The Filipino nickname Juan de la Cruz has been part and parcel of Philippine culture and even national identity. If the Northern Americans have Uncle Sam or John Doe to represent them, the Filipinos have Juan de la Cruz.
But did you know that Juan de la Cruz was coined by a Scot?
Juan de la Cruz was coined by Robert McCulloch-Dick, the editor and publisher of The Philippine Free Press in 1900s. He noticed the frequency with which the names appeared on police blotters and court dockets. He often wrote small verses about Juan de la Cruz in The Philippines’ Free Press who was often depicted narrating the petty crimes committed by them. Later on, McCulloch-Dick widened his idea of Juan until he made Juan de la Cruz as a typical Filipino. Juan de la Cruz is associated with the image of a naïve-looking man wearing a salakot, camisa de chino, native trousers and slippers. Jorge Pineda, a resident cartoonist of The Philippines’ Free Press, first drew the image of Juan in 1912.