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Juan with his Swiss-Army Weapon, the Bakal na Krusnote 
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Juan dela Cruz is a Philippine television drama directed by Malu Sevilla. Juan dela Cruz was first aired on February 4, 2013 on ABS-CBN and international network TFC and is the second Filipino series to broadcast and filmed in high definition. The series was produced by Dreamscape TV.

The series follows the story of Juan dela Cruz (Coco Martin), an orphan child who was raised in a church in a town by Catholic parish priest. After the priest was killed by a thief, Juan was taken care of by the priest's sister in the city. Unknown to Juan he was a half-aswang, the son of the Haring Aswang and the prophesized Anak ng Dilim who is fated to lead the aswangs to dominate over the humans. However his mother is a Tagbantay (lit. "Guardian") and a human. The Tagabantay is tasked to defend the humans from the dreaded aswangs and as the son of the Tagabantay, Juan is set to take over his mother's role when he grows up.

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When Juan grows to be a young adult, Juan joins the Kapatiran (lit. "Brotherhood"), a vigilante group whose goal is to destroy the aswangs, to train as the next Tagabantay. Later on the story, a race of fairies, the Engkantos and the Diwatas comes to help Juan in his task which seems to have a bigger role on the long-lasting conflict between the aswangs and the humans.

Juan dela Cruz's popularity spawned a Prequel entitled My Little Juan which gives viewers a better glimpse at Juan's childhood.


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This series contains the following tropes:

