Who is Lola Basyang?

Posted at 07/14/10 5:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - After tropical storm Basyang wreaked havoc across Luzon Tuesday night, leaving in its wake at least 8 dead and 57 missing and plunging most of Luzon in a blackout, not a few people are asking, "Who is Basyang, anyway?"

"Lola Basyang" is the pen name of Severino Reyes, founder and editor of the Tagalog magazine Liwayway. In 1925, Reyes started writing "Kuwento ni Lola Basyang" for the magazine using the pen name.

He wrote more than 400 Lola Basyang stories about kings and kingdoms, love and hate, and strange enchanted places.

The stories have fascinated generations of Filipinos, and the image of an elderly grandmother in a rocking chair gathering her apos around her for a bedtime story has become familiar.

Lola Basyang as portrayed by actress Luz Valdez, here with Lisa Macuja of Ballet Manila for the ballet production "Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang" held in 2009. Credit: Ballet Manila

All the stories contained moral lessons for children to think about.

Lola Basyang stories have been retold in TV shows, radio shows, plays, books, movies, and komiks.

How Basyang became a storm

Weather agency PAGASA has been assigning local names to tropical cyclones entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility since 1963.

Basyang made it to this year's list, and since the storm names are repeated every four years, there will again be a storm or tropical depression named Basyang in 2014.