Rolando S. Tinio was a playwright, actor, poet, translator, teacher, and critic. He grew up in Tondo and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Philosophy, magna cum laude at the age of 18.
Tinio published four volumes of poems between 1972 and 1993. His language morphed from "Taglish," a mixture of Tagalog and English, to pure Filipino and back to English. His book Kristal na Uniberso won the National Book Award.
Among his many works for the theater are Larawan, the musical, Ang Mestisa, Ako, Ang Kiri, Ana Maria and the komedya Orosman at Zafira. He was known for translating Western classics, which includes the works of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Sophocles, Chekhov and Puccini into Filipino. He led theater groups Ateneo Experimental Theater and Teatro Pilipino to new heights with his artistic vision and intellectual approach. He also worked on the stage adaptation of National Artist Nick Joaquin's play Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. He was conferred National Artist status in 1997.