  • A Darker Me: The Anak ng Dilim, the darker side of Juan. It is actually A separate personality within Juan, later separated from Juan by Peru-ha.
  • A God Am I: Peru-ha, after failing to seize the Engkanto throne, she sets herself a bigger goal to be the ruler of all realms. She is introduced herself to be a Goddess to the aswangs who worshipped her dearly.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Bakal na Krus has been handed down through generations, the Legendary Weapon was first wielded by Datu Bangaraw, it was handed over to later generations. Juan's cross weapon was also wielded by his mother, Amelia and his grandfather, Julian.
  • Another Dimension: The engkantos, nuno sa punso, kapre, and tiyanak reside in their own realms separated from the human world. The mode of travel between dimensions is a cool gold circular gate which can be summoned and opened only by certain diwatas and engkantos.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Anito ng Saragnayan, a stone resembling a face adorned with purple crystals. It serves as a medium for the aswang goddess Saragnayan to communicate with the aswangs, particularly the Haring Aswang and the babaylan. It is said that in order for the Anak ng Dilim to fulfill his destiny he must touch the anito. Actually the anito is a Summoning Artifact that would release the rogue diwata Peru-ha (Saragnayan) from her imprisonment. She was later released even though the anito was locked away in a briefcase. Juan touched the location where Peru-ha was trapped in a cave, unknowingly releasing her.
  • Color Motif:
    • While earlier in the series, Juan only wears a red camiso de chino while in his Tagabantay persona, he later wears different colors to symbolize certain things according to Noel Flores, the visual designer of the series.
    • Or as the unleashed Anak ng Dilim, he wears black clothing because Evil Wears Black.
    • The aswang's color motif is purple, representing deception.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: It is inevitable to a series made in a Catholic-majority country.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Kapatiran, they fight the aswangs to keep people safe.
  • Driven to Suicide: after his final battle with Juan, Agor opted to finish his own life instead.
  • Evil Laugh: Peru-ha and Agor. Agor while possessed by Peru-ha has a different but more irritating evil laugh.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • Laura and Kael against Samuel.
    • Samuel Alejandro against Peru-ha.
  • Enemy Within: The Anak ng Dilim within Juan.
  • Enemy Without: After the Battle of Luneta, a weakened Peru-ha uses the last of her power to give the Anak ng Dilim a physical form separate from Juan, who becomes the Final Boss of the series.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Pepe asked Cora and Ben Galang to take care his daughter Rosario so that Rosario can have a normal life, while he leads an anti-aswang vigilante group.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Cito.
  • God of Evil: Saragnayan, the goddess of darkness worshipped by the aswang. She is the creator of the aswang The same goddess who presented the Anak ng Dilim prophecy to the aswangs. Saragnayan, is in fact Peruha, a rouge diwata who seeks to dominate all realms.
  • Herowith Bad Publicity: Juan, when his identity as the Anak ng Dilim was revealed to the public. The public forgets that Juan is also the Tagabantay and the Kapatiran decided to go after him and kill him to prevent the dreaded prophecy.
  • Heroic BSoD: Juan when his father was nearly killed in a coup by Kael and Laura. Witnessing his father's brethren turning against him, Juan went into a Heroic BSOD intervened and killed as many aswangs present. He could not bear seeing his father betrayed, even though he was there to kill his father himself in order to proof his loyalty to the Kapatiran. Juan's love for his father prevailed.
  • Heroic Lineage: All of the Tagabantays, Datu Bangaraw, some unnamed Tagabantays in between, Julian, Amelia and Juan are all came from one lineage
  • Holy Burns Evil: Holy water, is one of the weaknesses of the aswang which causes irritation upon contact. Aswangs can still enter churches though without harm.
  • Humanity Ensues: Aswangs can transform to look like normal humans in order to blend in within society. The diwatas and engkantos also shapeshift to look like normal humans to hide their elvish ears.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Many aswangs views humanity this way. Many of them wanted a peaceful and secluded life hidden within or away human society. They view the Tagabantay and the Kapatiran as hindrance to this dream.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Juan's mother, Amelia is a human Tagabantay, while his father Samuel Alejandro, is an aswang.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Kael, he was pressured by his strict seemingly cold father, Samuel Alejandro, who raised him and groomed him to be the prophesized Anak ng Dilim, while the audience knew from the start that it our hero, Juan who is the true Anak ng Dilim. He was over-confident yet reckless, going after the Tagabantay to please his father, even if his father tells him NOT to kill Juan.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Samuel Alejandro suggests to Juan that they are now alone having their own kind turn against them. The aswangs to Samuel which led to Samuel's dethronement and near-death and the humans to Juan after the public knowing that Juan is the Anak ng Dilim.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Juan, during his childhood, he was ostracized by the townsfolk of San Juan Bautista, save for his adopted priest father. He was shunned due to his short temper and for his superhuman abilities due to his aswang heritage, even though he uses it save others or himself. Despite this, Juan remained a cheerful mischievous yet good-intentioned child due to his upbringings, but beneath his cheerful facade lies an insecure Juan who doesn't have any friends or real parents.
  • Land of Faerie: The Engkanto Kingdom is resided by the elvish diwatas and engkantos and ruled by a monarch.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Pepe, when he was transformed into an aswang by Samuel Alejandro. He realized that he can't eat vegetables anymore, and his new aswang insticts kicks in. He tries to hide the fact from everyone, from his vigilante group and his daughter. He killed and eat a chicken to satisfy his hunger but eventually began to go after humans. He begged Juan to kill him after his secrets were revealed to everyone with the latter reluctantly kills him due to a call of duty.
