Severino Reyes

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Severino Reyes - a Filipino writer, dramatist, and playwright, highly acclaimed as one of the giants of Tagalog literature of the early 20th century. To many people, Reyes was "Lola Basyang" from the popular Liwayway series he created entitled Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang.


Early Years

The son of Rufino Reyes and Andrea Rivera, Reyes was born in Sta. Cruz, Manila on February 11, 1861. He attended his early schooling in an institution owned by Catalino Sanchez. He then moved to San Juan de Letran College and later at the University of Sto. Tomas, where he studied philiosophy.

Even while as a student, Reyes was employed as a laborer in the Tesoreria General de Hacienda. He also worked in various industrial and commercial firms. As a sideline, he also translated Spanish literary works in Tagalog, and vice-versa.

Later Years

Reyes was imprisoned in 1896 by the Spaniards because he was suspected to be a Katipunero. He was released afterwards and thereafter concentrated on writing zarzuelas.

In 1902, Reyes founded and directed the Grand Compania de Zarzuela Tagala, which became famous during its time. The company travelled extensively, giving shows on neighboring towns and provinces.

On June 14, 1902, the company staged his play Walang Sugat (No Wounds), a drama set in the historical events in Bulacan during the Philippine revolution.

In 1923, Reyes co-founded the Liwayway, a Tagalog literary weekly. There, Reyes created the series Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Tales of Lola Basyang), a series of fairy tale stories told by Lola Basyang- a character Reyes based on a neighbor named Gervacia de Guzman.

Severino Reyes died on September 15, 1942, when the Philippines was under the Japanese regime. The funeral procession was simple and quiet.


  • Banas, Raymundo C., "Pilipino Music and Theater", Quezon City: Manlapas Publishing Co. 1975



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