MANILA -- "Juan" is the representation of the Filipino everyman and used from literature to pop culture and now social media with the Facebook page "Tularan si Juan," which has taken netizens by storm.
"Tularan si Juan" is the brainchild of online gaming buddies David and Gabriel, who refused to reveal their complete names. Apart from adding mystery, they said they do not want to disclose their identities because they are "not ready for the personal bashing" they might get.
David, 29, is a graduate of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, while Gabriel, 16, is a former student at the University of the Philippines Manila.
According to David, they created the Pinoy-themed Facebook page out of boredom. Since Gabriel is now based in Colorado, they decided to make "Tularan si Juan" a sort of bonding activity to entertain them.
"Hindi pumasok sa isip namin na sisikat ito noong una, pero the page was made to serve as a bond between me and my co-creator since nag-migrate siya. Hindi na kasi kami makakapag-bonding via local online games," David said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
But it seems they are not the only ones who find entertainment from the witty page. As of this writing, "Tularan ni Juan" has already amassed over 300,000 followers in less than a month.
They now have a Twitter account too, which is managed by their co-admins Joe, 16, and JC, 14.
"We got surprised with the feedback from Facebook netizens, several hours after the page had been made," David said. "We talked and set a new goal -- to promote good morals as well as shed light to the everyday things that the typical 'Juan' does."
Who is 'Juan'
According to its creators, they imagine Juan as a "thinking Filipino." So, they named him "Juan Tularan," the counterpart of the famous "Juan Tamad."
"Juan is shown to be a good guy by not doing what our culture normally does. He just does what is good," David said. "He is just a comical character that we wish to serve as an eye opener for things that we got used to doing but are actually wrong."
The page touches on the different habits of Filipinos inside and outside of social media. According to David, the page discusses socio-political issues along with the day-to-day "silly" activities concerning Filipinos but always "with a touch of comical relief." He also openly admitted that they used the more popular Facebook page "Be Like Bill" as an inspiration, which they cite in their page.
Juan's questionable originality
Despite their attribution, the creators of "Tularan si Juan" admit that they have been receiving some negative comments too. Some netizens, for instance, noted "Pinoys are copycats" or "Gayagaya kay Bill, maging original naman tayo kahit minsan."
These comments led David and Gabriel to do some research. According to them, the page "Be Like Bill" has also taken inspiration from similar-themed page "Be Like Tim."
Amid the bashing, David and his co-creator take pleasure on the support messages they receive from their followers.
"The best feedback we've ever received was when an OFW told us to keep it up for it brings smiles to their faces," David said.
They also shared how an owner of a Internet cafe used their template in making posters to remind customers of the proper etiquette when in the shop. The cafe owner happily shared to that his customers became more obedient of his regulations after seeing the posters.
"He [the owner] was so happy because it made a good impact to the customers," David added.
David promised that their followers should look forward to wittier posts. In fact, his team is currently writing a story about the life story of "Juan Tularan," in which more characters will be introduced.
Yes, Juan's surname is Tularan.
According to David, their main goal is to remind social media users of their limitations in terms of freedom. They want to cultivate a community of responsible social media users and Filipino citizens.
"If we'd be given a chance, we'd like to enlighten everyone about not abusing our freedom of speech when using social media," he added.
"We would like to encourage people to be more courteous, caring, and loving to their fellow Juan inside and outside of social media."