  • The Mole: Agor, the equally manipulative yet most trustworthy right-hand man of Peru-ha. He went far to gain the trust of Juan and his friends to forward his master's goals.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Juan tried to storm Peru-ha's hideout by himself, only to suffer a brutal lynching by a large mob of aswangs. He couldn't fight back because he was knocked unconscious in an ambush by Agor and had e Bakal na Krus stolen from him.
  • No Name Given: the aswang baybaylan's name was never mentioned.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: While it can be held by anyone, the Bakal na Krus can be only be wielded by a Tagabantay.
  • Overprotective Dad: Ben Galang, to his daughter Rosario. He is distrustful to Juan being with his daughter and wants to put Rosario away from danger so he is not keen with Rosario going either with the Kapatiran or Juan. Aside from loving Rosario so much that he considers her as his own son, Pepe the real father of Rosario has entrusted Rosario to him
  • Parental Substitute: Father Cito. The priest may likely not expect to be a father since he has entered priesthood. He adopts Juan after the child's mother died of child birth who was in his church. After the priest was killed he told his older sister Belen who took over as Juan's foster parent.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Pikoy
  • Secret Keeper: Samuel Alejandro, he secretly had a relationship with Amelia, a human which is taboo in aswang society. It doesn't help that Amelia was also a Tagabantay. Amelia had a son with Samuel, giving birth to Juan in a church before dying. Samuel wasn't aware that Juan was his son so he thought that Kael was the Anak ng Dilim. After he learned the truth he decided to keep Juan's identity as the Anak ng Dilim a secret from his fellow aswangs to protect his reputation and legitimacy as the Haring Aswang until he can convince Juan to join his side and embrace his fate as the Anak ng Dilim. He goes far in protecting his son, from kidnapping him and locking him inside a warehouse to protect him from assasins hired by his other son Kael to killing other aswangs just to keep his secret a secret.
  • Sharing a Body:
  • Shout-Out: early in the series when Juan was using the Bakal na Cruz in fighting crime, he complains about the mask his sidekick gives him, saying that it makes him "look like a ninja turtle".
  • Swiss Army Weapon:
    • The Bakal na Krus at its known peak can transform into various weapons including a sword, bow, whip and staff. It can also transform into a shield, a form which was first used by Juan in known history. The cross weapon can also unleash a white light that would kill all aswangs and other hostile supernatural creatures within its vicinity. The white light was only used by Datu Bangaraw and Juan.
    • At the end of the series, peru-ha gives the Anak ng Dilim one of his own to fight Juan with.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Numerous:
    • Juan dela Cruz unknowingly freed Peru-ha after touching the Anito ng Saragnayan where Peru-ha is imprisoned, when he thought doing so would end everything and would turn all aswangs back to normal.
      • Belen instructed Juan to do so due to her prophetic dream. Belen's prophetic dream is erroneous and has been manipulated by Agor.
    • Samuel Alejandro, he was originally task by Saraganayan, say Peru-ha, to convince Juan to touch the Anito ng Saragnayan. He tries to subvert the trope upon knowing Saragnayan's true identity. Unfortunately he gets killed in the end.
  • The Usurper: Peru-ha, tried to take over the throne of the Engkanto Kingdom from his brother, Mana-on. She believed that the throne was rightfully hers, which was denied to her by his father, Kanla-on, in favor of her brother. She felt she was not loved by her father. The true reason she was not chosen to be succeed her father is because she was not a pure diwata. She failed though and was locked in a cave somewhere in the human world. Kael, too tried to usurp his father's role as the Haring Aswang with the help of his mother and a bunch of other aswangs and succeeded but was later dethroned by his father. Peru-ha finally usurped the Engkanto throne, kinda, when she possessed Reyna Nerea. Her plan was later foiled by Juan. She later set a kingdom of her own composing different creatures, the kapre, nuno, tiyanak and the aswang.
  • Was Once a Man: The first :aswangs, led by Datu Alipio were once normal humans until Saragnayan turned them into aswangs.
  • Waif Prophet: Belen, a fortuneteller and the guardian of Juan. She spends most of the series worrying about Juan but she occasionally dreams prophetic dreams. In one instance she dreamt of Father Cito's death tried to warn Father Cito. She tried to subvert the prophetic dream by convincing Father Cito to go in a trip to Manila with Juan but failed to convince his brother who is skeptical of prophetic dreams. Father Cito was eventually killed by a thief and took Juan to Manila and served as Juan's guardian.
  • When Dimensions Collide: Peru-ha opened the portals of the realms of the kapre, tiyanak and nuno to the human world unleashing chaos. The kapre, tiyanak and nuno soon began terrorizing humanity. This will keep our heroes distracted from Peru-ha's real plan, to collect all gems from five different dimensions for a crown that would give her tremendous power. Our heroes eventually locks the portals.
  • Yandere: Kael, was extremely possesive with Rosario. After Kael was dumped by Rosario, who laters enter a relationship with Juan, he grews extremly jealous. This led him Ax-Crazy going as far to try to kill Juan so that Juan can't be with Rosario.
    • This doesn't end here though, after his father found out that Juan was the real Anak ng Dilim he felt that his father is playing favorites which added to his motivation to kill Juan. He felt that Juan robbed him of his girl (Rosario), destiny (being the Anak ng Dilim), and his father's approval.
  • You Are Not Alone: Juan's allies, the Kapatiran, the diwatas and engkantos, the tikbalang and the whole Filipino masses where there to support him in the end.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The series tries to subvert the trope.
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