'Juan dela Cruz' gets spin-off series

Posted at 05/08/13 8:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A spin-off series of "Juan dela Cruz," the Philippine's current top-rating program, is set to air on ABS-CBN.

"My Little Juan," which features child star Izzy Canillo in the title role, traces the childhood of Juan dela Cruz, who is portrayed in the original primetime series by actor Coco Martin.

The spin-off program was formally announced along with several other new series before advertisers at the Kapamilya network's trade launch held at the NBC Tent in Taguig City on Tuesday.

In the trailer for "My Little Juan" that premiered at the event, Canillo is seen as a young Juan dela Cruz, who grows up in the care of Fr. Cito, a parish priest (Jaime Fabregas), after losing his mother.

As the son of Amelia (Mylene Dizon), Juan is the latest in the lineage of the Tagabantay, or individuals endowed with special abilities to combat a race of evil creatures, or the Aswang.

Unknown to him, however, Juan's father is the leader of the aswang race, Samuel (Albert Martinez), making the young boy an aswang himself.

To suppress the "natural evil" that stirs inside Juan, Fr. Cito, by Amelia's request before her death, guides the young boy towards goodness and a close relationship with "Bossing," or God.

In the ongoing primetime series, which first aired in February this year, the story of Juan as a young boy was told in its first weeks on air. After Fr. Cito's death, a grown-up Juan is seen in the care of Belen, a fortune-teller in Quiapo (Gina Pareno).

In the latest episodes of "Juan dela Cruz," the title character starts to build a relationship with his father, who, after seeing the young man's abilities as a Tagabantay, suspects that he may be his son with Amelia.

"My Little Juan" is expected to focus on Juan's childhood as he struggles to balance his innate goodness and the brewing evil from his being the fated "Anak ng Dilim."

The spin-off series is the latest product of the massive success of "Juan dela Cruz," after the brand launched its own official soundtrack and a merchandising line.

The director and the other cast members of "My Little Juan" have yet to be detailed. The scheduled telecast of the series has also yet to be announced.