Muzones: Champion of Pre-Colonial Imagination

Posted on 17 August 2021
By NQC Secretariat

He taught the Filipino people that there is wealth in our history, especially the pre-colonial one, and wisdom in our vernaculars and indigenous genius. His works on historical fiction predated our present fascination with graphic novels, with the pre-colonial period and Philippine folklore as backdrops.

His works help us imagine how our ancestors understood the world full of supernatural and unexplained phenomena–and we, too, can enter such dimension if we only have an open mind and heart to our colorful culture and tradition. These enable us to discern that what is magical is actually wisdom, like this excerpt from his fantasy novel Margosatubig: The Story of Salagunting (serialized in Hiligaynon in 1946):

“My son, the powers on earth are nothing compared to those on water. I have already conferred on you the gems of the himag and the tagalyas. Your body is invested with the most potent talisman on air and on water. You are a peerless busalian, my son, possessed with extraordinary magical powers. Go to the cave of Sanggub, get the magical banawug. This is a potent weapon against earthly sorcery and protection against any talisman. The evil spirits will recognize your powers because you are invulnerable, fortified against all charms. Take with you the hamusog and hanugon algae and you will never feel the need for food or water.” (Translated from Hiligaynon to English by Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava.)

With these, the State, on behalf of the grateful Filipino people, conferred to him the Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining (Order of the National Artist) in 2018. He was Ramon Muzones (20 March 1913 – 17 August 1992), champion of Hiligaynon language and literature. Today, we commemorate his 29th death anniversary.

2021 is the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors by virtue of Proclamation No. 1128, s. 2021. Also in this year, we commemorate the Philippine part in the achievement of science and humankind in circumnavigating the planet for the first time. Central in this commemoration is the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan on 27 April 2021. These and more are collectively known as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines by virtue of Executive Order No. 103 (2020). Know more about the event here: ?

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