Originally authored on February 11, 2019
For many years, readers mistook the real Lola Basyang as an old woman full of ancient stories stuck in her antiquated baul, only to find out later she was a man. Lola Basyang became a generic name in Philippine society depicting an old grandmother telling stories to her grandchildren meant to teach moral lessons. It was in the pages of Liwayway Magazine, which he co-founded in 1922, where Severino Reyes’ Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang appeared and eventually became the most widely read prose feature of the magazine. Until today, the name Lola Basyang is still being used by different art forms, stage and, television shows.
On February 11, 1861, Severino Reyes, a noted playwright, writer, dramatist, and acclaimed as one of the giants of Tagalog and Filipino Literature in the early 20th century, was born in Sta. Cruz, Manila. A well-educated man who attended several institutions of higher learning, he completed Bachelor of Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas. Proficient in both Tagalog and Spanish with a fair knowledge of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and several Philippine dialects, Reyes could converse profoundly on religion, history, philosophy, literature, arts, and sciences.