In my imagination, I can see an old woman in her saya with a book on her hands. She sits on her rocking chair while she’s in front of a number of kids. I can hear her happily telling a story to the children who attentively listen to her. It’s time to hear “Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang”! Severino Reyes, also known as Lola Basyang, provided a major contribution to Philippine lore and children’s literature as he told a lot of stories that he made to Filipino children. He is the most well-known Filipino author for decades and counting for he made numerous fairy tales. As you can remember, I shared some English fairy tales in Fairy Tales for Kids. It’s now time to share Filipino fairy tales – Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang.
Ang Mahiwagang Kuba (The Enchanted Hunchback)
Lola Basyang’s stories are so old. I, even my parents, didn’t reach the time when her books were produced. Thanks to GMA Entertainment for adapting such stories through TV series. This is where I knew “Ang Mahiwagang Kuba” wherein a prince was cursed to become an enchanted hunchback and he had to kiss a lady to end it. But none of the ladies he encountered gave his wish. Meanwhile, a king had a mysterious illness that no healer could cure. His daughter made herself as a reward for those who could heal the king but still, no one has the ability until the enchanted hunchback came to rescue. In short, he was able to heal the king. He had married the king’s princess and finally got the kiss he had been longing.
Ang Prinsesang Naging Pulubi (The Princess who Became a Pauper)
Someone’s grandmother told me and my friends the story of a princess who became pauper. As we read the book’s title, we already assume that the life of the said princess is sad because in our minds, being a princess signifies happiness while being a pauper symbolizes the other way around. However, this book proves that we’re wrong about that. In the story, the said princess rejected all of her high-profile suitors, believing that material riches cannot provide genuine happiness. Because of her father’s anger, he dared her daughter to marry the first beggar who enters the royal garden. In that fortunate beggar, the princess found true love and true happiness.
Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Maria (The Brother of the Three Marias)
I became familiar to “Ang Prinsesang Naging Pulubi” through a grandmother, but in our next book, I got to know it through a child. It’s a shame for me that a seven-year-old kid know a story I didn’t know. So she told me that this story is about a family who sells kolesmeloko leaves that has the ability to heal. When they cut out the kolesmeloko tree, a huge serpent that had been living inside was disturbed. In exchange, the serpent took the family’s three daughters, Maria Upeng, Maria Loleng and Maria Trining. Years passed until the parents had a baby boy named Pedro. When he grew up, he learned everything about his sisters and promised his parents that he will save them. The story goes on until the family was complete again.
Ang Prinsipeng Duwag (The Coward Prince)
I borrowed “Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang” book, a compilation of Severino Reyes stories, from a friend a long time ago and there’s one story there that I remembered because of it’s catchy title. It seems like an oxymoron because when we say prince, bravery is related. But this story talks about the opposite thing, as the title says. This coward prince came from family who ruled a kingdom and whom their people see as a terror. When the prince grew up, he didn’t admit that he was a true coward yet he excuses himself in leading wars. However, when their kingdom is about to fall, he was able to overcome his fear and surprisingly won the war. He believed that it’s love for his family and princess that made him leave his cowardice.
Prinsesang Kalbo (The Bald Princess)
Here’s another story from Lola Basyang that I will never forget. Well, it’s really hard to forget a story that you role-played, right? During my kindergarten days, I played the character of Princess Natalia, a bald princess. If you’re wondering, I’m also wondering. Why me? For all I know, I have a beautiful long hair during that time. By the way, Princess Natalia is blessed with a kind heart but she was banished because she grew up with no hair. Luckily, she met a young gentleman who gave the love she deserves.