Severino Reyes y Rivera, known by his pen name Lola Basyang, was a Filipino writer, playwright, and director of plays. He was born on February 11, 1861, in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He came from a family of musicians, and his father was a famous composer. Reyes was a self-taught writer, and his works became renowned for their simplicity and relatability. He wrote under the pseudonym Lola Basyang, which means “Grandma Basyang,” because he wanted his stories to appeal to children and the young at heart. Reyes was also known as “Don Binoy” among his peers.
Early Life and Education
Severino Reyes grew up in a musical family. His father, Anacleto Reyes, was a famous composer during his time, and his mother, Luisa Rivera, was a talented singer. Reyes did not have a formal education, but he could read and write fluently. He learned to read by borrowing books from the public library and taught himself how to write by practicing daily.
Career as a Writer and Playwright
Severino Reyes started his career as a writer and playwright in 1902 when he wrote his first play, “Walang Sugat” (No Wounds). The space was about the Philippine Revolution and its aftermath. It instantly became a success, and people performed it in different parts of the country. Reyes continued to write plays, and his most famous works include “Bayang Malaya” (Free Country), “Noli Me Tangere,” and “El Filibusterismo.”
Reyes also wrote short stories under the pen name Lola Basyang. He wrote his stories in a simple and relatable manner, which were about the lives of ordinary Filipinos. He intended his stories to entertain and educate children, and they gained popularity during his time.
Severino Reyes’ legacy as Lola Basyang and Don Binoy lives on to this day. His works are still being read and performed, and his characters have become household names in the Philippines. Films, television shows, and stage plays have adapted his stories into different forms of media.
Various award-giving bodies have recognized Reyes’ contribution to Philippine literature and theater. They posthumously awarded him the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature in 1966. They inducted him into the Hall of Fame of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1981.
Severino Reyes, also known as Lola Basyang and Don Binoy, was a Filipino writer, playwright, and director. His works have become an essential part of Philippine literature and theater. His stories have entertained and educated generations of Filipinos, and his characters have become beloved icons in Philippine culture. Reyes’ legacy as a writer and playwright has inspired countless Filipino writers and artists. People still feel his influence today.