MANILA, Philippines -- The "Juan dela Cruz" prequel starring child star Izzy Canillo easily reigned in its timeslot when it debuted in ABS-CBN's Kapamilya Gold block on Monday.
The pilot episode of "My Little Juan," which centers on the title character as a little boy, drew strong nationwide viewership on May 20, garnering more than double the audience share of its competing program.
According to Eric John Salut, publicity and social media head of ABS-CBN's Dreamscape Entertainment Television, "My Little Juan" registered a national TV rating of 17.3%.
Its rival show aired on GMA-7, "Unforgettable," meanwhile, only garnered a nationwide rating of 7.6%.
ABS-CBN subscribes to the TV ratings data of multi-national market research group Kantar Media, which uses a nationwide panel size of 2,609 urban and rural homes, representing 100% of the total Philippine TV viewing population.
Airing after the noontime variety program "It's Showtime," the debut telecast of "My Little Juan" on Monday re-introduced Amelia (Mylene Dizon) as the latest in the lineage of the Tagabantay, or individuals endowed with special abilities to combat a race of evil creatures, or the Aswang.
Fleeing from aswang out to hunt her, a pregnant Amelia is seen frantically seeking refuge in a church, where she meets its parish priest Fr. Cito (Jaime Fabregas).
At first a non-believer in supernatural forces, Fr. Cito is convinced by Amelia of the presence of such evil creatures as the aswang, when she shows him her weapon, "ang Bakal na Krus."
As seen in the first weeks of "Juan dela Cruz," the ongoing original primetime series, Amelia's son Juan (Canillo) grows up in the care of Fr. Cito after she dies giving birth.
Unknown to Juan, however, his father is the leader of the aswang race, Samuel (Albert Martinez), making the 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.
Serving as a prequel to "Juan dela Cruz," "My Little Juan" focuses 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.