in trying to bring down and break down a competitor or something they don’t like… well, they would be the ones facing karma today. Yet they don’t.

One funny, but true line/joke that used to be uttered on Eat Bulaga years ago when it was still on GMA with the “Legit Dabarkads” (repeatedly until it was beaten to death and became annoying) was “This is a free country, you can do what you want.”

Yes. the Philippines is indeed a free country. Filipinos can post and tweet whatever they want about anything they want. Positive or negative things about celebrities, politicians, public figures or even the president. You are able to say whatever the hell you want online. But just because you can doesn’t mean you shoud.

GMA Network had a “Think Before You Click” campaign years ago. And yet it is them and ABS-CBN and other networks who almost encourage you to post negative comments about competitors.

So really, the only chance for any of this to even begin to change for the Filipino people and the Filipino viewing audience is if one person stops and thinks before posting online. Or stops and thinks before getting into online fights with other people. Think before getting into an argument with someone for watching a show you don’t particularly want to watch. Stop from posting a negative comment toward an actress merely appearing on Tahanang Pinakamasaya as a guest judge before proceeding to attack her family and children. For example.

If one person can do it, then maybe two more can do it the next time. Or five people after that. And more and more people, hopefully, will think better than to add to the toxicity of the world today. Television and entertainment is supposed to make people happy. It is not something that is supposed to encourage you to attack your fellow Filipino.

Because let’s be real here. Nobody cares if you watch Batang Quiapo or Black Rider. Nobody cares if you choose TV Patrol or Frontline Pilipinas or 24 Oras. Nobody cares if you watch a replay of Darna or Filipino-dubbed movies on TV5.

Watch whatever the hell you fucking want. And if somebody doesn’t want to watch what you want to watch, then let them be. Leave them alone. You do not need to wish them harm and you do not need to wish failure toward shows you don’t want to watch.

Is that so hard?

My goodness. Only in the Philippines. It’s more fun in the Philippines? No, it’s more toxic in the Philippines. At least when it comes to the entertainment industry and Network War Culture. If anyone ever asks why Filipino television programs or movies or music are not able to make a splash worldwide like Korean dramas or Japanese anime or Thai BL dramas, perhaps because of the kind of behavior that is normalized by the local networks via Network War Culture. You want to talk about karma? Perhaps Philippine entertainment trapping itself on the Philippine islands and holding itself back is the true karma. And that will be my quota of schadenfreude for the today.


Let people watch whatever TV show they want to watch in peace. Stop being a troll online. And stop trying to bring other people down.

4 thoughts on “Commentary: Filipino Schadenfreude, Network War Culture and The End of “Tahanang Pinakamasaya”

  1. I actually read your whole commentary and I can understand and mostly agree. I did not watch Tahanang Pinalamasaya, but I know that there’s definitely a lot of people who watched and enjoy it. I would see clips especially with Yorme and Buboy. There’s no denying that.

    I agree about network wars too. I definitely don’t engage in and try to block out as much as I can. Same with you, I was one of those loyalist in the past. But I would like to think I’ve matured. 🤣

    I sympathize with all the people who are now out of work. But I hear rumors there will be a new show. So maybe and hopefully they can get rehired.

    1. Yes, it’s too bad. I hope GMA will come up with a new show instead of moving Ticktoclock which I think would absolutely fail at noon. Or shifting Showtime to GMA which would be so embarrassing for GMA, tbh.

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