Google Doodle today celebrates the 161st birthday of Filipino author and playwright Severino Reyes. He is regarded as the Father of Filipino Drama and is famous for his zarzuelas, Spanish-influenced works of dramatic musical theater as well as his classic collection of Tagalog stories.
Reyes was born on this day in 1861 in Manila. He was fluent in both Spanish and Tagalog and had a deep interest in language. He studied Latin, Gerek, Hebrew, and other dialects are spoken across the country.
His intellect drove him to pursue studies in history, literature, and sciences. Although his academic career culminated with a degree in philosophy, his legacy was left in the arts.
Reyes founded the Gran Compania de Zarzuela in 1902. The theater group was devoted to expanding the art form in the country. In the same year, the theater group stages his second play titled Walang Sugat (No Wounds), a historical drama centered around the Philippine revolution. The reception of the play marked the beginning of the Philippine Golden Age of Zarzuela.
Throughout his life, Reyes mastered his expression of art and followed with over 50 zarzuelas.
In addition to being a playwright, he was also editor-in-chief of Liwayway, a popular Tagalog magazine to which he contributed stories under the pseudonym “Lola Basyang”. His stories became such an integral part of Philippine society that the name Lola Basyang is still used to describe a grandmother who loves telling stories today.